Cardinals find little relief in home opener
Monday, April 8, 2013
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Count Cardinals pitcher Mitchell Boggs among those hoping Jason Motte comes back soon.
Over and over, St. Louis’ stand-in closer self-critiqued his nightmarish ninth inning that left him with an outlandish 14.54 ERA and saddled the Cardinals with a 13-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in their home opener Monday.
The Reds scored nine times in the ninth. Boggs was charged with six earned runs while recording just one out.
“I’m not going to hide from this,” Boggs said. “There’s no excuses, I was bad today. I expect to be a part of lot of good ones.
“My mindset won’t change, I’ll show up tomorrow ready to go, ready to do whatever they ask me to do,” he said.
Boggs (0-1) was 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA and a league-leading 34 holds last year as the setup man. Motte had a career-best 42 saves and was the first pitcher in franchise history to get all of the team’s saves.
Manager Mike Matheny said before the game there’s no timetable for Motte, on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain. After rookie Trevor Rosenthal allowed the tying run in the eighth and Marc Rzepczynski allowed two runs on four hits in the ninth, Matheny did not contemplate any role changes.
One possible switch might be moving Edward Mujica from middle relief to the eighth inning to lessen the pressure on the 22-year-old Rosenthal.
“We always keep the door open,” Matheny said. “But right now we have to look at the fact those guys are there for a reason, they’ve earned that spot, and not to make any knee-jerk reactions.”
Boggs, who couldn’t hang onto the closer job in 2011, is confident he’ll put this one behind him. He gave two hits and walked four, two of them intentionally, and pointed out the Reds didn’t make any solid contact.
“I’ve said time and time again, I feel like my stuff is good enough to compete with anybody in this league, and what happened today won’t change that,” Boggs said. “I’ll show up tomorrow feeling the same exact way.”
“Today was an awful day. I’m not going to hide from it, but it’s not going to change the way I approach being a part of this team.”
Brandon Phillips keyed the burst with a tiebreaking bloop double just inside the right-field line. Shin-Soo Choo made amends for two botched fly balls in center field by leading off the big inning with a walk and later delivering a three-run double.
Attendance of 47,375 was the largest for a regular-season game at 8-year-old Busch Stadium. The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game.
Phillips added his 150th career homer for the Reds, who have won six of seven since losing in extra innings to the Angels on opening day and totaled 11 or more hits the last four games. Jay Bruce had four hits and Chris Heisey doubled twice with an RBI.
Sam LeCure (1-0) pitched an inning for the win.
Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia matched his career best with 10 strikeouts in 62⁄3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead. Yadier Molina hit both of the fly balls dropped by Choo in the first and sixth, and added an RBI single.
Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul tied it in the eighth with an RBI single off Rosenthal before the Reds took off in the ninth with six hits, five walks and an error. The Cardinals last surrendered nine runs in the ninth in a 12-9 loss at Colorado July 6, 2010.
Choo entered the season with 652 games of outfield experience but only 10 in center, and all 155 games with the Indians last year as the right fielder. Two runs scored in the first when Choo twice juggled Molina’s fly ball after backtracking, and Matt Holliday scored from first to put the Cardinals up 4-2 in the sixth when the ball popped out on Choo, perhaps fighting the sun.
Garcia entered with a 2.48 career ERA at Busch, the stadium’s best, and his other 10-strikeout game was at home Aug. 19 against the Pirates.
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