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Cards drop third straight, lose 2-1

Cards drop third straight, lose 2-1

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The Cardinals offense was at it – or not at it – again on Monday.

After being shut out on Sunday by the Pirates, the Cardinals snapped their scoreless streak at 16 innings with a run in the eighth but that was it as they still lost, 2-1, to the Reds. It's the third straight loss for the offensively struggling Cards. They had their chances, but left 10 runners on base, five in scoring position.

The Reds scored their first run in the first inning and needed only six pitches to do it. Shin-soo Choo doubled on the game's first pitch, was sacrificed to third and then scored on a single by Joey Votto. The Reds made it 2-0 in the fourth on a single by Brandon Phillips, a fielder's choice groundout by Jay Bruce, a double by Todd Frazier and a broken-bat ground out by Xavier Paul.

After giving up five hits in the first four innings, Cards starter Adam Wainwright retired the last 10 batters he faced, finishing seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

The Cardinals scored their run in the eighth on back-to-back doubles by Allen Craig and Yadier Molina, but finished the inning with a runner on second after reliever Jonathan Broxton got pinch hitter Carlos Beltran to pop out and Pete Kozma to ground out to first.

The Cardinals left runners on third in the first and fourth innings and a runner on second in the third, fifth and eighth.

CARDS SCORE, STILL TRAIL

The Cardinals snapped their scoreless streak at 16 innings, scoring a run in the eighth on Monday night, but still trail the Reds 2-1 after stranding the tying run on second.

Allen Craig led off with a double into the right field corner and Yadier Molina followed with a blast off the center field wall. Craig scored and Molina was on second with no outs. But David Freese hit it back to pitcher Jonathan Broxton, who retired Molina, who stayed in a rundown long enough for Freese to get to second. Carlos Beltran, who didn't start as he battles the flu, pinch hit for Ty Wigginton and popped out to short left and then Pete Kozma grounded out to first to end the inning.

REDS EXTEND LEAD TO 2-0

The Reds extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth inning. 

Brandon Phillips, who continues to be booed by Cards fans even though that's what he wants them to do, led off with a single and was replaced on the bases after being forced at second by Jay Bruce. Todd Frazier doubled into the right-field corner, with Bruce stopping at third.

Adam Wainwright then broke Xavier Paul's bat just above the handle, and while the barrel went pinwheeling into the stands behind the Cardinals dugout, the ball rolled to Pete Kozma at short, who got the out at first while the run scored to make it 2-0. After an intentional walk to catcher Devin Mesoraco, Wainwright struck out pitcher Mat Latos to end the inning.

The Cardinals got Yadier Molina to third with two outs in the fourth, but Pete Kozma struck out to end the inning. Through seven innings, the Cardinals have left nine runners on base, four in scoring position.

Adam Wainwright went seven innings, allowing five hits, striking out six and walking two.

REDS JUMP TO QUICK LEAD

It took just six pitches for the Reds to take a 1-0 lead on the Cardinals on Monday night at Busch Stadium.

Shin-Soo Choo hit Adam Wainwright's first pitch into the left-field corner for a double. Zack Cozart sacrificed him to third and Choo scored on a line single to center by Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips walked to put runners on first and second with one out, but Wainwright struck out Jay Bruce on a 3-2 curve in the dirt and Todd Frazier fouled out to end the inning.

WIGGINTON STARTS AT FIRST

Ty Wigginton, who has batted just 10 times in the past 20 days, starts at first base tonight as the Cardinals work around Carlos Beltran's flu-like illness.

Allen Craig replaces Beltran in right field for the start of a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium, and with Matt Adams on the disabled list, Wigginton takes over at first base.

Manager Mike Matheny said Beltran needed a day to get his strength back, but should be available if he was needed as a pinch hitter.

"He was real weak today, he lost a lot of strength yesterday. Today's a day to gather himself and get some strength back," Matheny said.

Matheny said he didn't think the departure of lefty Marc Rzepczynski, who was sent down to Memphis on Monday, would be that big of an issue against the left-handed heavy lineup of the Reds. The Reds have four lefties in the lineup today, in the 1, 3, 5 and 7 spots. Randy Choate is the only lefty in the Cards pen now.

"We haven't really used Rzep as a traditional lefty anyhow," Matheny said. "We haven't used him in a lot of matchup situations, we've just been using regardless of whether it's left or right. ... As far as our righties against their lefties, they face them all the time. We have to figure out what the game plan is to get lefthanders out and we have guys who can do that."

As for Seth Maness, the 24-year-old called up from Memphis to try to help the bullpen, he likely will be used in long relief in the early going, which frees up Joe Kelly to move into a bigger role. 

"I'm excited to have him," Matheny said. "He made a strong impression in spring training so it's good to have him here. And at the same time, it will give Rzep a chance to get some things figured out."

"Clearly the way things are going now with our bullpen, we have to do something," GM John Mozeliak said. "In Maness' case, it's a compliment to what he's doing in Memphis. He's a strike thrower, he gives some depth to a bullpen that's been bleeding a little bit.

"(For Rzep), I feel like it just wasn't getting done. He needs to go down to Memphis and work on a few things. ... When you look at results, and the game is all about results, he just wasn't going the way we'd hoped. I get that there are other people not performing well and people ask me about them as well, we just don't want to make wholesale changes just to do it, but I do think everybody realizes we have to make some changes."

Cardinals lineup:

1. Jay CF

2. Carpenter 2B

3. Holliday LF

4. Craig RF

5. Molina C

6. Freese 3B

7. Wigginton 1B

8. Kozma SS

9. Wainwright P

Reds lineup:

1. Choo CF

2. Cozart SS

3. Votto 1B

4. Phillips 2B

5. Bruce RF

6. Frazier 3B

7. Paul LF

8. Mesoraco C

9. Latos P

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