Instead, it was more of the same frustrations from the first half showing up already that turned a Cardinals lead into a loss. Let us count the frustrations:
1. Runners left on base
The Cardinals had nine hits, were walked six times — and only scored three runs. Twelve left on. Yeah, hard to win that way.
2. Sloppy defense
The seventh inning was the turning point. Adam Wainwright had been great through six, only allowing two hits — one a homer that Waino himself called “a Great American Ball Park home run.” The Reds singled twice to start the seventh, with Ryan Ludwick, of all people, sacrificing them over. Waino intentionally walked Todd Frazier, who’d hit the homer. Bases loaded, one out, just need a ground ball — and that’s exactly what Ryan Hanigan hit. Except it was a very slow grounder and Allen Craig threw wildly to Waino covering first, allowing two runs to score. To make it even worse, Wainwright tripped over Hanigan’s shoelaces and fell down.
3. The bullpen
Victor Marte relieved Wainwright after that play, which Waino himself aptly called “a debacle,” yet gave up another run on a sacrifice fly. Barret Browning came in for the eighth to face the big boys of the Reds lineup and, alas, his streak of perfection ended. After getting Joey Votto to ground out, he gave up a single to Brandon Phillips. He did strike out Jay Bruce next before being replaced by Fernando Salas. He promptly gave up a triple to Ryan Ludwick. (Quite the night for Luddy, with a sac bunt and a triple.) Ugh.
A frustrating game and a frustrating night — with the Reds win and the Pirates loss putting those two into a first-place tie for the division lead.
But I can’t end without honoring Mr. Browning.
Poem for the New Poet — July 13
Perhaps the day and date should have been a clue,
Friday the 13th should have been a sign.
Yet when you entered the game, you knew what to do:
Get the Reds out like you’ve been doing, all will be fine.
First batter, first out, things going according to plan.
And then, finally, no more perfection — a base hit.
We’re disappointed but no streak last forever, no way that it can.
Yet you got the next batter, not even fazed a bit.
Today’s a new day, with the Cards and Reds back in action this afternoon at 3:05 p.m. on Fox. Hopefully Lance Berkman will be on the active roster — we are definitely looking forward to seeing him back. And it appears the Cards are considering bullpen help, as reports indicate they’re interested in signing lefty Brian Fuentes.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.