Cardinals swept out of Cincinnati

Former Cardinal Scott Rolen's game-winning hit

The St. Louis Cardinals lost all three weekend games to the Reds, including another close one Sunday.

INSIDE PITCH

 

The Cardinals' three-game sweep by the Reds at Cincinnati had some familiar themes.

 

A former Cardinal beat them. After left fielder Ryan Ludwick hit a 10th-inning homer to win Saturday's game for the Reds, 3-2, third baseman Scott Rolen delivered a two-run, two-out bases-loaded single to win Sunday night for Cincinnati, 4-2.

 

The bullpen failed. In each of the three losses, the Cardinals' bullpen faltered. After contributing to three runs in the seventh inning on Friday and right-hander Victor Marte tossing Ludwick's homer on Saturday, right-handed Mitchell Boggs allowed Rolen's game-winning single in the eighth on Sunday.

 

But, besides another familiar theme, Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman fanning eight hitters in three innings over three games, the main memory of the series will be the Cardinals' invisible offense. In three games, the Cardinals scored only seven runs. They didn't have a hit with men in scoring position in eight at-bats on Sunday.

 

Catcher Yadier Molina had six hits, including two homers and two doubles in the series. The rest of the club had two extra-base hits in the series.

The most notable miss by the Cardinals came in the eighth. With the score tied at 2-2, left fielder Matt Holliday and right fielder Carlos Beltran both singled. But first baseman Lance Berkman was called out on strikes, Molina flied out and third baseman David Freese tapped to the mound.

 

Right-hander Jake Westbrook (7-8) pitched strongly until the eighth inning but he walked first baseman Joey Votto and then, after a wild pitch, nicked second baseman Brandon Phillips with a pitch, putting two on with one out.

 

Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski made a kick save on right fielder Jay Bruce's grounder and second baseman Skip Schumaker got the out at first. But, righty Mitchell Boggs walked Ludwick intentionally after falling behind 3-0 and then gave up the winning single to Rolen.

 

Westbrook, however, took the blame.

 

"I hadn't walked a guy all night, and I walked (Votto)," Westbrook said. "Then I hit Phillips, which ultimately cost us the game."

 

NOTES, QUOTES

1B Lance Berkman made his first start since suffering torn cartilage in his right knee on May 19. He reached on 1B Joey Votto's error in the second inning, then came all the way around to score standing up on C Yadier Molina's double to the gap in left-center. But, after a walk in his second plate appearance, Berkman's night trended downward as he hit into a double play and struck out.

INF Tyler Greene, whose playing time has shrunk at both second base and shortstop, where he almost never plays, is 0-for-12 as a pinch hitter after fanning against Cincinnati LHP Aroldis Chapman on Sunday night. Greene has 49 strikeouts in 161 at-bats. "The unfortunate thing is that you have one shot," said Greene. "The toughest part of it is understanding the big picture—that you might get one at-bat within several days. As a player, you're so used to getting three or four at-bats in a game to build off." Manager Mike Matheny said, "We all know he can play middle (infield). How that plays into the lineup every day I don't exactly know."

LF Matt Holliday had a double and a single, extending his hitting streak to 14 games at 21-for-54 (.389). Since June 16, he is 41-for-93 (.440).

RF Carlos Beltran, who was 1-for-21 before singling in his final two at-bats on Sunday, will get one day off and maybe two at Milwaukee during the next series. Beltran, a Home Run Derby contestant and starter in the All-Star Game at Kansas City, really hasn't had a break lately.

The Cardinals lost all three games at Cincinnati but struggling LHP Marc Rzepczynski may have had a breakthrough. He retired all four men he faced, including Reds RF Jay Bruce twice.

By the Numbers:

24-39 - The Cardinals' record in one-and two-run games.

Quote to Note:

"There has to be urgency. We're fighting. But it's time to win these ball games."

- 3B David Freese, after another one-run loss for the Cardinals.

MEDICAL WATCH

3B David Freese (bruised left leg) was hurt July 7. He appeared as a pinch hitter July 8. He was back in the lineup July 13 after the All-Star break.

1B Lance Berkman (torn meniscus in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 20. He had arthroscopic surgery May 25, and no ACL damage was found. He took batting practice July 2, and was activated July 14.

LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6. After further examination, it was determined that he has tearing in his rotator cuff. He threw 40 pitches from 60 feet on flat ground for the first time in a month July 4. He is out until at least mid-August.

RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. On July 3, the Cardinals announced that Carpenter would undergo season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome.

Link to boxscore: Cincinnati 4, St. Louis 2

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