Game Report: Twins 6, Cardinals 0

By Rob Rains

After an eventual weekend filled with comebacks and extra-inning walk-off homers, the Cardinals could not solve a 23-year-old rookie making his second career start in the majors on Monday night.

They managed just three hits in six innings off Fernando Romero, who less than two years ago was pitching against the Cardinals’ Class A team in the Florida State League. He did not allow a runner past second base and struck out nine before the Twins bullpen completed the victory.

It was only the seventh shutout loss for the Cardinals in 169 interleague games at Busch Stadium, the first since a 1-0 loss to the Rangers in 2016.

The loss snapped the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Paul DeJong had three of the Cardinals’ four hits; a double in the second inning and singles in the fourth and ninth … Their other other hit was a third-inning single by Harrison Bader … DeJong’s double broke an 0-for-15 streak and was his first extra-base hit in 28 at-bats …Dexter Fowler just missed a home run in the first inning as Eddie Rosario made a leaping catch at the wall in front of the Twins’ bullpen … The Cardinals struck out 12 times in the game, three by Marcell Ozuna. Seven of the strikeouts came on called third strikes.

On the mound: The Twins put the leadoff hitter on base four times, and each time he came around to score … John Gant, making his first start in the majors this season, pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five … The Twins added their final two runs in the eighth off Ryan Sherriff, who gave up four hits and hit a batter in the inning, getting one out when a runner was thrown out at the plate … In the three games against the Cubs the Cardinals’ pitchers allowed a combined four hits in 29 at-bats with runners in scoring position; the Twins had four hits in 12 at-bats with a runner on second or third.

Key stat: Ozuna was 0-for-3 with a walk and has now had 71 at-bats in 18 games at Busch Stadium this year without a home run. His last homer came on April 12 at Cincinnati. He has now gone 77 at-bats and 83 plate appearances since that homer. The Cardinals’ season total of two homers out of the cleanup spot is tied for the second fewest in the major leagues with Pittsburgh, ahead of only the Mets, whose fourth-place hitters have homered once so far this season … The Cardinals fell to 2-7 in games when they did not hit a home run.

Worth noting: Adam Wainwright arrived back in the Cardinals’ clubhouse about two hours before Monday night’s game after driving back from Springfield, where he made a rehab start for the Double A Cardinals. Wainwright threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter and believes he is ready to step back into the Cardinals’ rotation, probably this weekend in San Diego. Wainwright threw 59 pitches, 45 for strikes. It was his first minor-league win since Sept. 5, 2005, when he won his 10th game that season for Memphis … Kolten Wong has started a gofundme page to raise money for victims of the volcano eruption in Hawaii, which is about 20 miles from his home. None of his relatives so far have had to evacuate their homes but the situation is still not under control Wong said … As expected the Cardinals optioned Mike Mayers to Memphis to open a roster spot for Gant. Mayers picked up the win with his three-inning performance on Sunday night. At least he got to miss Memphis’ eight-hour bus ride Monday from Nashville to Oklahoma City … First baseman Juan Yepez, who was leading the Midwest League with a .415 average, was promoted from Peoria to Palm Beach on Monday.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals and Twins will conclude the quick two-game series with a 12:15 p.m. game on Tuesday. Carlos Martinez will pitch against Jake Odorizzi, a native of Highland, Ill. The two teams will have another two-game series in Minnesota next week.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains