To say the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen was disappointing on Monday would be the understatement of the young season.
The Cardinals led throughout the first seven innings of their opening day tilt with the Cincinnati Reds. But the relief corps allowed single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to allow the visitors to pull closer and an unbelievable nine runs in the ninth to shoo disappointed fans away from Busch Stadium.
Mitchell Boggs, who is responsible for most of the carnage in the ninth, became the first Cardinals pitcher since World War 2 to issue four walks in 1/3 of an inning of work. He also allowed two hits and was hurt by a fielding error -- and a couple of shoddy plays that weren't scored as errors -- as he allowed seven runs to dent the plate and saw his earned run average balloon to 14.54.
While they held the lead for most of the game, the Redbirds didn't exactly do a lot to deserve being ahead.
They plated two runs in the first inning when Cincinnati centerfielder Shin-Soo Choo dropped a fly ball off the bat of St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina with two outs. Choo got his glove on the ball but somehow failed to hang on, flipping it up in the air. He then missed connections trying to catch it on the rebound.
Matt Holliday scored in the sixth inning on another Choo drop of a fly ball hit by Molina. Choo's gaffes, which caused him to get a standing ovation from the bleacher crowd when he later handled a pop fly, accounted for three of the Redbirds' three runs.
Otherwise, St. Louis only managed four hits throughout the game, a poor offensive showing for a team that scored its own nine-run inning over the weekend against the Giants.
Simply put, the Reds took advantage of their opportunities while the Cardinals didn't.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Staring pitcher Jaime Garcia pitched 6 2/3 strong innings and struck out 10 hitters while walking three. His breaking pitches were nasty, darting both in and away from befuddled hitters.
Cardinals Play of the Game: In the top of the fourth with one out and a man at third Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips grounded hard to third. David Freese fielded the chance and then pegged the ball to the plate where a potential run was cut down.
Lowlight: Here is the transcript of the ninth inning, according to Yahoo Sports:
|- M. Boggs relieved T. Rosenthal|
|- S. Robinson in left field|
|- S. Choo walked|
|- C. Heisey popped out to right center|
|- S. Choo to second on wild pitch|
|- J. Votto intentionally walked|
|- B. Phillips doubled to shallow right, S. Choo scored, J. Votto to third|
|- J. Bruce intentionally walked|
|- T. Frazier walked, J. Votto scored, B. Phillips to third, J. Bruce to second|
|- J. Hannahan hit for S. LeCure|
|- J. Hannahan singled, B. Phillips scored, J. Bruce to third, T. Frazier to second|
|- R. Hanigan safe at first on shortstop P. Kozma's fielding error, J. Bruce scored, T. Frazier to third, J. Hannahan to second|
|- M. Rzepczynski relieved M. Boggs|
|- C. Izturis singled to right, T. Frazier scored, J. Hannahan to third, R. Hanigan to second|
|- S. Choo doubled to deep left, J. Hannahan, R. Hanigan and C. Izturis scored|
|- C. Heisey grounded out to second, S. Choo to third|
|- J. Votto singled to left center, S. Choo scored|
|- B. Phillips walked, J. Votto to second|
|- J. Bruce singled, J. Votto to third, B. Phillips to second|
|- T. Frazier struck out looking|
9 runs, 6 hits, 1 errors
|Cincinnati 13, St. Louis 4|