First Inning Catastrophe Too Much for Cards to Overcome

A bloop single, a dribbler up the third-base line and a walk set the stage for the implosion that was heralded rookie Mike Mayers first major league inning.  Is second was only slightly less damaging.  The batsmen keep scratching valiantly back, but after seeing Los Angeles add 3 more in the second – after they had tallied 6 in the first – the deficit was too great to overcome as the Dodgers held on for a 9-6 victory (box score).

With consecutive two-hit games, Stephen Piscotty has pushed his July batting average to .321 (25 for 78).  His two-run double gives him a team-leading 18 runs batted in this month and raises his July slugging percentage to .577.

That double came in the seventh, in his last at bat of the game.  Piscotty is hitting .317 this season in the seventh through ninth innings (33 for 104) with 4 home runs and 17 runs batted in.

Aledmys Diaz’ streak of reaching base in 26 consecutive games came to an unceremonious end.  He sent three fly balls to deepish right field, but nothing fell in for him.  Over the course of the streak, Aledmys’ batting line was .356/463/.614.  He hit 5 home runs, walked 18 times and drove in 20 runs.

After his torrid series against San Diego and his dramatic home run in game one of the Dodger series,  Jedd Gyorko has cooled a bit – now hitless in his last ten at bats.

Once Scott Kazmir had gotten him to ground out in the first and third innings, the odds started sliding toward the Dodger pitching staff.  In general, Gyorko is most dangerous this season through the first four innings.  In 67 at bats before the fifth inning, Jedd has 22 hits (.328 average) that includes 5 home runs.  His early-game slugging percentage is .612.

From the fifth through the eighth, though, his average dwindles to .189 in 95 at bats.  Last night Jedd struck out in the sixth and grounded out in the eighth.

When Matt Holliday doubled home Piscotty in the first inning, it provided the first, first-inning run the Cards have scored since Matt Carpenter’s injury fifteen games ago.

Seth Maness was the same kind of hero in this game thatTyler Lyons was in the 16-inning game.  After Mike Mayers’ rather disastrous debut, Maness quieted the Dodgers for the next 3.2 innings.  Seth’s season started very badly and was interrupted for 35 games by an injury.  Since his return to the bullpen, though, Seth has been called on 10 times and has pitched 12.2 innings allowing just 2 runs (1.42 ERA) on 7 hits and 3 walks.

None of the 8 batters that faced Trevor Rosenthal last night scored, but 5 of them reached base (on a single, a double and 3 walks).  Sixteen of the 35 batters he has faced this month have reached base against Trevor (.471).

Last night was the fourth time this month that Trevor has pitched in the seventh, and the second of those four times that he has left without retiring a batter, as he walked all three he faced on 19 pitches.  He has thrown 82 pitches to the 15 batters he’s faced in his four seventh innings, retiring only four of them.

Matthew Bowman was also heroic, as he came on in the seventh and wriggled clean of a bases-loaded, no-out situation.  He then added a scoreless eighth.  Bowman has quietly stitched together a 1.32 ERA over his last 12 appearances and 13.2 innings.  Matthew hasn’t served up a home run since Martin Maldonado connected in the sixth inning of the June 1 game in Milwaukee.  He has now gone 19 innings, throwing 265 pitches to 71 batters since that last home run.

With that perfect eighth inning, Matthew continues a fairly spectacular late inning trend.  He has pitched 17.2 innings do far this season after the seventh inning.  In them, he has surrendered 2 runs on 9 hits (8 singles and a double).  He carries a 1.02 ERA and a .153 batting average against from the eighth inning on.

Mayers’ distressing inning was by no means the only time the Cards have struggled starting a game.  The team ERA in the first inning this year is 4.41 (4.95 for the month of July).  In contrast, after Bowman’s scoreless eighth, the team ERA for the eighth inning this month is 1.35.

This was the Cardinals twelfth series this season that went to a rubber game.  The Cards are 7-5 in rubber games so far.  All five of these rubber game losses have come at home, where St Louis is only 4-5 in rubbers games.

The Mets – who just took two of three from Miami – will be the sixth consecutive team the Cardinals have faced that won its previous series.  Even with this loss, St Louis is still 10-5 in series against teams that had won their previous series (going 29-19 in those series).

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