Cards' offense still looking for production after loss to Reds

News-DemocratApril 29, 2013 

— It was more of the same from the beleaguered St. Louis Cardinals offense on Monday night.

The Cardinals had just seven hits, including a combined five by Yadier Molina and Allen Craig, and wasted a splendid performance by Adam Wainwright in a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati.

It was the 12th time this season in which the Cardinals (14-11) have been held to three runs or fewer, and they are 3-9 in those games. St. Louis was coming off a 9-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

"You're going to have a few bad games, and right now, we've had two bad games in a row," said catcher Molina, who had three hits and drove in the only run with an eighth-inning double.

"You can't quit. You've got to keep battling. This team is so good that we could come back tomorrow and score 10 runs."

The Cardinals stranded 10 baserunners and were just 2-for-11 with men in scoring position. Their team batting average fell to .245, their on-base percentage to .309 and their slugging percentage to .370.

Infielder Matt Carpenter said things will turn around.

"We've got a team full of really good hitters, guys that are good situational hitters and guys who can hit with two outs and runners in scoring position," he said. "I think anyone in this room would agree that, from top to bottom, our offense hasn't really hit its stride yet.

"We've got a ton of guys in this room who are really quality hitters. Once they all get going, including myself, it will be a fun summer."

Carpenter said good pitchers, like Cincinnati's Mat Latos on Monday, are being effective. But he said the Cardinals also are occasionally getting themselves out.

"There's no question we've run into some tough starting pitching," he said. "That's not making excuses; that's just the way it is. Tonight, Latos did a great job of being effectively wild. When he missed, he missed off the plate for a ball. When he made a pitch, he made a quality pitch for a strike. We tried to battle and we did battle. We had competitive at-bats. It just didn't work out for us."

Latos allowed no runs on five hits in six innings. Jonathan Broxton yielded the Cardinals' only run in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Wainwright (4-2) was effective despite permitting Joey Votto's RBI single in the first and an infield out that went for an RBI by Xavier Paul in the fourth. Wainwright retired the final 10 hitters he faced before giving way to Randy Choate and Trevor Rosenthal.

"For the most part, I was pretty solid," Wainwright said. "Definitely as the game went on, I felt more comfortable and more comfortable and better and better. Early on, I wasn't as sharp. The positive I take away from it is I found my rhythm and where I wanted to be on the mound ... the more the game went on. It was a tough game to lose."

The case with Boggs

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny reiterated Monday that he believes Mitchell Boggs soon will rediscover his effectiveness.

Matheny said the quality of Boggs' pitches Sunday was encouraging, even though he allowed three runs and recorded just two outs as his ERA grew to 12.66.

Both hits allowed by Boggs were singles --one that barely dropped on the outfield grass, another that was grounded into left on a broken-bat swing.

General Manager John Mozeliak concurred, although he said at some point, the Cardinals must see production from Boggs.

"In Boggs' case, he certainly has had some tough luck," Mozeliak said. "But I think he also knows that he has to get it done.

"I talked to the staff (Sunday). They definitely feel, from just a pure pitching standpoint, he's throwing the ball better. Unfortunately, the results weren't all that much different. We're going to try to be patient with it. For how long, I don't know."

Beltran has flu

Right fielder Carlos Beltran, who was removed from the game after six innings Sunday because of the flu, didn't start Monday.

First baseman Allen Craig started in right for Beltran and Ty Wigginton made his first start of the season at third base. It was Wigginton's third start overall; the other two were at third base.

Matheny anticipated that Beltran "probably" would be available as a pinch-hitter, and that was the case in the eighth inning when he batted for Wigginton and flied out to left. Beltran remained in the game in right field and Matheny said he will start Tuesday.

"Today, he feels better," Matheny of Beltran, batting .286 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. "He's just weak. He lost a lot of strength (Sunday) and was pretty sick, so today is a day to kind of gather himself and hopefully get some strength back."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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