Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings)

Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, White Sox 3 (10 innings)

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals reached the All-Star break with at least a couple of reasons for optimism after their extra-inning win over the White Sox on Sunday in Chicago.

The first, and perhaps, the biggest was the performance of Steven Matz as he moved back from the bullpen to make his first start since May 24. Matz worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing only an unearned run, and struck out a season-high nine batters.

Matz was taking the spot of the injured Adam Wainwright, and with Matthew Liberatore now back in Memphis, there figures to be at least two openings in the rotation that will need to be filled as the second half of the season begins on Friday.

In their final four games before the break, starters Jack Flaherty, Jordan Montgomery, Miles Mikolas and Matz allowed a combined one earned run over 23 1/3 innings.

The second reason for optimism was that the Cardinals found a way to win a one-run game despite making three errors, losing three runners on the bases and having two passed balls, all of which combined to make all three of the runs for the White Sox unearned.

Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:

At the plate: Willson Contreras was back in the lineup after missing the last two days because of a dental procedure and hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, the Cardinals only hit through the first six innings … With the Cardinals trailing by a run in the ninth, they scored the tying run when Lars Nootbaar led off with a double and after Nolan Arenado walked and Contreras was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Nootbaar scord on a grounder by Alec Burleson … In the 10th, Paul DeJong’s double on the first pitch of the inning drove in the ghose runner from second to restore the lead … Contreras reached base in all four of his at-bats with the home run, a single, a walk and being hit by a pitch.

On the mound: Matz allowed only two hits, including an RBI single in the third that followed two errors and a passed ball. In addition to his nine strikeouts, he recorded five groundball outs … Matz left the game with one out in the sixth after throwing 75 pitches, in line for his first win of the year but had to take a no-decision after the White Sox rallied to tie game in the seventh, with the tying run scoring on an error by Nolan Gorman … The White Sox took a 3-2 lead in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Luis Robert Jr. off Chris Stratton that followed the second passed ball of the game by Contreras.

Key stat: The Cardinals reached the All-Star break with a record of 38-52, their fewest wins at the break since they were 30-40 at the break in 1990, playing only 70 games in the first “half” of that season.

Worth noting: JoJo Romero got the win by shutting out the White Sox over the final two innings. It was the first decision of his major-league career, coming in his 49th appearance … Contreras also had a throwing error in addition to his two passed balls, and also was doubled off first on a fly ball … Paul Goldschmidt committed an error and was caught stealing, as was DeJong.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will be off until Friday, when they will host the Nationals for the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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