The St. Louis Cardinals entered the month of July with an eight game lead in the National League Central division, and a 51-25 record overall. On Tuesday night, they fell 2-1 against Chris Sale and the Chicago White Sox in an 11 inning battle.
On Wednesday night, they looked to kick off July right with a bounce back win after the previous night’s loss.
But unfortunately for the Cardinals, they did not get their bounce back win, falling 7-1 on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.
After a nearly two hour weather delay in St. Louis prior to first pitch, the game was finally underway.
The starters on the mound were John Lackey (6-4, 3.35), who has been consistently going deep into games, against Jose Quintana (3-7, 3.95) for the White Sox.
Following less than 10 minutes of gameplay, another rain delay was called, though this one lasted much shorter than the prior one. Once it ended, and the bottom of the first inning had begun, Kolten Wong led off with a single.
After an out by Matt Carpenter, shortstop Jhonny Peralta stepped up to the plate, and launched a double that scored the fast-running Wong all the way from first base, giving the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead. Mark Reynolds followed with a strikeout, bringing up Randal Grichuk with two outs.
With the score still 1-0 in the top of the third inning, Lackey set a career milestone for himself. He officially moved into 277th place on the all-time career innings list, passing Ron Darling, Scott Erickson and Jon Matlack.
In the top of the fifth inning, Tyler Flowers led off with a single, which was followed by a ground out by Carlos Sanchez. Jose Quintana struck out for the second out of the inning, but Adam Eaton singled home Flowers, tying up the game at 1-1.
But in the top of the sixth inning, Melky Cabrera broke up the tie by launching a solo home run into the Cardinals bullpen to make it 2-1 White Sox. Meanwhile, in the bottom of the fourth, Quintana threw a 1-2-3 inning against the Cardinal bats. But the following inning, the Cardinals looked to strike back, as Reynolds hit a one-out triple deep to center field, bringing up Grichuk with a chance to tie the game. But Quintana got out of the jam striking out Grichuk, and getting Yadier Molina to pop out.
Zach Putham entered the game in the bottom of the seventh to pitch for the White Sox. As for Lackey, his night was finished as well, and his final line for the game was: 7 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 Ks. Greg Garcia was brought in to pinch hit for Lackey, who grounds into a force out, bringing up Wong with two outs, and now Zach Duke in the game for Chicago.
Kevin Siegrist then started the eighth inning pitching for the Cardinals in relief of Lackey, with the White Sox still maintaining a 2-1 lead, and pitched a shutout inning, as the Cardinals tried to get some momentum with only one inning left. But they couldn’t get any runs in the eighth inning, as the White Sox bullpen continued once again to shut the Cardinals down.
To start off the ninth inning, Seth Maness entered to pitch for the Cardinals. With no one out, Flowers, who hit a home run on Wednesday night, hit a two run home run (Alexi Ramirez was on first) to make it 4-1 White Sox. Randy Choate was then brought into the game in relief of Maness.
Marcus Hatley was soon after brought in to relieve Choate. Hatley was making his Major League debut, but it was not in an ideal situation: with the bases loaded, nobody out, and at nearly 12:30 in the morning. Abreu singles, making it 5-1 White Sox. A groundout by Cabrera scored another, and a fielding error by Carpenter scored another run, and suddenly, it was 7-1 White Sox heading into the bottom of the ninth inning.
St. Louis could not answer in the bottom of the ninth, as they fell once again to the White Sox, by the score of 7-1.
The loss drops the Cardinals to 51-26, while the White Sox improve to 34-42, though they still possess the worst record in the National League. Lackey falls to 6-5, and Quintana improves to 4-7.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals begin a series against the San Diego Padres.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)