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On historic night for St. Louis, Cards fall short

Mikolas hit hard early, Cardinals defense does him no favors
@cdenicola13
June 12, 2019

MIAMI -- Wednesday's 9-0 Cardinals loss to the Marlins to end a June series at Marlins Park will be just an afterthought on an otherwise historic night in St. Louis sports lore. While right-hander Miles Mikolas scuffled to his fifth straight defeat and Marlins righty Jordan Yamamoto limited the Cardinals

MIAMI -- Wednesday's 9-0 Cardinals loss to the Marlins to end a June series at Marlins Park will be just an afterthought on an otherwise historic night in St. Louis sports lore.

While right-hander Miles Mikolas scuffled to his fifth straight defeat and Marlins righty Jordan Yamamoto limited the Cardinals to three hits over seven innings in his Major League debut, the Blues were busy capturing their first Stanley Cup championship.

Box score

Mikolas, who took a comebacker off his right forearm in his last start, gave up five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk over five innings on Wednesday.

A year ago, Mikolas was 7-2 with a 2.43 ERA en route to an All-Star selection. Through this season's first 14 starts, he is 4-7 with a 4.83 ERA.

"Not doing as well. Not every pitch goes exactly where I want to," Mikolas said. "I'm not getting away with as many mistakes as I did last year, maybe. I got a little lucky last year. I don’t think I'm getting lucky at all this year."

His counterpart, Yamamoto, prevented the Cardinals from securing a series sweep with his strong 95-pitch outing. Fellow Hawaiian Kolten Wong trains with Miami's prospect, but Wednesday marked the first time he had seen him pitch.

"Congratulations to Jordan," said Wong, who went 1-for-3. "He's part of a good lineage of guys right now from Hawaii. It is what it is. I'm proud of him. He pitched really well. He kept his composure and he did his thing."

Moments that mattered

Though St. Louis was charged with just one error, several misplays behind Mikolas contributed to all five runs he permitted.

The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first after Dexter Fowler dove for and missed a line drive off the bat of Garrett Cooper, as the ball trickled to the wall. Brian Anderson followed with an RBI single.

In the second inning with two men on, second baseman Wong's errant throw to first on a potential double-play ball set up runners at the corners with one out for Yamamoto, who executed a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Curtis Granderson walked before Cooper knocked a grand slam.

"We have the best double-play tandem, not only with Kolten and [Paul DeJong], but just with our infield, we have the highest conversion rate in Major League Baseball and just couldn't quite turn one," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Trailing 5-0 in the fourth, the first two batters reached to put runners on the corners. But Marcell Ozuna flew out to shallow left before Yadier Molina grounded into an inning-ending double play.

"We had some swings on him and didn't take advantage," Shildt said. "First and third, nobody out, we have a chance to get back in the game. Weren’t able to do it. Hit balls hard and nothing to show for it."

Sound smart

Wong entered Wednesday with nine Defensive Runs Saved (tops in the Majors for Major League second basemen) and a 1.9 Ultimate Zone Rating (third). As a ballclub, the Cardinals ranked eighth in DRS and ninth in UZR.

"It just happens," Wong said of the miscue. "It's not something I'm thinking about. Or even care about. Obviously, I want to turn double plays, but sometimes you get put into a situation where you try to make a play and it just wasn't there.

"It was a tough play. It was a tough throw to the backside of me. I knew I had to get around and try to pull it, but I didn't pull the ball enough."

Party in Miami

Some Cardinals fans in attendance watched the remainder of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final from the Clevelander at Marlins Park. They could be heard counting down the final few seconds before the DJ began to play “Gloria” by Laura Branigan.

Back in St. Louis, there was a watch party at Busch Stadium that couldn't be soured by a little rain.

He said it

"Go Blues. Bring it home." -- Shildt, who ended his postgame scrum before the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, to capture their first Stanley Cup title

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.