Comeback Falls Short As Cardinals Get Swept

Jul 1, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez (38) reacts he threw the ball home and Atlanta Braves left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. (not pictured) scored during the sixth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Pham showed little emotion crossing home plate after his three-run home run in the seventh inning. He looked determined to help his team come back from a six-run deficit.

His 13th round-tripper of the season cut the Braves lead to just 6-5 with a couple innings left. Two pitching changes followed, and the Cardinals couldn’t summon a baserunner in the final two frames.

Pham went 2-4, snapping out of a recent 0-31 slump. Filling in for Yadier Molina on a rest day, Francisco Peña delivered a two-RBI single to kickstart the Cardinals scoring in the seventh.

Sunday afternoon’s loss completed Atlanta’s sweep of the Cardinals, marking the second time St. Louis has gotten swept in a three-game series this year — the last time coming in late April to the Pittsburgh Pirates. It’s the first time they’ve gotten swept in any variety at home.

The blame for this can be put on the Cardinals’ bats getting going too late. St. Louis scored its runs in Friday and Saturday’s losses in the ninth inning, and all five of Sunday’s runs in the seventh.

The Cardinals lineup didn’t score in the other 24 innings played, hitting a cumulated 8-for-76 (.105).

Although credited for four earned runs Sunday, starter John Gant threw the ball with conviction and showed phenomenal composure throughout. He allowed four hits in 5 1/3 innings, as his mix of a 12-6 curveball and tailing fastball kept hitters off balance.

Gant showed his composure after giving up a two-out RBI double to Charlie Culberson in the second inning. Michael Wacha’s temporary replacement didn’t surrender a hit until Ozzie Albies’ leadoff single in the sixth. Freeman came up next, and a strong, two-hit outing ended up looking worse than it really was.

The Cardinals start a nine-game road trip Monday in Arizona. Carlos Martínez (4-4, 3.22 ERA) will face the Diamondbacks and Robbie Ray (3-0, 4.01 ERA) at 8:40 p.m. Monday at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ.

Jack Parodi covers the St. Louis Cardinals for 590 The Fan and you can find him on Twitter @jack_parodi.