The Cleveland Guardians were unable to protect a 2-1 lead late in the game Tuesday night, falling to the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-2, in an unexpected pitcher’s duel.
St. Louis starting pitcher Adam Wainwright, who dominated Cleveland the last time these two teams met, bested the Guardians yet again. He kept them off balance with his curveball and sinker, limiting them to four hits and two earned runs over seven innings of his work. His only mistake was a home run pitch to José Ramírez in the fourth inning, which allowed Cleveland to take a 2-1 lead. Wainwright finished the night with eight strikeouts.
Cal Quantrill extended the most impressive stretch of his career as a starter for the Guardians. Against the Cardinals, he surrendered four hits, one walk, and one earned run over six innings, striking out five. In his last three starts combined, Quantrill has pitched 17 innings and allowed 12 hits, six walks, and three earned run over that stretch. His only blemish Tuesday night was a solo home run by Harrison Bader, who went deep on a four-seam fastball to lead off the third inning.
Quantrill even managed to survive a scare the third time through the order. Clinging to a 2-1 lead and facing the top of the order in the sixth inning, Quantrill loaded the bases with one out after back-to-back singles and a walk. He managed to field an infield chopper from Tyler O’Neill to get the force out at home before Yadier Molina lined out to left field to end the inning.
But his efforts would be for naught, as Bryan Shaw coughed up the lead the following inning. After Cleveland caught a break when Tommy Edman was thrown out trying to advance to third base on a leadoff double to the gap in left-center, Shaw allowed a two-out single to Matt Carpenter and then served up an absolute meatball to Paul DeJong on a hanging slider. That unfortunate pitch ended up on the home run porch, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead.
As if a one-run deficit wasn’t already insurmountable for the Guardians’ anemic offense, Phil Maton decided to secure an insurance run for St. Louis in the ninth inning. After giving up a two-out double to Bader, Maton walked the next three batters to force in another run and bring Paul Goldschmidt to the plate. Nick Wittgren, fresh off a disastrous outing against Tampa Bay in his last appearance, took over and struck out Goldschmidt to end the inning.
Cleveland was held scoreless over the final five frames.
The Guardians have now lost six of their last eight games.