Missed chances haunt Cardinals in loss at Washington

April 22, 2015

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals got plenty of hits Tuesday night, except when they needed them most.

St. Louis even added six walks to its season-high 13 hits against Washington, eight of which came against left-handed starter Gio Gonzalez. But he didn't give up a run in six labor-intensive innings and Yunel Escobar made the Cardinals pay for the missed opportunities with a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of a 2-1 loss.

"Many times when they got a hit, it was with two outs," Al Hrabosky said on FOX Sports Midwest's Cardinals Live postgame show. "It was just one of the situations where (the pitcher) bent all night long, but they wouldn't break."

The Cardinals left 13 men on base and hit just 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. But they didn't really have any can't-miss opportunities, never advancing a runner to third with fewer than two outs.

In his postgame comments to reporters, manager Mike Matheny credited his team for fighting to get back into the game despite falling behind 1-0 in the second inning. Despite suffering its first loss in its last six games, St. Louis still holds the National League's third-best run differential at +18 and has lost just four games by a combined five runs.

3 UP

Lynn dominant again. The No. 2 pitcher in the Cardinals' rotation turned in another reliably solid outing, allowing just five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Lance Lynn worked around four walks with the help of seven strikeouts to give him a team-best 10.38 strikeouts per nine innings. He lowered his ERA to 1.56 with only one earned run allowed in each of his three outings. Lynn hasn't given up more than three earned runs or pitched fewer than five innings in his last 19 starts.

Red-hot Holliday. Matt Holliday put together a perfect night at the plate to extend the major leagues' longest current hit streak.

Watch the Cardinals Live pregame and postgame shows before and after every St. Louis Cardinals game on FOX Sports Midwest.

Holliday had four singles in four at-bats and a walk and has hit safely in all 12 games. He raised his average to a team-best .425 and picked up his seventh RBI with a clutch single to bring home Matt Carpenter's game-tying run in the ninth.

"He's swinging the bat well and Carp, too, and giving us an opportunity to make something happen," Matheny said. "Matt coming up with the big hit, just not trying to do too much, not buying into trying to hit homers or whatever."

Jay's defense. St. Louis wouldn't have gotten into extra innings without a pair of run-saving plays by center fielder Jon Jay.

He tracked down Ryan Zimmerman's deep line drive just in front of the wall in right center with one out and two runners on base in the third inning, then made an even more important diving catch with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth to rob Jayson Werth of a walk-off hit.


Lynn's luck. Lynn hardly deserves a loss and a no-decision in three starts this season.

But a two-out second-inning rally capped off by Bryce Harper's chopper through the hole on the left side would be all Washington needed to gain a 1-0 lead -- the score that stood when Lynn departed in the seventh inning. The right-hander has been on the mound both times the Cardinals have been shut out for the first eight innings, and they've scored at least two runs in every other game.

Adams' defense. Matt Adams got away with a pair of errors after he entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.

Werth singled after Adams dropped his foul pop-up earlier in the at-bat. He did not score. The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth thanks to a fielding error by the Cardinals' regular first baseman, but Jordan Walden managed to work out of the jam.

Heyward slumping. Right fielder Jason Heyward went hitless again in five chances and has just two hits in his last 18 at-bats, although one of those was a solo home run in Saturday's 5-2 win over Cincinnati.

You can follow Luke Thompson on Twitter at @FS_LukeT or email him at lukegthompson87@gmail.com.