Friday’s Game Report: Indians 14, Cardinals 2

Friday’s Game Report: Indians 14, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains

Five batters into Friday night’s game, the Cardinals trailed the Indians 4-0 at Busch Stadium. It did not get any better from there.

The Indians pounded out 20 hits and had 28 runners reach base in routing the Cardinals.

Starter Daniel Ponce de Leon could not get out of the first inning, retiring only two of the eight hitters he faced. He walked four and gave up a three-run homer, one of three homers hit by the Indians in the game.

“It just wasn’t our night,” said manager Mike Shildt.

Twice the Indians sent nine hitters to the plate, in the first and sixth innings, and went down in order only twice in the game. One of those innings was in the ninth, when infielder Max Schrock made his major-league pitching debut.

Schrock retired the three hits on a fly to center, a foul popup to the catcher and a groundball to the shortstop.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals’ only runs came on a home run by Dexter Fowler in the second inning. That was one of only six hits for the Cardinals, who had only two at-bats with a runner in scoring position.

On the mound: Ponce de Leon threw only 17 of his 41 pitches for strikes as his streak reached 16 consecutive starts without a win, tying the franchise record set by Anthony Reyes to start a career … Most of the Indians damage after the first inning came against Junior Fernandez, in his first appearance since being activated on Thursday. He allowed six hits and six runs in one inning, failing to retire any of the four batters he faced in the sixth … Jake Woodford and Ricardo Sanchez each allowed two runs.

Key stat: The 20 hits were the most allowed by the Cardinals in a game since Sept. 26, 2016, when the Reds had 22 hits in a 15-2 win at Busch Stadium.

Worth noting: With Pop Warner back to coach third base, Jose Oquendo has returned to Springfield to run the team’s satellite camp … Seth Elledge, called up as the 29th man for Thursday’s doubleheader but who did not pitch, also returned to Springfield on Friday … Ryan Helsley is scheduled to throw a live batting practice session in the next few days, according to Shildt, as he prepares to rejoin the bullpen, perhaps at some point when they are on the road next week.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals and Indians will play at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday, with Jack Flaherty getting the start. He should be cleared to throw about 85 pitches in his third start since the Cardinals resumed play.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.