The Cincinnati Reds 9th inning rally came up short in a 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. Luke Weaver had his best start of the season, and Spencer Steer extended his hitting streak, but the offense couldn’t come through when presented with multiple opportunities with multiple runners on and St. Louis broke through in the 8th inning to take a lead and not look back as they earned a split of the 4-game series in Cincinnati.
|St. Louis Cardinals (23-29)
|Cincinnati Reds (21-29)
|W: Mikolas (3-1) L: Sims (1-1) SV: Gallegos (5)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
A pitchers duel broke out at Great American Ball Park on Thursday afternoon. Luke Weaver and Miles Mikolas were trading zeroes through the first five innings as neither team could come up with a big hit in the rare opportunity that either side had a baserunner.
Cincinnati got things moving in the bottom of the 6th inning with a TJ Friedl leadoff single. Matt McLain then singled on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners with no outs. Jonathan India hit a grounder to third base and Friedl broke for the plate on contact and was thrown out easily. Jake Fraley flew out and Tyler Stephenson followed up with a grounder to shortstop for a force out, ending the inning as the Reds wasted a huge opportunity.
In the top of the 7th it was finally time for the Cardinals to get their offense moving in the right direction. Alec Burleson singled with one out and then Luke Weaver hit Juan Yepez with a pitch to put two men on base. That led to a pitching change, with Lucas Sims coming into the game. He struck out Tommy Edman to record the second out of the inning. With Andrew Knizner at the plate, Yepez was caught off the bag at first by catcher Luke Maile who fired to first and was in a short rundown before being tagged out by Jonathan India to end the inning. That put a final stamp on Weaver’s day, throwing 6.1 shutout innings with six strikeouts.
Lucas Sims returned for the top of the 8th inning. After retiring the first two batters of the inning he gave up a single to Lars Nootbaar. A wild pitch moved him over to second base, and on the next pitch Nolan Gorman lined a double into the right field corner to put St. Louis up 1-0. Pitching coach Derek Johnson walked out to the mound and had a conversation with Sims and Maile before they decided to intentionally walk Brendon Donovan to face Paul DeJong. That move backfired as Sims walked him on four pitches to load the bases. With Alec Burleson at the plate, Sims threw a curveball at his feet that got by Maile and led to Gorman crossing the plate to extend the Cardinals lead to 2-0. That was all they’d get in the inning, but those two runs loomed large with just six outs remaining in the game.
Cincinnati got things going again in the bottom of the 8th with one out as TJ Friedl led off with a walk and then stole second base. Matt McLain followed up with a walk of his own to give the Reds another opportunity with two men on. They failed to come through after Jonathan India popped up to second base and Jake Fraley grounded into a force out.
Alan Busenitz took over for Cincinnati in the top of the 9th inning and worked around an infield hit to keep the score a 2-0, giving the offense one final shot to get on the scoreboard. Tyler Stephenson grounded out to begin the inning, but Spencer Steer doubled and after the play was challenged it remained a double and brought Nick Senzel to the plate. He would strike out, leaving the game in the hands of Stuart Fairchild. He came through with an RBI single, making it 2-1 and extending the game. That brought Luke Maile to the plate, but he would strike out on three pitches to end the game.
Key Moment of the Game
Lucas Sims’ struggles with control in the 8th inning.
Notes Worth Noting
Spencer Steer extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Luke Weaver’s ERA dropped to 5.45. That’s the lowest it has been all season following the completion of a start.
TJ Friedl didn’t walk in 20 games from April 19th through May 11th. Since coming off of the injured list he’s walked in both games he’s played in. His 2-hit day raised his line on the season to .321/.371/.489.
The Reds are still in last place, all on their own. A win would have moved them ahead of the Cardinals in the division.
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds vs Chicago Cubs
Friday May 26th, 2:20pm ET
Hunter Greene (0-4, 4.68 ERA) vs TBA