Following a 3-1 loss on Wednesday to the Minnesota Twins, the first place St. Louis Cardinals looked to bounce back in the final game of an overall four game series against the Twins that took place both at Busch Stadium and at Target Field.
But just like the day before, the Cardinals were only able to muster up a mere run, and Minnesota hit two late home runs to power over the Cardinals 2-1.
The pitching matchup for the game featured Jaime Garcia (2-3, 2.06 ERA) for St. Louis, and Mike Pelfrey (5-3, 3.18 ERA) for Minnesota.
In the first inning, there two hits between the two teams combined: a one out double by Matt Carpenter in the top of the first, and a single by Trevor Plouffe in the bottom of the first. Despite this, neither led to runs.
Both Garcia and Pelfrey continued their strong pitching into the second inning, where both shut their opponents down in order 1-2-3.
For the first half of Thursday afternoon’s game, it was a pitcher’s duel between the two starters. At one point, Garcia had retired 10 out of the last 11 batters he faced. But, much like the previous starts he has had, the Cardinals offense gave him no little-to-no run support.
The pitching duel between the two pitchers continued into the seventh inning, but it was also in that inning where the Cardinals would score their first (and only) run.
Mark Reynolds led off the inning with a pop out to second base. With one out, catcher Yadier Molina popped out to second base as well, bringing up right fielder Jason Heyward, who belted a deep home run to give the Cardinals a late 1-0 lead over the Twins.
Garcia meanwhile,faced two more batters in his start. Torii Hunter led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk, and Eddier Rosario hit an infield single, which led to Seth Maness entering the game to relieve Garcia.
His final line of the afternoon: 6+ IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K.
Eduardo Nunez hit a sacrifice, advancing the runners on base, to bring up Kurt Suzuki, who was intentionally walked by Maness. This brought up Kennys Vargas, who hit into an inning double play as the Cardinals got out of the late game jam.
But in the bottom of the eighth, with Kevin Siegrist on the mound, and following two straight strikeouts, Joe Mauer tied the game with a solo shot deep to left field.
And while the Cardinals could not score in the top of the ninth, the Twins could in the bottom of the ninth. Carlos Villanueva had entered the game to pitch, and after getting Nunez and Suzuki to ground out, Vargas hit a walk-off home run to give the Twins a 2-1 victory.
The loss dropped the Cardinals to 43-23 on the year, as the Twins improved to 36-30. Blaine Boyer got win, and he’s now 2-2 on the year. Villanueva got the loss, and drops to 3-2.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals begin a series against the struggling Phillies, and, while Lance Lynn is travelling with the team, as of now, Tyler Lyons will get the start.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)