Tuesday’s Game Report: Angels 5, Cardinals 1

Tuesday’s Game Report: Angels 5, Cardinals 1

By Rob Rains

The pre-game mantra around the Cardinals’ clubhouse was now that the bad month of April was over, it was time for a fresh start.

So much for that idea. The Cardinals found themselves in a 4-0 hole before their first at-bats in May and fell 10 games below .500 at 10-20 with the loss to the Angels Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Their fourth loss in a row also left them 0-10 in the first game of a series this season.

Steven Matz gave up the runs in the first, including a three-run homer, as the Cardinals lost for the sixth time in his six starts this season. The four runs were the most scored in the first against the Cardinals this season.

Here is how Tuesday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals did not have a hit until Tyler O’Neill singled with one out in the fifth, leading to their only run. Paul DeJong moved O’Neill to third with a single, and he was able to score on a groundout by Andrew Knizner … The Cardinals had only three other hits, including a leadoff double by Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth. After Willson Contreras walked, Nolan Arenado grounded into a double play and Dylan Carlson flew out to end that threat and strand Goldschmidt on third … Goldschmidt’s streak without a strikeout was snapped at 31 at-bats in the eighth inning … The Cardinals have not homered in their last 132 at-bats.

On the mound: After the bad first inning, Matz kept the Angels scoreless over the next four innings … A two-out walk by Drew VerHagen, followed by back-to-back hits, gave the Angels their fifth run in the sixth … Chris Stratton retired all six hitters he faced in the seventh and eighth before Guillermo Zuniga made his major-league debut with a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two, including Mike Trout.

Key stat: The Cardinals’ starters have allowed a combined 41 runs in the first two innings in their 30 games. They have retired the side in order in the first two innings only once so far this season, when Jordan Montgomery retired the first six batters in order on April 8.

Worth noting: The Cardinals observed a moment of silence for Mike Shannon before the game. He died Sunday at the age of 83. Funeral arrangements are still pending … This was the first of 19 all-time games between the Cardinals and Angels when Albert Pujols was not active on either roster … Left-hander Zack Thompson was optioned to Memphis before the game, with the intention of putting him in the Triple A rotation to stretch him out as a starter, making him a candidate for the 2024 rotation. Part of the rational for the decision was that with Genesis Cabrera pitching well he was getting more of the late-inning high-leverage situations than Thompson, reducing opportunities to use Thompson. Lefthanded batters also were 7-of-20 against Thompson this year … Zuniga was promoted from Memphis to take his place on the roster … Adam Wainwright will rejoin the rotation on Saturday after three minor-league rehab starts … The Cardinals announced a seven-year contract with Stifel to be their first jersey patch sponsor.

Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start on Wednesday night in the second game of the series against the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani also is normally the Angels DH but he did not play Tuesday night. It will be Ohtani’s first career start on  the mound against the Cardinals.

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.