The St. Louis Cardinals turned in a clunker Thursday night as they concluded their road trip with an anti-climactic four-game split with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The offense apparently took the day off against a starting pitcher with an earned run average over 5.00, collecting only three hits in a shutout. The lack of production was glaring with the roof open at the D-Backs launching pad.
Arizona catcher Chris Herrmann started the scoring when he took a defensive swing against a low and away pitch and somehow looped it over the right centerfield fence for a two-run homer. It pushed across the only runs his team would need.
Herrmann is hitting .143 for the season and seemed shocked as he rounded the bases.
Cardinals started Michael Wacha gave up two homers on the night. But he was generally pretty good with five hits and three runs allowed over seven innings of work. He’s had a problem putting hitters away lately. But on Thursday he struck out nine while walking two.
The Redbirds looked as if they’d found their misplaced bats in the ninth inning when they got their first two hitters on base and had a chance to tie the game with one swing.
But catcher Yadier Molina, who earlier in the game extended his streak of getting on base to 17 consecutive games, grounded into a double play that essentially ended the threat.
The Cardinals will start a three-game set against the Washington Nationals Friday night. But things won’t be easy just because they’re back at home.
Washington will offer up some tough pitching with Steven Strasburg starting the first game of the series and St. Louis area Native Max Scherzer scheduled to start the finale on Sunday.
The Birds counter with Mike Leake Friday, who is still looking for his first win in a St. Louis uniform. Jaime Garcia starts Saturday against Joe Ross and Carlos Martinez pitches for the local nine on Sunday.