It was going to be tough to get a win Tuesday with Cardinals youngster P.J. Walters making his second start of the season against tough Reds hurler Johnny Cueto.
But it was disappointing that, after the starters were long gone and the Redbirds fought back in the late innings to take the lead that the bullpen couldn't hold on. They lost the game -- and a share of first place to the Reds 9-8.
Walters pitched well in spots. But he kept giving up untimely homers. It seemed like whenever he made a mistake, Cincinnati hitters were able to take advantage in a big way. He gave up three homers amongst eight hits over only four innings.
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay collects a broken bat single Tuesday against the Reds. It was one of three hits -- including his first major league homer -- he collected on the night. AP photo.
The Cardinals knocked around Cueto for 10 hits and eight runs in five innings pitched. In the bottom of the fifth, Matt Holliday led off by drawing a walk and he made it to third base when Colby Rasmus singled. Jon Jay, who earlier in the game hit his first major league home run, singled to drive in Holliday. Jason LaRue bunted the baserunners to second and third with one out and Aaron Miles made his return to the Redbirds in the form of a pinch hitting appearance. Unfortunately, he popped out and couldn't tie the game with a runner at third and only one out. Brendan Ryan, who entered the game to replace starting shortstop Felipe Lopez after Lopez injured his hand during a play in the field, singled to drive in both the tying and go ahead run and the Birds led 8-7.
A Reds rally in the seventh tied the game and eventually gave Cincinnati a one-run lead. In the bottom of the inning, the Cardinals seemed to be on their way to repeating the formula for their earlier rally when Holliday again drew a walk followed by a Rasmus single. But David Freese struck out and Jay grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Jay was 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and two RBIs. Colby Rasmus put up nearly identical offensive figures with a homer amongst three hits. But Jay was better in the field.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Ryan's go-ahead, two-out hit.
Lowlight: Baserunners have begun to notice Rasmus' lazy pursuit of balls in the outfield and his lousy throws. Reds runners didn't even hesitate to take an extra base against him Tuesday.