Thursday’s Game Report: Marlins 5, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains
Having had his first major-league start delayed twice because of rainouts, Jordan Hicks finally got the chance on Thursday night and showed the Cardinals almost exactly what they hoped to see.
Hicks pitched his prescribed three innings, allowing two hits and a run that was tainted because of an error but came away as the loser as the Marlins shut down the Cardinals offense in the final game of the series in Miami.
Hicks got through the three innings on 46 pitches. He pulled back on his velocity as planned, throwing only 14 pitches that surpassed 100 miles per hour on the radar gun.
He got out of the first two innings with double play ground outs and finished with three strikeouts.
Hicks will likely make his next start on Tuesday night at home against the Mets.
Here is how Thursday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals were shut out for the first time this season, recording just five hits, three of which came from Nolan Arenado. They had only one runner reach second base … They scored in only one of the final 22 innings of the series, the two-run homer by Arenado in the ninth inning on Wednesday night … Albert Pujols, starting against a righthander, struck out in all three of his at-bats and Tyler O’Neill also struck out three times. Collectively they struck out 13 times, their most in a game this season … Tommy Edman saw his season-opening hitting streak snapped at 10 games.
On the mound: The Cardinals used four pitchers in relief of Hicks, with Kodi Whitley the most effective, retiring the Marlins in order in the eighth … Drew VerHagen gave up two hits, a walk and an unearned run, on a passed ball, in his inning of work while Aaron Brooks allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings, two scoring on a home run by Jazz Chisholm.
Key stat: Despite striking out 13 times, the Cardinals still have the fewest strikeouts of any team in the NL with 81 after 11 games; no other team has less than 94. They have struck out in 22 percent of their at-bats so far this season after striking out in 25 percent of their at-bats last season.
Worth noting: VerHagen had been expected to pitch more than one inning, but came out of the game because of a sore hip. It’s possible he will be placed on the injured list … The loss snapped the Cardinals’ eight-game winning streak against the Marlins that dated back to last season … Yadier Molina caught all three games of the series and had two hits in 10 at-bats … Pujols now has one hit in 12 at-bats against righthanders this season.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals finish the road trip with three games this weekend in Cincinnati. Steven Matz gets the start on Friday night against rookie Hunter Greene. The game will be available only on Apple plus TV but also will be on KMOX Radio.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains