Game Report: Brewers 12, Cardinals 5

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals were back home on Thursday night, well aware of the fact that for them to make a push to the playoffs they are going to have to win at least some games at Busch Stadium.

Maybe they can start on Friday night.

Another poor start by Jaime Garcia, continuing a recent trend of bad starts by their starting pitchers, put the Cardinals in a hole they could not escape – especially after the bullpen offered no relief.

Garcia lasted just 3 2/3 innings – the fourth consecutive game the Cardinals starter did not go past the fifth inning – and allowed five of Milwaukee’s runs.

The loss dropped the Cardinals to 30-38 at home this season. The 38 losses ties the team record for most losses at home since moving into Busch Stadium 3, set in 2007. There are 13 home games remaining in the regular season.

In seven of their last 12 home games since Aug. 6, their starter has allowed at least four runs and has allowed at least five in six of those starts.

Both the Giants and Mets had the day off on Thursday, meaning the loss left the Cardinals one game behind San Francisco and a half-game behind New York in the battle for the two wild-card playoff spots.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
The Cardinals scored on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Piscotty in the first, a two-run homer by Kolten Wong in the fourth, an RBI single by Jose Martinez in the eighth and an RBI groundout by Carson Kelly in the ninth … Martinez’s hit was his first in the majors, coming 10 years, 116 days after his first minor league hit in the Venezuelan Summer League … The hit ended an 0-for-34 streak by the Cardinals’ combined leftfielders over 10 games … Brandon Moss also singled in the eighth to end his 0-for-29 streak, the longest hitless streak of his career.

On the mound: Garcia gave up home runs on consecutive pitches in the second and allowed two more runs in the third and one in the fourth before he was finally pulled. He fell to 0-4 in his last four starts, during which he has allowed 18 runs on 28 hits in 20 2/3 innings, an ERA of 7.84 … Garcia has allowed 22 home runs this year, the most on the team … Mike Mayers, after pitching a perfect inning in relief in Pittsburgh, gave up six runs in one-plus inning in relief of Garcia, although three of the runs scored when Dean Kiekhefer was on the mound after Mayers had left the game … The 17 hits were the most allowed by the Cardinals at home this season.

Key stat: In 19 games since Aug. 19, Cardinals starters have combined for five wins. In their 51 games since the All-Star break, the team’s starters have combined for only 17 victories.

Of note:
It was the sixth time this season the Cardinals allowed 10 or more runs at home; from 2013 through 2015, they allowed double digits runs a total of seven times over those three seasons … The 12 runs by the Brewers were the most they had scored in a game in St. Louis since also scoring 12 on July 3, 2010 … Matt Holliday was back in St. Louis and able to grip a bat for the first time since suffering his broken thumb on Aug. 11 but is “still a long ways away” according to manager Mike Matheny … Trevor Rosenthal could throw live batting practice on Saturday as he also attempts to work his way back from the disabled list before the end of the season … Palm Beach manager Oliver Marmol has joined the Cardinals’ staff for the next several days after the end of his team’s season … The season also ended for the Peoria Chiefs on Thursday night as they were eliminated from the Midwest League playoffs with a 4-3 loss to Clinton. The potential tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

Looking ahead
: Carlos Martinez, who has two of the five wins by the team’s starters in the last 19 games, will get the start on Friday night while Jimmy Nelson pitches for the Brewers.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains