It’s a case of diminishing returns for the St. Louis Cardinals’ offense.
St. Louis was blanked 1-0 by Cole Hamels and two relievers Friday as the Texas Rangers dropped the Cardinals to 0-3 on their five-game homestand.
The Cardinals (35-31) have scored three runs in three games and are batting .170 (16-for-94). Their only runs have come on bases-empty homers by Matt Adams and Brandon Moss in a 5-2 loss to Houston on Tuesday and a pinch-hit single by Greg Garcia in a 4-1 defeat to the Astros on Wednesday.
The St. Louis Cardinals have scored three runs in the first three games of their homestand, all losses, and are batting .170 during that stretch.
In the loss Friday, Matt Carpenter was on base four times with two singles and two walks, but his teammates combined to reach base just three times. Outside of Carpenter, the Cardinals were 1-for-27, with Jedd Gyorko getting the only other hit.
“You have to give credit to that guy. He threw an amazing game today,” Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz said of Hamels (7-1), who worked 7 2/3 innings before turning over the game to Matt Bush and Sam Dyson. “We weren’t able to make adjustments. It’s part of the game, you know?”
The Cardinals’ offense was on fire during a six-game road trip that preceded the homestand. St. Louis won the final five games and outscored its foes 37-16.
But the three losses at Busch Stadium have dropped the Cardinals’ home record to 15-19.
Michael Wacha (2-7) was the latest victim of non-support. Wacha allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings Friday, a home run by Rougned Odor in the fifth.
This offense is a very good offense. We’ve been facing some good pitchers who have been attacking us, pitching us well. It’s part of the game, I think. You’ve just got to keep showing up to the field every day, ready to play. I think our team will do that.
Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha, who fell to 2-7 on Friday
“This offense is a very good offense,” Wacha said. “We’ve been facing some good pitchers who have been attacking us, pitching us well. It’s part of the game, I think. You’ve just got to keep showing up to the field every day, ready to play. I think our team will do that.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny credits the opposing pitchers. Starters Doug Fister and Collin McHugh of Houston and Hamels of the Rangers have been difficult to center.
“We’ve had some guys making good pitches, I think, and not making a lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate,” Matheny said. “It’s one of those games that you’ve got to try and find a way to make something happen. We just couldn’t get anything going at all, really.”
The best news Friday was Wacha’s work. In his last two starts, he’s yielded three runs in 14 2/3 innings, with five walks and 12 strikeouts. Yet he has a no-decision and a loss.
“It just feels like I’m in sync and the arm’s in the right position whenever I’m going home,” Wacha said. “It’s been a lot of work. It’s on the right track, for sure.
“It’s something you have to stay on top of at all times. Pitching mechanics are muscle memory. You’ve got to keep working at it and stay in your mechanics to be where you want to be.”
Rangers 1, Cardinals 0
Cole Hamels threw 7 2/3 shutout innings and Rougned Odor homered against Michael Wacha in the fifth as Texas escaped with the victory and dropped the Cardinals to 0-3 on their five-game homestand.
By the numbers
Matt Carpenter was on base four times against Hamels (7-1) with two singles and two walks. ... Wacha (2-7) allowed one run on six hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven. ... Sam Dyson pitched the ninth for his 12th save. ... Hamels permitted three hits, walked three and struck out six. ... The Cardinals have three runs in their last three games. ... The game lasted 2 hours, 23 minutes.
Carlos Martinez (7-5, 3.46 ERA) vs. Nick Martinez (1-1, 3.38 ERA), 3:15 p.m. Saturday