Thursday Game Report: Cardinals 2, Reds 1

Thursday Game Report: Cardinals 2, Reds 1

By Rob Rains

In the middle of a stretch of 19 games in 19 days, the Cardinals elected to give three of their top hitters the same day off on Thursday – and still were able to pick up a victory.

Nolan Gorman doubled in the first run of the game in the eighth inning and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Cardinals a split of their four-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati.

The Cardinals played without Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Willson Contreras and collected just three hits off ex-Cardinal Luke Weaver through the first 6 2/3 innings.

Miles Mikolas was able to match Weaver’s performance, allowing just five hits through his seven shutout innings.

Here is how Thursday’s game broke down:

At the plate: With two outs in the eighth, Lars Nootbaar singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Gorman’s double into the right field corner. That hit extended Gorman’s current streak to 15 games … After Brendan Donovan was intentionally walked, Gorman stole third and then scored on the second wild pitch of the inning … Prior to the eighth inning the only hits for the Cardinals were a double by Juan Yepez in the second, a double by Andrew Knizner in the fifth and a single by Alec Burleson in the seventh.

On the mound: Mikolas turned in his best start of the season as he struck out five and did not walk a batter. He allowed only one runner past first base until he had to pitch out of a jam in the sixth, when back-to-back singles put runners on first and second with no outs. He was able to get out of the inning with two groundouts and a fly out … Consecutive walks by Drew VerHagen with one out in the eighth gave the Reds another scoring chance but he got a pop out before Giovanny Gallegos recorded the final out.  Gallegos gave up a run to the Reds in the ninth before stranding the would-be tying run at first.

Key stats: The win was only the fourth in 18 games this season for the Cardinals when they did not hit at least one home run … They had been 0-11 in games in which they scored two or fewer runs.

Worth noting: Goldschmidt had only one previous day off this season, on April 17, while Arenado’s last day off was on May 8, his first since April 24. Contreras last had a day off on April 27 and also had been limited to just one hit over his last six games … The Cardinals are 10-4 so far during this 19-game stretch with five games remaining before they will get a rare two consecutive days off on May 31 and June 1.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals stay in Ohio for this weekend’s three-game series against the Guardians in Cleveland. Matthew Liberatore will start Friday night in the opener, his second start for the Cardinals this season.

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.