Friday’s Game Report: Reds 6, Cardinals 5
By Rob Rains
Trying to navigate the late innings of a game they were leading has been difficult for the Cardinals this week, and that turned out to be the case again on Friday night.
After blowing consecutive leads in the ninth inning earlier this week, the Cardinals failed to protect a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning and lost the opener of the weekend series against the Reds in Cincinnati.
Ryan Helsley allowed three hits and a wild pitch brought in a run as the Reds rallied to tie the game. Then in the eighth, a throwing error by Giovanny Gallegos on a potential double play ball set up the Reds to score what turned out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly.
“Had them where we wanted them late in the game,” said manager Mike Shildt. “They put together some at-bats. We didn’t turn a double play and it proved to be pretty costly.”
The loss dropped the Cardinals back to the .500 mark for the season at 49-49.
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: After homers from Paul Goldschmidt in the first inning and Harrison Bader in the second, the Cardinals took the 5-3 lead with a three-run sixth, the big blow a ground rule double by Andrew Knizner, getting the start behind the plate, that drove in two runs … Dylan Carlson’s sacrifice fly later scored Knizner, extending his streak to five consecutive games with at least one RBI … Three consecutive walks had allowed the Cardinals to load the bases with one out in the fifth, but the runners stayed put when Tyler O’Neill and Paul DeJong both struck out … Tommy Edman batted right-handed against right-hander Tyler Mahle in his first two at-bats, grounding out each time, before going back to batting left-handed against righthanded pitchers later in the game, hitting a single in front of Knizner’s double in the sixth.
On the mound: Wade LeBlanc allowed three hits to the Reds first four batters to open the game, including a two-run double by Joey Votto. He also gave up a homer to Kyle Farmer in the fourth before coming out of the game for a pinch-hitter … In the seventh, Helsley gave up hits to the first three hitters he faced, then threw the critical wild pitch that allowed the tying run to score. Carlson threw out Eugenio Suarez at the plate on a fly to right to keep the game tied … In the eighth, Farmer led off with a single and was safe on Gallegos’ throwing error to second. After a walk loaded the bases, Tyler Stephenson’s sacrifice fly brought in the go-ahead run.
Key stat: In three games in Cincinnati this season, Helsley has allowed eight hits and six runs in a combined 2 1/3 innings.
Worth noting: Yadier Molina got only his third day off since June 23 and first since July 7. In the seven games on the just completed homestand, he was 5-of-27, a .187 average, with just one RBI, the game-winning single in the 10th inning on Wednesday night … Knizner started for the seventh time since June 4 and in the Cardinals’ 41 games since then, he has gotten only 21 at-bats in those games prior to Friday night, going 1-of-21 … Molina tried to get loose for a potential at-bat as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning but Shildt said Molina’s neck stiffened up, forcing Adam Wainwright to bat as a pinch-hitter with two outs in the ninth, striking out to end the game … Miles Mikolas is scheduled to make the first of three rehab starts on Saturday for Memphis at Louisville … A win on Friday night extended Memphis’ winning streak to 13 consecutive games.
Looking ahead: Jake Woodford will get his second start of the season on Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains