Tuesday’s Game Report: Rays 4, Cardinals 2 (10 innings)

Tuesday’s Game Report: Rays 4, Cardinals 2 (10 innings)

By Rob Rains

One strike away from winning their third consecutive extra-inning game on Tuesday night, the Cardinals instead suffered the opposite outcome and emotion that comes from a walkoff loss.

Taylor Walls hit a 2-2 pitch from Drew VerHagen off the right field foul pole for a three-run homer that gave the Rays the win in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It appeared that VerHagen was going to earn the first save of his career two batters earlier, when Nolan Arenado made a terrific defensive play on a bunt, making a jump throw to third to get the lead runner. The second out came on a popup, but Walls then spoiled the Cardinals’ victory party.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals trailed 1-0 before tying the game in the eighth. Lars Nootbaar, batting for Albert Pujols, drew a two-out walk before Tyler O’Neill singled and Harrison Bader drove in the run with another single … In the 10th, Paul Goldschmidt reached on an infield single and Arenado was hit by a pitch to load the bases before Nootbaar drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly … Earlier in the game Goldschmidt had reached on a walk and doubled, extending his on-base streak to 43 consecutive games … In his first game back after being reinstated from the injured list, O’Neill had two singles and struck out three times.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson turned in his second consecutive outstanding start, allowing just two hits and one run over seven innings. It was a scoreless game until the seventh when a leadoff double, a groundout and a sacrifice fly produced the first Tampa Bay run … Between a one-out double in the first and the leadoff double in the seventh, only two runners reached base, on a walk and an error by Edmundo Sosa … The Cardinals used Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley for only one inning each, even though they only threw 12 and 11 pitches respectfully, before giving the ball to VerHagen to pitch the 10th.

Key stat: After allowing 11 or more hits in all five games in Chicago, the Cardinals stopped that streak by limiting the Rays to three hits. All three hits, however, were extra-base hits. The last time they lost a game when giving up no singles and three extra-base hits was in 2004.

Worth noting: The last time the Cardinals played three consecutive extra-inning games was May 1-3, 2015, all against the Pirates at Busch Stadium … To make room for O’Neill on the roster, Jake Walsh was optioned to Memphis … Dylan Carlson was 3-of-3, including a home run and double, as he moved his rehab assignment to Memphis on Tuesday night. He also walked and finished with four RBIs … Jack Flaherty will also make his next rehab start at Memphis, on Friday night, with the Cardinals hoping he can throw about 60 pitches.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals have yet to name a starting pitcher for Wednesday night’s game, wanting to move Miles Mikolas to Thursday to give him an extra day of rest after exceeding 100 pitches in his last two starts.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.