Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Reds 1
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
Jon Lester had his best start since joining the Cardinals on Monday night, and it could not have come at a better time.
One day after the Cardinals’ walkoff loss to the Pirates, Lester allowed just one hit as he pitched into the seventh inning, making a two-run, first-inning home run from Paul Goldschmidt stand up in winning the first game of the series in Cincinnati.
The win left the Cardinals just 2 ½ games behind the Reds in the race for the second wildcard spot in the playoffs.
The only hit off Lester was a home run by Kyle Farmer leading off the second inning. Lester retired the next 16 hitters he faced before ending his night with a one-out walk to Joey Votto in the seventh.
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Tommy Edman led off the game by drawing a walk, then scored on Goldschmidt’s homer, his 22nd of the season … After leaving a runner on third in the fifth, the Cardinals added a run in the sixth. Dylan Carlson, moved into the third spot in the batting order, doubled, went to third on a ground out and scored on an infield single by Tyler O’Neill … They left two runners on base in the eighth and finished the night 1-of-5 with runners in scoring position.
On the mound: The only other baserunner to reach against Lester was Nick Castellanos, who walked with two outs in the first. Lester struck out four in his 6 1/3 innings, earning his second win. The Cardinals have won each of his last four starts … T.J. McFarland relieved Lester and was greeted by a ground-rule double by Farmer, but he got out of the jam with a ground ball that was turned into an out at the plate by Nolan Arenado and a strikeout … Luis Garcia pitched around an Arenado error in the eighth and Giovanny Gallegos was given the save opportunity and retired the Reds in order in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
Key stat: With one game to go in August, Goldschmidt has driven in 24 runs in 26 games, the second highest total in the month in his career. He drove in 31 runs while with the Diamondbacks in August 2017, when he hit a career-high 11 homers in the month. Goldschmidt has five homers and a .349 average this month.
Worth noting: Edman was named the NL Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .462 last week. He scored a run for the fifth consecutive game on Monday night but saw his streak with at least two RBIs snapped at four … Arenado’s error was his ninth of the season but his first since July 31 and only his second since May 27, a span of 74 games … Adam Wainwright celebrated his 40th birthday on Monday, becoming the first active Cardinal 40 or older since Randy Choate pitched in seven games after his 40th birthday in 2015.
Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start on Tuesday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains