Game Report: Reds 15, Cardinals 2

By Rob Rains

Knowing they were beginning the final seven games of the season with a playoff spot at stake, the Cardinals went out Monday night and played their worst game of the year.

Jaime Garcia gave up two home runs in the first inning, and he got no relief help from Michael Wacha or Luke Weaver in the rout by the Reds at Busch Stadium.

The 15 runs and 22 hits were both the most the Cardinals have allowed in a game this season.

“That wasn’t good,” said manager Mike Matheny. “That wasn’t what we were looking for.”

The game began with the Cardinals already aware that the Mets, who lead the wild-card race, were losing 6-0 to the emotionally fired up Marlins in Miami. Instead of jumping on that opening, however, the Cardinals found themselves down 10-0 before they could get through the fourth inning against the 90-loss Reds.

The Cardinals remained 1 ½ games behind the Mets and now trail the Giants, who had the night off, by 1 game with six games left in the regular season.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate
: The Cardinals had only six hits as they scored two or fewer runs for the fourth time in their last five games. Stephen Piscotty tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yadier Molina in the fourth and Jhonny Peralta doubled and scored on a single by Jedd Gyorko in the fifth, which broke his 0-for-14 streak … Batting back to back with Brandon Moss, the hit broke a combined 0-for-35 streak between Gyorko and Moss … Moss’ streak reached 0-for-22 with an out in the seventh ... Jose Martinez’s single in the eighth gave him six hits in September, one more than Moss, in 59 fewer at-bats (73 to 14) … Molina hit third for only the fourth time in his career and the first time since June 8, 2014.

On the mound:
Garcia was pulled after the first inning, when he allowed the homers to Joey Votto and Adam Duvall. He has now allowed 26 runs, and nine homers, in the first inning in his 30 starts … Wacha allowed nine hits and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, and Weaver was charged with five runs in 2/3 of an inning as the Reds blew the game open with a seven-run fourth … Duvall added his second homer, a three-run shot, off Weaver in the fifth … It was the second time this year the Cardinals allowed four homers in a game at home, the other coming on Aug. 6 against the Braves … The 22 hits tied the second most allowed by the Cardinals in a game in the 11 years at Busch 3. The Astros had 23 hits on Sept. 20, 2007 and the Astros also had 22 hits on Aug. 3, 2010.

Key stat:
The Cardinals came into the game ranked 26th in the major leagues in runs scored in September; 22nd in batting average and 20th in home runs. The six hits left them with a team average of .237 so far this month, scoring an average of 3.79 runs.

Of note:
The 15 runs were the most scored by the Reds in a game in St. Louis since they scored 16 on July 19, 1979 and the 22 hits was their second-highest total ever in St. Louis, trailing only a 25-hit game in the second game of a doubleheader on June 24, 1917 … The streak of crowds of 40,000 or more at Busch came to an end after 240 consecutive games, with a crowd of 34,942. The last time the Cardinals drew less than 40,000 at home was on Sept. 24, 2013 … Aledmys Diaz flew from Chicago to Miami early Monday and spent the day with family and friends of Jose Fernandez, his childhood friend who was killed in a boating accident early Sunday. Diaz returned to St. Louis Monday night and was in the dugout in uniform during the game … Matt Holliday got a good report from a hand specialist on Monday and could resume taking batting practice in the next day or two in his attempt to see if he can play before the season ends on Sunday … Molina played his 141st game of the season, breaking his previous career high of 140 set in 2009 … The starting time for Saturday’s game against the Pirates has been changed from 3:15 p.m. to 12:05 p.m.

Looking ahead:
Adam Wainwright, who had his scheduled start pushed back a day, will start for the Cardinals on Tuesday night while Robert Stephenson is set to pitch for the Reds. The Mets will play the second game of their series in Miami and the Giants open a series at home against Colorado.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains