Sunday’s Game Report: Reds 4, Cardinals 3

Sunday’s Game Report: Reds 4, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

There are a lot of reasons why the Cardinals are 12 games under .500 this season, but a one-inning microcosm on Sunday revealed part of what has gone wrong.

A leadoff walk in a tie game. A passed ball. A throw to the wrong side of home which still might have been good enough to get an out, except it was dropped by the catcher. All little things maybe, but all of which added up to the go-ahead eighth-inning run that gave the Reds the win over the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

“We have to be perfect to win right now,” said manager Oli Marmol. “At the moment it feels like we can’t make a mistake because the other team has found a way to capitalize on it every time.”

That’s what happened in this game. Jordan Hicks issued the leadoff walk to Elly De La Cruz, who used his speed to advance to second on a groundout, went to third on the passed ball by Willson Contreras and then scored when Contreras failed to catch Paul DeJong’s throw, which was on the first base side of the plate.

It didn’t help that the Cardinals failed to score after the third inning, getting just two hits, both singles, over the final six innings.

After going 15-13 in May the Cardinals are now 2-7 in June, 13-18 at home and 7-15 in one-run games this year with an overall record of 27-39.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals took a 2-1 lead in the second on an RBI double by Dylan Carlson and a run-scoring groundout from Tommy Edman. In the third, Paul Goldschmidt led off with a single and scored on a triple by Nolan Arenado … Their only hits the rest of the game were a leadoff single by Brendan Donovan in the fifth and a single by Goldschmidt in the seventh, who was then thrown out trying to steal. That ended his streak of 30 consecutive stolen bases dating back to 2019 … They were just 1-of-11 with runners in scoring position and 2-of-22 in the three-game series, losing two of the three. “If we’re going to get out of this and actually start playing good baseball we’re going to have to start driving in some runs in those situations,” Marmol said.

On the mound: Adam Wainwright remained stuck on 197 career wins after giving up the tying run on a single with two outs in the sixth that landed a foot in front of Carlson. Wainwright also allowed a home run to Jonathan India with two outs in the first and a run on three singles in the third. Of his 17 outs, 10 came on fly balls … Chris Stratton relieved with runners on first and second and got a fly ball to get out of the inning before stranding a runner at third in the seventh … Hicks has retired only half of the first batters he has faced this season, 13 of 26. Seven of the 13 have reached on walks.

Key stat: Paul DeJong was 0-of-3, striking out twice, and has just six hits in 15 games since May 25, going a combined 6-of-53, a .113 average. He has one double and one RBI over that stretch with 17 strikeouts.

Worth noting: The home run by India was the 28th allowed by the Cardinals with two strikes out of their team total of 64. The only team in the NL which has allowed fewer home runs is the Cubs with 61. Last year the Cardinals allowed 51 two-strike homers for the season … Tyler O’Neill (lower back strain) was back in the Cardinals’ clubhouse before the game and reported that he is in the midst of a two-week core strengthening program after receiving two injections to try to reduce inflammation in his back. The Cardinals don’t know when he will be cleared to begin baseball activities and Marmol said he had no timetable for his potential return … Lefthander Packy Naughton, out since April 8 because of a forearm strain, began a rehab assignment at Memphis on Sunday but was pulled out of the game after throwing only three pitches … At Palm Beach, outfielder Won-bin Cho was 4-of-5, including a triple, and stole his 15th base of the year. The 19-year-old native of South Korea struggled in April but since May 1 has hit .366 and has his season average up to .290.

Looking ahead: Matthew Liberatore will get the start in the 6:45 p.m. game on Monday night against the Giants, the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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