Cardinals face White Sox after latest blown-lead defeat

July 8 – The St. Louis Cardinals’ poor season has only gotten worse of late.

They’ll try to evoke positive feelings when they visit the Chicago White Sox in the second game of their three-game streak on Saturday afternoon.

The Cardinals blew an early five-run lead in Friday night’s series opener and gave up another one-run lead late in the game before going 8-7 to lose their fourth loss in five games.

It was the 28th time this season that the Cardinals have gambled away their lead this season, often late in games.

“We had the lead more than twice in certain games and gambled it away,” said Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol after the last loss. “With our pitching team, we can’t give away outs and we did a fair amount of that (Friday).”

Marmol’s pitching team got even thinner on Friday after starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery retired in the fifth inning with a hamstring injury.

St. Louis is already without starters Adam Wainwright (shoulder) and Jake Woodford (shoulder).

Montgomery came into play second on the team (103 innings) and secured the lead with wins (six).

“It hurts,” Marmol said. “This is a guy who gives us a chance every time.”

Montgomery’s early exit and Kyle Leahy’s ineffectiveness on his major league debut also forced Marmol to use one of his best substitutes, Chris Stratton, for a third straight season, leaving him unavailable for Saturday’s game.

Despite falling behind early, the White Sox maintained their positive energy on Friday.

“It’s easy to just stop. These guys never do that,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “It was just a good, brave performance by everyone.”

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Grifol said the White Sox have a knack for stringing together base hits and then throwing in a big hit when they need it, as they did multiple times on Friday.

“I think that will really help us along the way,” Grifol said of the comeback win. “These guys play meaningful games every night. And it’s tough games against good opponents, so there’s good energy in the dugout.”

The White Sox are planning a bullpen game and will probably send Touki Toussaint up the mound as a starter for the second time in six days.

Toussaint (0-1, 3.95) allowed two runs and three hits in 3 2/3 innings of an 8-7 win over the Oakland A’s on July 2. He has previously played against the Cardinals four times, twice as a starter, and is also 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 innings.

The Cardinals will try to get to the right side of the Victory Column if they send right-hander Miles Mikolas up the mound.

Mikolas (4-5, 4.51 ERA) hasn’t had any success lately either. He is winless since May after standing 0-4 with a 6.07 ERA in June.

Mikolas didn’t make a decision early in July after giving up four runs with four hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins on Monday. He hit two, walked two and held a 4-2 lead when he came out for the seventh time. He ran two batters in the inning, one of whom missed, and the bullpen conceded a two-run double and an RBI single in the inning en route to a 5-4 loss.

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Mikolas had his only career start on July 10, 2018 against the White Sox. He gave up two runs, three hits and a walk in six innings to secure the 14-2 win. He would receive the first of two All-Star nominations that season.

–Field level media

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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