ST. LOUIS (KMOX) — Getting baseball games to start and finish has been a challenge in St. Louis this week with all the April showers. Saturday afternoon was no exception as the game was delayed for a short period of time directly after the end of the seventh inning. At the time, the Cardinals (11-10) were up 3-2, but once the game restarted, the Cincinnati Reds (11-10) took over and won the game 5-3.
Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.90) was still looking for his first win of the season, but that would not happen. The Cardinals ace pitched 6.0 innings, struck out 6, allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks. Carpenter had a no-hitter going into the top half of the fifth, but that was broken up by a Paul Janish single with two outs in the inning.
Control was a bit of battle for Carpenter for most of the afternoon as he threw only 59 strikes on 103 pitches. In his final inning in the sixth, Carpenter buzzed Brandon Phillips of the Reds and then seemingly lost command of his control as he walked Phillips. Next up was 2010 MVP Joey Votto who took the count to 3-0. Even though he had not seen a strike in the at-bat, Votto jumped all over Carpenter’s next pitch and sent it over the center field wall to tie the game 2-2.
Three-time MVP Albert Pujols was able to respond in the bottom half of the sixth with a 437-foot home run off Reds starter Travis Wood (1-2, 5.40) to make the score 3-2. So far during the current home stand, Pujols has hit 3 home runs and driven in 7 RBIs.
The other Cardinals runs were scored in the second on a RBI single from David Freese, and in the third on a RBI sacrifice fly from Colby Rasmus that scored Chris Carpenter after he doubled.
Travis Wood would make into the seventh, but lasted 6.1 innings. He allowed 3 runs on 8 hits and a walk.
After the forty minute rain delay between the seventh and eighth inning, reliever Miguel Batista took the hill. After the first out, third baseman David Freese made an error by overthrowing Albert Pujols allowing Reds lead-off hitter Drew Stubbs to take second. Batista was able to strike out Brandon Phillips, but hit Jonny Gomes after intentionally walking Joey Votto.
Trever Miller was brought into the game to face the left hitting Jay Bruce with two outs and the bases loaded. Miller got ahead of Bruce, but could not toss a strike and threw three straight balls to walk home the tying run.
Manager Tony LaRussa elected to bring in Ryan Franklin to face right hitting Miguel Cairo. Franklin also was a strike away from ending the rally, but left a hanging splitter over the plate, and Cairo looped the ball into the left field corner to give the Reds a 5-3 lead for good.
All of the eighth inning Cincinnati runs were unearned and charged to Batista. The Reds only had 4 hits on Saturday, yet took advantage of key mistakes by the Cardinals pitching and defense in that game-changing top of the eighth.
Franklin pitched in the ninth inning as well. In 1.1 innings, he allowed a couple hits to the seven batters he faced.
NOTES…Pitcher Miguel Batista is the first pitcher to make a relief appearance a day after starting a game since pitcher John Halama did so in 2005 for the Boston Red Sox…Travis Wood allowed his first career stolen base when Colby Rasmus took second in the first inning; that was also the first attempt at stealing a base against Wood in his young career…The Cardinals are back in action on Easter Sunday night at 7:05pm in a rubber match against the Cincinnati Reds…The Charter Communications pre-game show on KMOX 1120 AM with Scott Warmann starts at 6:10pm .
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