Tuesday’s Game Report: Rays 4, Cardinals 2

Tuesday’s Game Report: Rays 4, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains

In a 1-1 game in the eighth inning Tuesday night, with the go-ahead run on third base and starter Miles Mikolas at 80 pitches for the night, Cardinals manager Oli Marmol decided to go to the bullpen.

It turned out to be the wrong move.

Andre Pallante relieved and after retiring the first batter he faced, he allowed four consecutive hits that produced three runs and gave the Rays the win in the opener of the three-game series in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Mikolas could do nothing but stand in the dugout and watch the inning implode, handing him the loss and dropping the Cardinals 16 games under .500, equaling their worst record of the season.

Here is how Tuesday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals only runs came on a pair of solo homers, by Nolan Arenado in the second and by Willson Contreras in the ninth. Arenado’s homer was his 24th of the season, tying him with Nolan Gorman for the team lead … The Cardinals had only three other hits and for the second game in a row failed to get a hit with a runner in scoring position, going 0-of-4. In their last five games they are a combined 3-of-34 with a runner on second or third, losing four of the five games.

On the mound: The Rays only run off Mikolas had come on a home run with one out in the seventh after he had protected the 1-0 lead since the second … In the eighth, he gave up a leadoff triple that just eluded center fielder Dylan Carlson before he was pulled from the game with the ninth-place hitter coming to bat. Mikolas did not walk a batter and struck out five … After Pallante left, Drew VerHagen walked the first batter he faced to load the bases but then got a groundball and a strikeout to end the inning.

Key stat: The Cardinals fell to 49-65 on the season. They also were 16 games under .500 at 36-52 after the games of July 7. They have not been more than 16 games under .500 since the next to the last day of the 1997 season when they were 17 games under .500.

Worth noting: Tyler O’Neill was scratched from the starting lineup just minutes before game time, suffering from left knee tightness, according to the Cardinals. His status was said to be day-to-day. O’Neill had taken batting practice and shagged balls in the outfield before the game.

Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start on Wednesday night in the second game of the series.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.