Nothing goes Cards' way in seventh inning
SAN DIEGO -- Saturday night's seventh inning was one to forget for the Cardinals, as missed scoring chances and the Padres' offense taking advantage of its own opportunities would result to a 8-0 St. Louis loss at Petco Park.
"Neither are things that we have in our game plan to help us win," manager Mike Matheny said. "Both are working against us, and once again, just one of those innings that just kind of blew up on us."
The seventh inning looked bright for the visitors, as a double by Brandon Moss was followed by Tommy Phan singling to right field, putting runners on the corners with no outs in a 1-0 game led by the Padres.
San Diego starter Ian Kennedy was lifted, and Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez would come out to hit and strike out against Shawn Kelley, and after Marc Rzepczynski fanned Kolten Wong, Bud Norris got Stephen Piscotty looking to end the inning.
Matheny said what factored in the decision to have Martinez pitch the seventh was the fact that the Cardinals were already down a hitter, as Matt Carpenter was ejected in the fifth inning, along with Matheny liking what he saw from Martinez in an effort that the skipper thought was good enough to win on Saturday.
"We get an opportunity there to possibly bunt a run in and bunt a run over, and still have [Martinez] throw," Matheny said. "But that go-ahead run on second base is a play we hope to have work out for us. But it just didn't work out."
"It took some wind out of our sail, for sure," Matheny said about the missed opportunities to score. "You know, we have been on the other side of that when it looks like our back is up against the wall and we come in and make some great pitches, make some great plays, and get out of a situation that looks like it's inevitable for a run or two -- and how you feed off that -- that's exactly what happened to us."
With the momentum not going their way, Martinez started the seventh inning, allowing two singles and a sacrifice bunt to give the Padres their second run of the game.
The Cardinals' bullpen, which entered Saturday's game with a 2.12 ERA for the month of August, would end up spoiling the strong start from Martinez, as the Padres went on a scoring frenzy.
After Randy Choate came in and walked left-handed hitter Yonder Alonso, Seth Maness came in and allowed a two-run single to Matt Kemp followed by Justin Upton bringing in two runs with a double down the left-field line.
Matheny said that the struggle to score in the seventh inning would stand out to him looking back at the game, adding that the Cardinals often have been able to make the most of scoring opportunities this year.
"Just trying to put the ball in play and make something happen, put pressure on. That's what we have done so well this year, I think, so far," he said. "Grinding at-bats and pushing, making them make a play on us. We were in a good situation right there, and in a good spot to not just get that one run, but figure out a way to put some pressure on them with that [go-ahead] run, and just couldn't get it going."