The St. Louis Cardinals lost their third straight game last night to a streaking Houston Astros team by the score of 8-2 .
The damage came early as Astros third baseman Chris Johnson hit a grand slam in the first inning off Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia which put the Cards in catchup mode for the remainder of the game. Astros starter Bud Norris would have nothing of it.
The Cardinals got on the board first with an unearned run in the first. It was Johnson who made an error on a Jon Jay grounder which allowed Rafael Furcal, who had reached on a single to move to third. Carlos Beltran, making the start after not doing so for two straight games, singled to drive in Furcal.
Garcia walked three of the first five batters he faced before Johnson came up and battered a hanging slider well over the left field fence.
The score would remain 4-1 until the bottom of the fourth when Garcia got into more trouble. Johnson led off the inning with a single and scored quickly on a double by Justin Maxwell. Maxwell would eventually come around to score on a sac fly from Norris. Garcia finished with six earned runs in six innings, on four hits and two walks.
The Cardinals got a run back in the top of the eighth. Jay singled and moved to second on a passed ball. Matt Holliday lined a single to center to get the Cards within four runs. But, J.C. Romero allowed a two-run homer to Jed Lowrie in the bottom half of the inning making it 8-2.
- Today marks the last of the 27-game stretch against NL Central opponents.
- Beltran was roundly booed by the Astros faithful who are still upset with Beltran signing with the Mets.
MY TWO CENTS
The St. Louis Cardinals are in the midst of a poor stretch which is uncharted territory for this season. Every team has them, but no one was expecting it to come at the hands of the Houston Astros. I warned at the beginning of the three-game set that this had the makings of a “trap” series. So far it has worked out that way as the Astros have outplayed the Cardinals in most facets of the game.
The Cardinals are fortunate to have Wainwright set to pitch. His record against the Astros is somewhat deceiving as other than Lee, the rest of the players on the team have faced Wainwright in one game. None of them fare all that well, but none the less it is a small sample size. Based on what we have seen from the Astros lineup, they should not be underestimated.
However, the good news is that the record Happ has against the Cardinals is backed by the players currently on the roster. Beltran, Jay, Yadier Molina, David Freese and Allen Craig all have great numbers against Happ too. So, the Cardinals bats need to wake up again (8 total runs in last three games after 12-run outburst on Wednesday) and back their pitcher.
Wainwright needs to do his part in this one as the Redbirds have been done in mostly by their starting pitchers during the losing streak. Despite his slow start, if there was one player I would want on the mound for the Cardinals to stop a losing streak it would be Wainwright. Maybe he can show Garcia what a stopper looks like.