Comeback eludes Cardinals despite late inning heroics -

Comeback eludes Cardinals despite late inning heroics

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(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Wednesday night the Cardinals were on the verge of dropping their sixth consecutive game at Busch Stadium. Zeroes cluttered the scoreboard through the first eight innings with the Redbirds unable to pounce on Royals’ starter Edinson Volquez. The right-hander lasted just one inning in his previous start giving up 11 runs.

However, the Cardinals could only muster six hits against the starter before leaving in the seventh.

Down to their final out and short a run, the Cards put runners on first and second. It was only the third time all game St. Louis had a runner reach scoring position. This time Jhonny Peralta delivered with an RBI single to send the game to extras.

Once again the Cardinals found themselves behind by one the following frame. Kansas City plated a run in the 10th off two errors and pushed the home team into another do-or-die situation. Stephen Piscotty scorched a ball 427 feet to dead center to pull his team even.

Neither club managed to score in the 11th with Trevor Rosenthal earning some redemption by tossing a clean inning and tallying two strikeouts.

However the Royals struck the final blow in the 12th with a disorganized inning by the only reliever available, Seth Maness. After retiring the first batter, Maness allowed back-to-back doubles. Piscotty was injured while trying to field the ball. He believed the ball to be foul and didn’t want to give the opposing runner the opportunity to tag up and score. But it was all for naught as the ball dropped in fair and was kicked by Piscotty.

St. Louis committed three errors in the game.

“When the team comes back and they keep fighting to get back in it those usually take a little bit more out of you,” Mike Mathenyy said. “It took a lot to get back into it. Just mistakes ended up costing us. I saw a lot of positives but the negatives seemed to cost [us].”

Taking the ball off the ankle exacerbated swelling to Piscotty’s ankle having fouled a pitch off the same ankle in his sixth inning at-bat.

“It’s painful but there’s nothing serious to it,” the right fielder explained after the game even though he walked into the clubhouse with a limp. “I’ve got double swelling going on here.”

Piscotty wasn’t sure if he would be available for Thursday’s game.

The Cardinals were unable to find anymore magic in the 12th inning going down in order accounting for their 22nd loss at Busch Stadium this season. The last time the Cards lost six consecutive games at home was in September 1997. And the team’s manager insists the players don’t focus on where they are playing but trying to win each game.

“So much has been made of it that it’s hard to deny it and not realize it right now,” said Mike Matheny, whose club went 55-26 at home a year ago. “Overall we think it’s just one of those things that won’t be an issue by the time we finish this thing at the end. We’ll play good at home.”

Martinez tallies another quality start

It’s hard to remember who started Wednesday’s game ending almost four and a half hours after it started, however, Carlos Martinez turned in another solid performance. It was his sixth straight start of six or more innings.

“He just keeps getting better,” Mathen said. “The way he uses his stuff, mixes up his movement and trusting his defense, that’s a huge step from even a year ago. To me he’s just starting to find his stride.”

Martinez threw six innings allowing only one free pass and fanning three. Twelve of his outs came on ground balls. Matheny pulled his starter after he gave up a lead off single in the seventh citing the amount of pitches the 24-year-old threw in his last two starts.

“His last two starts we ran him deep in his pitch counts so we were careful with him [Wednesday], couldn’t let him go much further,” Matheny added.

Martinez has thrown 521 pitches in his five starts in June.

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