Tuesday’s Game Report: Brewers 2, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains
Riding a six-game winning streak, and with 2011 World Series hero David Freese in the house, the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium on Tuesday night primed to show the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers that the NL Central race was not over.
They just didn’t count on Corbin Burnes crashing their party.
“We played six good games in a row and I wouldn’t say we played a bad game today,” said starter Adam Wainwright.
“We just faced a very tough pitcher who had his A stuff going. He’s got a 2.2 (ERA) for a reason. He’s in Cy Young talks for a reason. He’s very tough.”
In the first of 13 games between the rivals in the final 48 days of the season, the Cardinals got just two hits off Burnes over six innings in getting shut out in the first game of the three-game series.
Burnes did not allow a hit through the first five innings, with the Cardinals only two baserunners coming on walks. Tommy Edman got their first hit, a one-out single in the sixth, following 2 pitches later by the second hit, a single by Paul Goldschmidt, that brought Nolan Arenado the plate representing the go-ahead run.
As quick as the would-be rally had developed, however, it was over. Both Arenado and Tyler O’Neill fouled out on the first pitch, ending the inning.
“We did a lot of things well, just not enough to scratch across a couple of runs,” said manager Mike Shildt.
The loss left the Cardinals 11 games behind the Brewers and also kept them from gaining ground in the wildcard race.
On Aug. 17, 2011 the Cardinals were seven games behind the Brewers, a deficit that would grow to 10 ½ games in early September. They never did catch the Brewers – until October, when after getting into the playoffs as a wildcard team, they beat the Brewers in the NL Championship Series to advance to the World Series.
Here is how Tuesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals saw their streak of scoring four or more runs snapped at 11 consecutive games. It was only the second time this season they were shut out at home, the other coming on April 14 against Washington … The only hitters to reach base through the first five innings were Arenado with a two-out walk in the first and Goldschmidt with a leadoff walk in the fourth. Each was stranded at second base … Yadier Molina got their third hit, a leadoff single in the seventh, after Burnes left the game, before Goldschmidt singled with two outs in the eighth.
On the mound: Wainwright gave up eight hits, five of them doubles, walked two and hit a batter among the first 20 hitters he faced but somehow allowed only two runs. Tyler O’Neill threw out Kolten Wong at the plate as he tried to score from second in the first and Wainwright was able to strand the bases loaded in the first and fourth innings. The runs scored on a bloop double by Wong in the second, landing just inches away from Arenado’s glove and inches fair, and a double by Omar Narvaez in the third. After throwing just 88 pitches in a shutout of the Pirates in his last start, Wainwright passed that total in the fifth inning as his personal four-game winning streak came to an end … T.J. McFarland, Luis Garcia and Andrew Miller each worked a scoreless inning in relief.
Key stat: Wong was 0-of-3 in his first game as a visitor at Busch Stadium on April 8 before an injury kept him out of the lineup the next two games. On Tuesday night he had two doubles and single, becoming the second former Cardinal with a three-hit game at Busch this season. Patrick Wisdom, now with the Cubs, also had three hits on July 19.
Worth noting: The Cardinals had hoped that Dylan Carlson would be back in the lineup Tuesday night after he was able to swing a bat on Monday but when his right wrist was still sore on Tuesday he was placed on the 10-day injured list. Because the move is retroactive, Carlson will have to be out at least through Sunday. Austin Dean was recalled from Memphis … Paul DeJong, who missed the last two games in Kansas City with lower back tightness, likely will be able to play on Wednesday night … Freese had between “50 to 60” family and friends at Busch Stadium as he was honored by the Cardinals and threw a ceremonial first pitch to Ozzie Smith. “I’ve definitely had this day circled for a long time,” said Freese, who now lives in Austin, Texas … Shildt said Jon Lester will get the start on Thursday night against the Brewers, with the return of Miles Mikolas to the rotation coming on Friday night.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will make his second start since returning from a torn oblique on Wednesday night in the second game of the series Flaherty threw six shutout innings, allowing just two hits, in his first start last Friday night in Kansas City.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains