ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals played their first game this season after having been officially eliminated from the postseason. The combination of injuries and being out of contention gave their lineup some strong spring training split squad vibes.
Ultimately, a slow start by starting pitcher Zack Thompson proved too much for the Cardinals to overcome as they fell 8-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals (67-85) came into the night having played 1,991 games since the start of the 2011 season. They’d mathematically been in postseason contention for 1,988 of those games. Wednesday night marked the first time they’d played a game without a chance at making the playoffs since the final game of the 2018 season.
Thompson (5-7) gave up four runs on five hits, including a pair of home runs, and one walk in five innings. He also struck out four.
Cardinals reliever Jacob Barnes tossed two scoreless frames of relief, while Casey Lawrence allowed four runs in the final two innings.
Lars Nootbaar went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while Paul Goldschmidt (1-for-4) and Richie Palacios (1-for-4) each drove in runs. Jordan Walker went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
First-inning troubles for Thompson
Thompson came within one out of getting through the first inning without having allowed a run. He gave up a one-out double to the red-hot William Contreras, who entered the day having reached base safely in 27 of his previous 28 games. After Carlos Santana lined out for the second out of the inning, Thompson walked Will Adames to put a second runner on base.
Facing Brewers third baseman Josh Donaldson with runners on first and second, Thompson left a 1-1 pitch over the center of the plate and roughly chest high. Donaldson bashed the pitch 415 feet over the visiting bullpen and into the left-center field stands for a three-run home run.
That marked the second consecutive start where Thompson gave up a three-run home run with two outs in the first inning.
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