Friday’s Game Report: Pirates 5, Cardinals 4
By Rob Rains
There were some signs of life from the Cardinals’ offense on Friday night but it wasn’t enough to prevent a second consecutive loss to the Pirates at Busch Stadium.
Home runs from Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson helped the Cardinals rally from a 4-1 deficit to tie the game before the Pirates scoring what turned out to be the winning run off Jake Woodford in the fifth.
It was another game when the Cardinals’ starter, Kwang Hyun Kim, could not get through the fifth, pitching only 4 1/3 innings.
“There was a lot of good at-bats tonight, a lot of positive signs from the offense,” said manager Mike Shildt. “Six walks, a lot of traffic out there, guys going the other way. It comes down to little things and we weren’t able to get that proverbial big hit.”
Arenado also saw reasons to be positive, even if the Cardinals didn’t win the game.
“We put some pressure on them, we just couldn’t come through today,” Arenado said. “We’re battling, we’re working. It’s frustrating. We’re all so frustrated right now about this. But we’re working our butts off and we believe it’s going to turn. .., We’re competing but right now we’re just falling short.”
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Arenado reached base in all four of his plate appearances, hitting a double to go along with his 15th home run and also drawing two walks … Carlson had an RBI groundout in addition to his home run, which tied the game 4-4 in the fourth. It was his first homer at Busch in 121 at-bats this season … Lars Nootbaar drove in the other run with the second of his two singles, and he also drew a walk to get on base three times. He has driven in a run in three of his first four games … Yadier Molina’s double in the third snapped a string of 66 at-bats since his last extra-base hit, a double on May 28. He had gone 9-of-66 over that stretch … The Cardinals were just 1-of-9 with a runner in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
On the mound: The four runs off Kim all came in the third. He almost got out of the inning with just two runs scoring, but Nootbaar was unable to hold on to the ball after he made a sliding catch on a liner hit by Jacob Stallings … Kim’s only strikeout came against the first batter of the game. He allowed seven hits and walked one … Woodford failed to retire any of the three batters he faced in the fifth before Ryan Helsley was able to get out of the inning … Helsley Genesis Cabrera, Andrew Miller and Giovanny Gallegos kept it a one-run game the rest of the game but the Cardinals could not produce the tying run.
Key stat: The loss was the fifth in a row for the Cardinals, and left them with a 4-7 record so far in a stretch of 20 consecutive games against teams with a sub-.500 record.
Worth noting: Shildt said after the game that John Gant will be moving to the bullpen but made no other announcement about pending changes to the rotation. Before Friday night’s game he acknowledged that he is aware that fans are calling for other changes. “That’s part of our society and I understand that change is necessary sometimes,” he said. “I’m not at this moment going to sit here and make a coach a scapegoat for our inability to A, be healthy and B, not to be able to perform as well as we would like to on the field. I will ultimately take responsibility for that.” … Paul DeJong, replaced by Edmundo Sosa at shortstop in the starting lineup, had been just 4-of-42 in 13 games since coming off the injured list on June 11. He entered the game as part of a double switch in the fifth and had one hit in two at-bats … Harrison Bader began a rehab assignment Friday night with Class A Palm Beach. He was 1-of-3 with a single, playing five innings in center field. Bader is expected to remain in Palm Beach through the weekend and then be re-evaluated as he works to come back from a broken rib.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright, the only Cardinals starter with a win (three) since May 27, will get the start in the 1:15 p.m. game on Saturday.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains