Tuesday’s Game Report: Braves 4, Cardinals 1
By Rob Rains
Steven Matz became the first Cardinals pitcher this season to throw a pitch in the sixth inning on Tuesday night, but unfortunately it was what happened on his pitches in the first two innings that determined the outcome of the game.
Like the Cardinals’ other starters, Matz struggled early against the Braves, allowing three runs in the first two innings, and that was all the offense they needed to win for the second night in a row at Busch Stadium.
Matz and the Cardinals found themselves in a 2-0 hole just three batters into the game on a home run by Austin Riley.
In the first two innings of their first five games, the Cardinals’ starters allowed a combined 16 runs on 23 hits, including five home runs, all of those coming in the two games against the Braves.
Here is how Tuesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals started an all righthanded lineup against the Braves’ lefthanded Dylan Dodd, a product of Southeast Missouri, who was making his major-league debut. Dodd held the Cardinals to just the one run on six hits over five innings, the run scoring on an RBI single by Willson Contreras in the fourth, but he was thrown out by Ronald Acuna Jr. trying to stretch the hit into a double … The Cardinals did get the potential tying run to the plate in both the seventh and eighth innings, but Acuna easily threw out Tyler O’Neill at the plate as he tried to score from second on a single by pinch-hitter Brendan Donovan to end the seventh, and Contreras grounded out with two runners on to end the eighth … Each player in the lineup had a hit.
On the mound: Matz allowed six hits to the first nine hitters he faced, and after giving up another run in the third, was able to retire six of the last eight hitters he faced before leaving with one out in the sixth. He did record seven strikeouts … Drew VerHagen, Andre Pallante and Giovanny Gallegos allowed just two hits over the final 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
Key stat: For the first time through the rotation, the Cardinals’ starters combined worked 23 innings, allowing 18 runs on 33 hits with 12 walks, an ERA of 7.04.
Worth noting: The Cardinals reached double-digit hits for the fifth time in his many games, finishing with 10, but the only extra-base hit was a double by Taylor Motter … Since the start of the 2018 season, the Braves have gone 11-3 in games against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will start Miles Mikolas in the 12:15 p.m. game on Wednesday as they try to avoid a sweep of the three-game series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains