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Rockies lose pitcher’s duel to Cardinals, 3-2

St. Louis Cardinals sacrifice to win game in ninth inning

The Colorado Rockies lost a pitcher’s duel to the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 after some timely Cards hitting in the first inning and some good situational sacrifices in the ninth.

The Cardinals scored the first runs of the game in the bottom of the opening frame. Matt Carpenter reached base with a leadoff single then was driven home thanks to a home run from Paul DeJong, pinning the score at 2-0. That was the only damage allowed by Rockies starter Jon Gray. He got knocked around a bit, yielding eight hits and wasn’t too efficient, throwing 96 pitches over five innings. But the two runs were all Gray allowed. He racked up six strikeouts without walking a batter.

If the trade rumors are any indication, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn helped add a few ticks to his value in what might have been his final start with St. Louis. The 30-year-old right hander allowed just two hits and a walk over six innings while striking out six Rockies. Only one Colorado player reached scoring position against Lynn, courtesy of a double in the second inning by Gerardo Parra, but the Rockies failed to drive him in. Other than that, the only real drama came in the top of the fourth when Ian Desmond, playing first base for the Rockies, was removed in favor Mark Reynolds due to a reaggravation of tbe calf injury that landed him on the disabled list earlier this month.

Once Lynn was out of the game, the Rockies managed to score a run in the seventh off reliever Kevin Siegrist. DJ LeMahieu drew a leadoff walk, then advanced to third base on a Nolan Arenado double to left field. Parra then drove in LeMahieu with a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 2-1 in the Cardinals’ favor. In the top of the eighth, Trevor Story tied the game at 2-2 when he hit a home run on a 1-2 fastball from reliever Matt Bowman. After Bowman hit Ryan Hanigan with a pitch, Trevor Rosenthal was brought into the game and stifled the Rockies for the rest of the eighth. He did run into some trouble in the top of the ninth after giving up singles to Reynolds and Carlos Gonzalez but he struck out Story to end the threat.

Meanwhile, the Rockies’ bullpen held the line after Gray left. Neither Mike Dunn nor Scott Oberg allowed a run in their two innings of work. Jake McGee threw a scoreless eighth but gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth to Cardinal center fielder Harrison Bader after a missed strike three call by the home plate umpire. A sacrifice bunt by Greg Garcia moved Bader to third. McGee, after the Rockies went to a five-infielder alignment, indiced a weak a flyball to right field which Carlos Gonzalez caught. He tried to throw Bader out at the plate but it was just a tad too late and the game was won for the Cardinals.

The game was also noteworthy because of an experiment by MLB to shorten the game clock between innings. The previous time allotted between innings was two minutes and five seconds for locally televised games but Tuesday’s game shortened the break to just 1:45.

The Rockies finish up the series in St. Louis Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. MT. Jeff Hoffman brings a winning 6-2 record but a 5.10 ERA and 1.32 WHIP against Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez, whose 6-8 record belies his 3.34 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.