Matt Morris allowed one hit and one run through six innings Thursday night. Brad Thompson, Ray King and Julian Tavarez allowed four hits and five runs in the eighth inning alone. These polar-opposite performances led the Cardinals to a 6-2 loss to the Reds in Cincinnati.
Morris, who was looking to snap a personal skid of four-straight decisions, was nearly untouchable on the mound. The only run he allowed was in the fourth inning, when Felipe Lopez scored Ryan Freel on a fielder’s choice. That tied the game at 1-1.
Yadier Molina gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the second.
St. Louis regained the lead in the fifth inning when Jim Edmonds sent a double to right field to score Morris. That lead lasted until the eighth inning breakdown.
Thompson allowed Freel to reach on a double to lead off the eighth. Thompson was relieved by Ray King, who immediately served up an RBI single to Lopez. Up next was Adam Dunn, who singled to center to put runners at first and third. That marked the end of Ray King’s evening.
Julian Tavarez entered the game and got Rich Aurilia to fly out and intentionally walked Jason LaRue, to load the bases. Austin Kearns reached on a fielder’s choice and LaRue was out at second, but Lopez scored to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. Tavarez walked Jacob Cruz, to re-load the bases and Edwin Encarcion cleared them with a three-run double. The Reds took and held on to their 6-2 lead.
Ultimately, it was King (4-4) who got the loss.
Despite the defeat, the Cardinals did clinch home field advantage all the way through the NLCS, should they make it that far, thanks to the Braves 4-0 loss to the Phillies.