Friday’s Game Report: Tigers 5, Cardinals 4

Friday’s Game Report: Tigers 5, Cardinals 4

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals have suggested numerous times during their poor start to the season that they simply can’t catch a break.

On Friday night, that might have been true.

A double by Lars Nootbaar in the eighth inning drove in one run and likely would have brought the tying run across the plate as well – except for the ball taking an untimely bounce into the bleachers in right field.

That forced the second runner to go back to third and he was still there when the inning ended. The tying run never scored and the Cardinals lost again.

It was their seventh loss in a row, their 14th in their last 17 games and dropped them 13 games under .500 for the first time since 1997 with an NL-worst record of 10-23.

The Cardinals are now 0-11 in the first game of a series this season, the first team in the majors to start a season with that long of a losing streak since the 1981 Royals lost the first game of the first 13 series of the year.

The Cardinals failed to hold a 3-2 lead going to the seventh, when the Tigers scored three runs off Jordan Hicks and Giovanny Gallegos to take a 5-3 lead.

Manager Oli Marmol and bench coach Joe McEwing were both ejected by home plate umpire Junior Valentine in the ninth for arguing ball and strike calls.

Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals built their 3-2 lead on Andrew Knizner’s first home of the year in the third and RBIs, on ground balls, from Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson in the fourth following a double by Paul Goldschmidt and a single by WIllson Contreras … Three singles loaded the bases for the Cardinals with two outs in the seventh but Contreras then grounded out … In the eighth, Juan Yepez, recalled from Memphis before the game, singled with two outs and Paul DeJong then singled in front of the double by Nootbaar. Pinch-hitter Brendan Donovan drew a walk to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Nolan Gorman struck out for the third out … Goldschmidt led off the ninth with his second double of the game but was stranded there as Contreras, Arenado and Carlson struck out, leaving the Cardinals 3-of-13 with runners in scoring position.

On the mound: Jordan Montgomery allowed a two-run homer to Javier Baez in the first but then shut out the Tigers through the sixth. Even though he was only at 89 pitches, he was pulled from the game and replaced by Hicks, who issued a walk and hit a batter before a two-run double by Riley Greene gave the Tigers the lead. After another walk, Gallegos relieved and was greeted by a double that brought home what proved to be the winning run.

Key stat: Despite the fact that Jordan Walker’s last game was on April 23, he still leads Cardinals’ outfielders with 11 RBIs. The RBI from Carlson Friday night was his eighth of the season while Nootbaar drove in his seventh run. Alec Burleson has eight RBIs for the year and Tyler O’Neill six.

Worth noting: Yepez replaced O’Neill on the roster after O’Neill was placed on the injured list because of back tightness … Jake Woodford (shoulder inflammation) also was placed on the injured list and was replaced by James Naile, called up from Memphis. Wilking Rodriguez was moved to the 60-day injured list to open a spot for Naile on the 40-man roster … The Cardinals will have to make another roster move before Saturday’s game to open a spot for Adam Wainwright.

Looking ahead: Wainwright will be making his season debut after three rehab appearances in the minor leagues. He suffered a groin injury while he was with the U.S. team playing in the World Baseball Classic in March.

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.