When the St. Louis Cardinals play their best game, they're tough to beat.
But when they make careless mistakes, it's come back to bite them repeatedly in the early going of the 2015 season.
Unfortunately, it was the latter situation for the home opener Monday and the home team lost in front of a sold out house to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Second baseman Kolten Wong made a couple of fielding errors that led to a pair of Milwaukee runs, the deciding tallies in the game.
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The first error came at the very beginning of the game when starting pitcher Adam Wainwright coaxed a slow grounder in Wong's direction which the second-year second baseman inexplicably booted. The second error came in the seventh when the Birds were trying to stay close down 3-2. After one run was plated, Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy grounded to Wong and he threw wildly to allow Milwaukee's fifth run.
The Redbirds were able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. But the drive stalled out there. In the bottom of the eighth, St. Louis third baseman Matt Carpenter grounded sharply up the middle but was robbed of a hit by Brewers shortstop Jean Segura. It was a big play because Jason Heyward singled to left and the rally would have been well underway.
But, unfortunately, the Cardinals could pull no closer and ended up falling by a 5-2 score.
Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright battled. But he gave up more hits (8) than innings pitched (7) and was touched for five runs, three earned. He struck out four and walked one.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Johnny Peralta was one of three Redbirds who collected two hits, the other two being Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday. He also drove in two of the Birds' four runs.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Wong tied the game in the bottom of the fourth with his legs, scoring from first on a Brewers' attempt at a 5-6-3 double play when Wainwright tried to sacrifice bunt. When the relay to first went wild Wong, who was running from first to second, came all the way around to plate a run.
Lowlight: I'm not sure why the Cardinals have been so sloppy in the early going. But I know they're capable of playing better than this. They need to eliminate the unforced erros which have been the difference between winning and losing so far.