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After weather delay, Cards fall out of 1st

Rain halts momentum after Crew tags Waino early
@anne__rogers
August 22, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Looking to widen the gap in the National League Central and maintain their grip on first place, the Cardinals didn’t get a chance to finish the game they started Wednesday night. Attempting to sweep the Brewers, the Cards saw their series finale called after a one-hour, six-minute

ST. LOUIS -- Looking to widen the gap in the National League Central and maintain their grip on first place, the Cardinals didn’t get a chance to finish the game they started Wednesday night.

Attempting to sweep the Brewers, the Cards saw their series finale called after a one-hour, six-minute rain delay that began in the middle of the eighth inning, with the Brewers holding a 5-3 advantage.

Box score

The rain-shortened loss had big implications in the division standings, as the Cardinals fell out of first place and sit a half-game behind the Cubs, who won a back-and-forth battle against the Giants on Wednesday. The third-place Brewers moved to 3 1/2 games back.

With rain in the forecast all night, there wasn’t a clear window to finish the game, which was the explanation that Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said he received.

“We waited an hour,” Shildt said. “Didn’t get an opportunity to finish a game that we fought and scratched and clawed and felt like we were in it and had a chance to -- felt really good about winning, quite honestly.”

The Cardinals had a big deficit to overcome early after the Brewers took a five-run lead in the top of the first against Adam Wainwright, who allowed five of his eight hits in the frame, including a three-run homer to Mike Moustakas in an 0-2 count.

Wainwright entered Wednesday with a 2.33 career ERA against Milwaukee, and his 16 wins against the Brewers are the most among active pitchers. But he felt off from the first pitch he threw and fought to grip the ball.

Wainwright struggled with his fastball command all night, but the Moustakas home run came on a curveball -- a pitch he’s had success with against the Brewers’ third baseman before. After Moustakes swung and missed at a curve the pitch prior, he got under the next one and golfed it in the right-field seats.

“The pitch that Moustakas hit, the biggest pitch of the day, it didn’t have the same bite to it, and he was able to get under it," Wainwright said. "Tip your hat to a good hitter, but I just know that I had horrible fastball command, did not have good stuff and was just out there trying to battle.”

Wainwright settled down after throwing 34 pitches in the first and got through five innings, only allowing one more run as the Cardinals tried to work their way out of the deficit. The last inning was Wainwright's best, when he got three quick groundouts, but he had reached 108 pitches.

“Disappointed I came in here to a big series and sort of had one of my worst outings of the year,” Wainwright said. “Luckily, our team was on the right path there for a comeback, but we ran out of time with the rain. There’s no excuse. You can put that whole game on me. I set the tone from the first inning on, and when you give up a four-spot in the first, you’re putting your team behind the 8-ball, and that’s what happened.”

The Cardinals had opportunities for a comeback before the rain. They took advantage of two Brewers’ errors in the fifth inning to score two runs, and in the sixth, Yadier Molina’s double -- his 372nd, which is 10th all time among catchers -- scored Marcell Ozuna to put runners on second and third with one out.

But when Brewers left-hander Alex Claudio entered to face Matt Carpenter, Carpenter struck out swinging. Harrison Bader did the same against Brewers righty Matt Albers to end the inning. Shildt said there was thought about pinch-hitting for Carpenter with switch-hitting Tommy Edman, but ultimately, Shildt wanted to save Edman and the rest of the bench for the later innings.

And then the Cardinals ran out of time.

“We were set up to be able to compete and win the game, for sure,” Shildt said. “I would have liked to have the opportunity.”

Despite the shortened loss, the Cardinals walked away with a series win over the Brewers, with a rematch starting Monday in Milwaukee -- and none other than Wainwright slated to start.

“It’s hard to sweep any big league team, especially one like the Brewers,” Wainwright said. “But we won two out of three. Unfortunately it ends poorly because I laid an egg today, but I think our guys will be ready. We won a tough series this time. We’ll try to win a tough series next time.”

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.