Thursday’s Game Report: Reds 3, Cardinals 2

Thursday’s Game Report: Reds 3, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals hoped to use the five-game series against the Reds this weekend to build a little momentum in their drive toward a division title.

It didn’t start out that way.

The Cardinals were limited to just one hit through the first eight innings and their ninth-inning rally came up short in their loss to the Reds on Thursday night at Busch Stadium.

The second-place Brewers had the day off on Thursday and gained a half-game on the Cardinals, who also fell another game behind the Mets in their quest to finish with the second-best record in the NL, which would give them a first-round bye in the playoffs.

They trail the Mets by 5 1/2 games in that race with 18 games to play.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The only hit for the Cardinals through the first eight innings was a double by Paul Goldschmidt in the third which drove in Lars Nootbaar, who reached on a walk. Brendan Donovan, who also walked, was thrown at the plate on the play trying to score from first … The next 15 Cardinals were retired in order before Donovan led off the ninth with a single. Tommy  Edman walked before Nolan Arenado’s bloop single loaded the bases for Albert Pujols. Pujols hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 3-2 but pinch-hitter Corey Dickerson grounded out to end the game.

On the mound: Miles Mikolas allowed two home runs as the Reds built their 3-1 lead during his six innings of work. Both of the homers, by Nick Senzel in the second and Aristides Aquino in the sixth, came with two outs in the inning … With Jake Woodford on the mount, the Reds lost a chance to add an insurance run when Nootbaar threw out a runner at the plate to end the top of the ninth.

Key stat: The Cardinals saw their streak of hitting at least one home run against the Reds end at 10 games. Since the start of July, they are 4-12 in games that they did not hit a home run

Worth noting: The Cardinals had four extra players wearing No, 21 in the game on Roberto Clemente Day. Past Clemente award winners Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright all wore it, as did Goldschmidt, this year’s team nominee. Nootbaar wore 21 as well, his regular number … Steven Matz needed just nine pitches to complete a scoreless inning for Memphis on Thursday night. He is expected to be activated by the Cardinals next week …Dylan Carlson will begin what is expected to be a short rehab assignment on Friday night.

Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Friday night in the second game of the series.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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