It’s a familiar storyline as the St. Louis Cardinals were unable to capitalize on their offensive opportunities and lost 3-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

“Yeah, putting together some good at-bats at times, just can’t get that big hit,” said Mike Matheny afterward. “Games like this, that’s usually the deciding factor.”

It was the 22nd loss of the season by one run for the Cardinals (17-22). Only the Philadelphia Phillies (14-27) have lost more one run games.

“You need that big hit,” continued Matheny. “It’s not necessarily the situational hitting, it’s just getting us into that spot where somebody needs to get hot and come through and kind of change the whole momentum.”

The Cardinals have a number of players who have been productive since the All-Star break:

Tommy Pham entered the night hitting .356 (26-73) with 3 HRs and 12 RBIs.

Yadier Molina has hit .313 (20-64) with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs in that same span while Matt Carpenter began the night at .303 (20-66) with a .370 OBP.

But getting those hits in the same inning hasn’t been so easy of late.

And despite being named the NL Rookie of the Month for July, Paul DeJong had a 0-16 streak going before he snapped it with a pair of hits tonight. Also, Jedd Gyorko (.171, 20 Ks) and Stephen Piscotty (1-16) have continued to have rough stretches of late.

“We’re a hit away basically–that’s kind of been our thing for a while,” echoed Kolten Wong. “We’re just one hit away from turning things around. It’s frustrating. I think we’re all kind of mad at the situation knowing that we can all do better. We’re all coming in early, guys are doing unorthodox things trying to figure it out. It’s just frustrating for us. We’re trying as much as we can to figure it out and we’re just losing these close games by a matter of inches it seems like.”

As has been the case in many games this season, the Cardinals again put the tying and go-ahead run on base late–only to come short in getting it across the plate. Late inning victories have been scarce as the team is now 2-45 when trailing after 8 innings of play.

Sometimes trying to do too much can get in the way of progress. Too many swings, too many changes or adjustments instead of just sticking to the initial process or mechanics.

“Yeah, I think so–but that’s not the case here,” said Wong. “I think everybody’s coming in because we know we can do better. We’re all pushing, we’re all fighting because we know we can do better. For some reason, things just aren’t clicking. And haven’t clicked all year for us and still haven’t. So we’re just grinding, waiting for that time for things to kind of come together and then try to make a run at this thing.”

“Even though we’re losing and not really putting it together with the way we want to, I think guys are still trying to play the game hard so you can’t fault us for anything like that,” said Mike Leake, who drove in an run but also took the loss against his former team.