Friday Game Report: Guardians 4, Cardinals 3

Friday Game Report: Guardians 4, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

Because of his success in late innings already this season, Nolan Gorman has earned the nickname of “go-ahead Gorman” because of the number of his hits that have given the Cardinals the lead.

Sure enough he had two chances to do it again on Friday night against the Indians but this time could not deliver the key hit.

With the Cardinals trailing 4-2 in the seventh inning, Gorman came to bat with the bases loaded but fouled out to third to end the inning.

He got another chance, this time in the ninth inning. Doubles by Tommy Edman and Lars Nootbaar had cut the lead to 4-3 but Gorman was called out on strikes on a 3-2 pitch that appeared to be above the strike zone, giving the Indians the win in the opener of the weekend series in Cleveland.

Gorman’s 0-of-4 night snapped his 15-game hitting streak.

Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals had just two hits through the first five innings against Shane Bieber before scratching out a run in the sixth on singles by Nootbaar and Paul Goldschmidt and a sacrifice fly from Nolan Arenado … They added another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Alec Burleson before three consecutive walks loaded the bases for Gorman, who is now 2-of-7 with the bases loaded this season … In the ninth, Goldschmidt also struck out in front of Gorman, leaving the would-be tying run on second base … Nootbaar had three of the Cardinals’ eight hits … The Cardinals drew six walks in the game but could not bring any of them around to score.

On the mound: The biggest at-bat for the Guardians also came with the bases loaded. Matthew Liberatore, making his second start, shut out the Guardians through the first four innings, allowing only an infield single, before he hit the first batter in the fifth and then allowed three consecutive singles. With the bases loaded, Amed Rosario doubled into the left field corner to clear the bases and give the Indians a 4-0 lead … Liberatore finished the fifth inning before he was relieved by Chris Stratton in the sixth. Stratton worked two perfect innings, including striking out the side in the seventh … Andre Pallante allowed two hits in the eighth but had one runner caught stealing and another thrown out at second by Burleson trying to stretch a single into a double.

Key stat: The Cardinals have not had much success with the bases loaded this season. They are a combined 10-of-46, a .217 average, which ranks 11th in the National League.

Worth noting: This is the first time the Cardinals have played two consecutive games without hitting a home run since they failed to homer in four consecutive games between April 28 and May 2 … The Cardinals will reach the one-third mark of the season on Saturday with their 54th game.  The team is 23-30 and not since 1995 have the Cardinals had less than 24 wins after 54 games. They were 24-30 at that point in the 2007 season. They had a record of 23-31 at the one-third mark in 1995.

Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series. The game will be televised on the Fox network.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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