08/27/2002 8:20 pm ET
Cards suffer loss to Reds
Lose opener of doubleheader to Reds
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- The Cardinals dropped the first game of a doubleheader and a key four-game series against the Reds on Tuesday, but it could have been quite a bit worse.
Cincinnati Reds 5, St Louis Cardinals 4|
|St Louis Cardinals|
|a-Flied out for DiFelice in the 8th.|
|2B: Cairo (7, Reitsma), DiFelice (11, Reitsma).|
HR: Pujols (30, 3rd inning off Moehler, 0 on, 0 out), Rolen (20, 3rd inning off Moehler, 0 on, 0 out).
RBI: Simontacchi (2), Pujols (100), Rolen (85), DiFelice (16).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Rolen, Edmonds 2, Vina.
GIDP: Rolen 3, Vina.
Team LOB: 10.
|E: Rolen (12, throw).|
DP: 2 (Simontacchi-Rolen, Vina-Cairo-Martinez).
|a-Singled for Reitsma in the 6th. b-Popped out for Sullivan in the 8th.|
|2B: Dunn (22, Simontacchi).|
RBI: Casey (42), Stinnett (5), Walker (50).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Walker, Casey 2.
Team LOB: 7.
|SB: Dunn (16, 2nd base off Fassero/DiFelice).|
|E: Griffey (2, fielding).|
Outfield assists: Kearns (Vina at 1st base).
DP: 5 (Boone-Casey 2, Boone-Walker-Casey, Walker-Larkin-Casey, Kearns-Casey).
|St Louis Cardinals|
|Simontacchi (L, 9-5)
|Reitsma (W, 5-9)
|Williamson (H, 8)
|Sullivan (H, 16)
|Graves (S, 30)
|IBB: Griffey (by Simontacchi).|
Pitches-strikes: Simontacchi 100-60, Fassero 14-8, Crudale 11-9, Moehler 57-31, Reitsma 59-35, Williamson 15-8, Sullivan 7-5, Graves 14-8.
Ground outs-fly outs: Simontacchi 10-7, Fassero 0-2, Crudale 0-2, Moehler 2-4, Reitsma 6-3, Williamson 2-1, Sullivan 2-1, Graves 3-0.
Batters faced: Simontacchi 29, Fassero 4, Crudale 3, Moehler 15, Reitsma 15, Williamson 4, Sullivan 3, Graves 4.
Umpires: HP: Matt Hollowell. 1B: Rob Drake. 2B: Derryl Cousins. 3B: Marty Foster.
Weather: 82 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 10 mph, In from LF.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner
The 5-4 defeat was frustrating, but Jason Simontacchi avoided a potential pitching disaster by surviving a second-inning meltdown and lasting 6 1/3 frames. Simontacchi gave up five runs -- all of them in one inning -- on seven hits, walking four and striking out two. He lost for the fifth time this year, but the first time in four starts.
The defeat dropped the Cardinals' NL Central lead over second-place Houston to 2 1/2 games, pending the Astros' game against the Padres. Cincinnati closed within 6 1/2 games of St. Louis. The Cardinals had a chance to tie or win the game in the top of the ninth, but Scott Rolen grounded into a 5-3 double play with two on to end the game.
Albert Pujols had a big day at the plate for St. Louis, reaching base five times on a homer, two singles and two walks. Pujols reached the 30-homer and 100-RBI plateaus for the second time in as many Major League seasons.
Simontacchi drove in the Cardinals' first run on an RBI single through a drawn-in infield. The hit brought his batting average up over .200 for the season. It was Simontacchi's second Major League RBI.
The lead was short-lived, though. The first seven batters of the second inning reached base for the Reds, courtesy of five base hits, a walk and an error. Simontacchi teetered on the brink of being pulled from the game as right-hander Nerio Rodriguez warmed up. But the eighth hitter of the inning, Aaron Boone, grounded out to third base.
After an intentional walk to Ken Griffey Jr., Simontacchi retired Austin Kearns -- but he earned it. Kearns rifled a line drive up the middle that Simontacchi barely speared, and the right-hander threw to third base to get Brian Moehler for the 1-5 double play.
The Cardinals got three of the four runs back in the top of the third. Pujols led off with a solo homer to left field, his 30th longball of the year. He became just the sixth player in franchise history with consecutive 30-homer seasons. Rolen made back-to-back jacks with a blast to almost the same location, and the Cards had cut it to 5-3. A pair of doubles by Miguel Cairo and Mike DiFelice made it a one-run game.
Simontacchi cruised after that. The rookie didn't allow another hit until Sean Casey's single in the sixth, and he didn't permit another run for the rest of the game. It was already too late, however, as the Cardinals did not score again.
Lefty reliever Jeff Fassero, acquired from the Cubs on Sunday afternoon, made his Cardinals debut in the seventh inning. He retired two batters, but allowed a pair of singles.
Matthew Leach covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. He can be reached at Matthew_H_Leach@yahoo.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.