Thursday’s Game Report: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 0

Thursday’s Game Report: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 0

By Rob Rains

There has been something about playing the final game of a series which has proven to be a difficult challenge for the Cardinals over the last month.

The shutout loss to the Dodgers on Thursday night at Busch Stadium was the latest example.

Since June 9, the Cardinals have gone just 2-9 in the final game of a series. That’s the biggest reason that over that 35-game stretch the team has an overall record of 16-19, three games under .500.

This was the fifth time they have been shut out in their last 12 games.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals only had five hits in the game, two each by Dylan Carlson and Nolan Arenado and a single by Paul Goldschmidt. They never advanced a runner past second base and only had two runners on base at the same time twice, in the fourth inning before Albert Pujols grounded into an inning-ending double play, and in the seventh, when Juan Yepez walked with two outs before Brendan Donovan flew out … The Cardinals put their leadoff hitter on base in two of the nine innings, when Carlson walked in the fourth and when Arenado singled in the seventh … They were hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

On the mound: Dakota Hudson gave up a run in the fourth and one in the sixth before allowing a two-run homer to the final batter he faced, ninth-place hitter Gavin Lux, in the seventh … Hudson only walked one but hit three batters … Drew VerHagen allowed two hits and a walk in one inning of relief but did not give up a run thanks to Yepez throwing out Freddie Freeman at the plate … Freeman was 9-of-11 in the three games and reached base in 12-of-14 plate appearances.

Key stat: This was the 11th time the Cardinals have been shut out in 92 games this season. Last year they were shut out 10 times all season, and they have not been shut out more than 11 times in a complete season since 2015, when they were shut out 15 times.

Worth noting: Arenado’s double in the ninth inning was only the second hit by a Cardinal in 10 games against Craig Kimbrel since 2020. Yadier Molina had a single in a game last July … To make room for O’Neill, Lars Nootbaar was optioned to Memphis despite going 6-of-12 with two doubles and a home run in his last five games … Jake Woodford pitched five shutout innings for Memphis on Thursday night, allowing three hits, no walks and striking out five.

Looking ahead: The final series before the All-Star break begins on Friday night with the first of three games against the Reds. Andre Pallante is the scheduled starter.

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.