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Rosenthal sees scoreless streak end

ST. LOUIS -- On Friday, one night after pitching around a runner on third with one out in a tie game, reliever Trevor Rosenthal found himself needing to repeat the escape act against the Padres. The situations may have been identical, but the contrast in conclusions left the Cardinals with a 2-1 loss.

This time Rosenthal slipped, allowing Jedd Gyorko to line an elevated slider for a tie-breaking RBI single that sent the Cardinals to their fourth straight defeat. The run allowed also halted Rosenthal's 23 2/3-inning scoreless streak, which dated back to May 5 and represented the longest string of scoreless innings by a National League reliever this season.

"It's been a good run," Rosenthal said afterward. "[It's a] tough spot to give up one. I wish we had been up a couple, and it wouldn't have mattered. It's just always tough putting us in a situation to lose."

Rosenthal opened his 36th appearance of the season with a strikeout, but subsequently fell behind five-hole hitter Yangervis Solarte. As he tried to work himself back into a more favorable count, Rosenthal left a 97-mph fastball over the plate that Solarte drove into the gap in right-center for a triple, just the third extra-base hit Rosenthal has given up this season.

Gyorko, behind in the count, 1-2, then laid off a pair of borderline pitches and fouled off two more before singling on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

"It was a slider that was up," Rosenthal said. "It just wasn't a good pitch. I tried to go more away with it and kind of left it up, and he was able to make a good swing on it."

"That guy is tough," added Gyorko, who had homered two innings earlier. "He's got a ... what, 0.50 ERA? There's a reason why he's got good stuff."

Such stumbles have been exceptionally rare for Rosenthal. He has had a tremendous first half, one that is expected to be recognized with an All-Star invite in the coming days. The only NL pitcher to piece together a longer streak of scoreless innings was Max Scherzer, and even after giving up a run, Rosenthal still leads all NL relievers with a 0.72 ERA.

The 25-year-old closer has been scored upon in just three appearances this season.

"He's been great. He's been durable," manager Mike Matheny said. "We've used him a lot because we've been in so many games just like this, and he's responded well. He's worked hard to prepare and be ready in these spots and is throwing the ball extremely well."

Over his string of scoreless innings, Rosenthal went 15-for-15 in save opportunities, limited opponents to a .205 batting average and allowed as many hits and walks combined (23) as he notched strikeouts.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
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