Thursday’s Game Report: Rays 2, Cardinals 1

Thursday’s Game Report: Rays 2, Cardinals 1

By Rob Rains

Miles Mikolas made only one mistake on Thursday, but it was one too many.

Mikolas allowed just three hits over eight innings, but one of them was a two-run homer by Ji-Man Choi in the fourth inning that allowed the Rays to beat the Cardinals and sweep their three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Cardinals were held to just two hits and their only run scored because of a throwing error.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The only hits for the Cardinals against Shane McClanahan were a bloop double to short right field by Albert Pujols in the second and a single by Nolan Arenado in the sixth. That followed a walk to Paul Goldschmidt, allowing him to reach base safely for the 45th  consecutive game … Goldschmidt scored the only run when McClanahan made a throwing error to first base on a ball hit back to the mound by Pujols … Arenado walked leading off the ninth to put the tying run on base, but pinch-hitter Nolan Gorman struck out and Tyler O’Neill grounded into a game-ending double play.

On the mound: Mikolas retired the Rays in order in six of the eight innings that they batted. Kevin Kiermaier led off the fourth with a single and scored on Choi’s one-out homer. The only other hit allowed by Mikolas was an infield single by Kiermaier in the sixth. He struck out nine, just one shy of his career high, and the three hits were the fewest he has ever allowed in a complete game. Mikolas threw only 85 pitches, 61 for strikes.

Key stat: Coming into this series, the Cardinals had been 22-2 in their last 24 full-length games that the pitching staff allowed three hits or less. They lost two games doing that in this series.

Worth noting: The game was played in 1 hour, 54 minutes, the fastest game for the Cardinals since a 1:52 game on Sept. 20, 2010 at Miami … Dylan Carlson is expected to rejoin the Cardinals on Friday from his rehab assignment and should be activated before the game against the Reds … Jack Flaherty is scheduled to start Friday night at Memphis in his second rehab start, with the Cardinals hoping he can throw about 60 pitches.

Looking ahead: Andre Pallante will make his second start on Friday night as the Cardinals return home for the opener of a seven-game homestand; three games against the Reds and four against the Pirates.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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