Cardinals' 3-1 loss to Twins halts five-game win streak
MINNEAPOLIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals had been managing to get by during a five-game winning streak by using impressive starting pitching to overcome some struggles at the plate.
The slow bats finally caught up to them against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals managed only seven hits and squandered a two-on, no-out start to the ninth inning in a 3-1 loss to the struggling Twins.
Jason Heyward had two hits and an RBI, but Twins closer Glen Perkins struck out Mark Reynolds and Randal Grichuk and got Yadier Molina to ground out to cap a four-out save.
"We're still seeing good at-bats, seeing good swings. Just one of those ruts where you just keep powering your way through it and it's going to happen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "But right now, they're hard to come by. But once again, we've got quite a few games here where we've got one more than the other guy, so can't make too much out of it."
Tommy Milone (3-1) gave up one run on five hits and struck out five in seven innings and Eduardo Nunez had two hits and two RBIs for the Twins, who had lost seven of their previous eight games.
Carlos Martinez (7-3) gave up two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and struck out six in 6 2/3 innings for the Cardinals, who have scored four runs or fewer in nine of their last 10 games, but still have the best record in the big leagues at 43-22. Their biggest problems currently lie off the diamond.
The Cardinals have spent the last two days swimming in deep water after news broke that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the hacking allegations involving a database compiled by former Cardinals executive Jeff Luhnow, now the Astros' GM.
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak responded forcefully on Wednesday, saying that they had no knowledge of any such actions and were conducting an internal review of their own to get to determine if there was any truth to the allegations.
Until then, Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny vowed not to let the headline-grabbing allegations, which have called into question the integrity of one of baseball's model franchises, distract the team from the torrid pace it has set to start this season. The Cardinals entered the game with the best record in the big leagues, having beaten the Twins at home on Tuesday on the day the investigation was revealed by The New York Times.
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"If you use the word 'distraction,' it might fit," Mozeliak said. "But we're going to try to do everything we can to minimize that because no one down here knew about it or was involved in it. So therefore, it really shouldn't be."
They jumped on Milone in the second inning, getting an RBI single from Jason Heyward for a 1-0 lead.
But Reynolds was charged with an error for being unable to scoop a low pickoff attempt from Martinez at first base, which allowed Trevor Plouffe to score from third and put Eddie Rosario in position to score on a sacrifice fly from Nunez to give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
"You look up and down our lineup, it's the kind of offense that's going to produce," Matheny said. "Some days you just don't have it."
Twins: GM Terry Ryan said RHP Ricky Nolasco, on the disabled list with an ankle injury, was being fitted for orthotics. The club was hopeful that the orthotics would help relieve what has been a recurring for issue for him.
The Twins send RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-3, 3.18) to the mound to finish the four-game split series against LHP Jaime Garcia (2-3, 2.06). Pelfrey had been a pleasant surprise for the Twins through 11 starts, but was tagged for eight runs on 11 hits in a loss to the Rangers his last time out. Garcia missed the first 40 games while recovering from thoracic outlet surgery. He has not walked a batter in his last four starts.
After Heyward led off the fifth with a single, the speedy Peter Bourjos hit a grounder to shortstop. Nunez and second baseman Brian Dozier were able to turn the double play, the first of the season against Bourjos. He entered the game as one of only 12 players with at least 100 at-bats who had not grounded into a double play this season.