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Same old song as Cardinals fumble away another game

The St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday had a chance to start with a clean slate after an opening day clunker against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Unfortunately, it was more of the same sloppy play and the same eventual result: A loss in a game that should have been won.

The Redbirds racked up 13 strikeouts to contribute to their total of 17 runners stranded on base. The game could have been out of hand in St. Louis’ favor when it was 5-3 Cardinals in the bottom of the fifth. But the slighter than it could have been advantage was completely wiped out when shortstop Aledmys Diaz booted the easiest double play chance he’s ever going to get to open the flood gates.

The Cardinals got a lead-off Single from Kolten Wong in the seventh, a leadoff baserunner in the eighth when Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch and a leadoff double from Jeremy Hazelbaker in the ninth. But the team couldn’t move the runners up on the base paths and make anything out of the scoring chances.

The Redbirds endured a concerning start from Michael Wacha who continued a spring training trend of struggling with his control.

Wacha was pounded for 10 hits and five runs, four of them earned, over 4 1/3 innings. He was near the 100 pitch mark when he was mercifully pulled from the game.

On the bright side, the bullpen was brilliant in six innings of work, allowing not allowing a hit until Seth Maness surrendered two in the bottom of the 11th.

But, besides the bullpen, the Birds were lousy in every aspect of the game. They allowed too many runs and scored half as many runs as they could have with average play. The anchor of this team, the starting pitching, has been shaky.

They really need to find a way to clean things up fast before the hole their digging gets too deep.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Stephen Piscotty who made a great play to cut down a runner at the plate with a textbook throw. He also was two-for-four at the plate with a walk and a run scored.

Lowlight of the Game: Aledmys Diaz collected his first hit in his MLB debut. But then the made it a night to forget with a key error that allowed the Pirates to tie the game in the fifth.

The Cardinals kick off the MLB regular season with a three-game series in Pittsburgh, against the Pirates. The Opening-Day game is scheduled to start at 12:05 CT on Sunday, April 3.

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