ST. LOUIS — The biggest Cardinals news from Tuesday was the decision to option struggling shortstop Paul DeJong to Memphis, the first time the former All-Star was not on the major-league roster in nearly five years.
DeJong, hitting just .130 after disappointing seasons in 2020 and 2021, is not the only player on the Cardinals who has not gotten off to a good start this year.
That was evident again on Tuesday night as the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium and lost the opener of a three-game series to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Cardinals were shut out on just two hits through the first five innings before Harrison Bader hit a two-run inside the park home run.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Bader’s homer, which took a crazy bounce off the wall in center, drove in Yadier Molina, who opened the inning with a double … The Cardinals had only one more hit until the ninth, when Brendan Donovan hit his first career homer. Donovan got the start at shortstop …. Juan Yepez was the DH again and extended his hitting streak to the first six games of his career with a single.
On the mound: With Adam Wainwright still in Covid protocol, and with the decision not to have Miles Mikolas pitch on regular rest, the Cardinals started Packy Naughton against the Orioles. He gave up two homers that produced the first three Baltimore runs, pitching 3 1/3 innings … Kodi Whitley and Nick Wittgren gave up the other runs.
Key stat: Bader’s homer was the first inside-the-park homer by the Cardinals since Fernando Vina in 2001 at Milwaukee and the first in St. Louis since Vince Coleman in 1985.
Worth noting: Wainwright is not expected to pitch on the homestand, which runs through Sunday … Not counting games when he was on rehab assignments, DeJong has not played a game in the minor leagues since June 14, 2017 … Kramer Robertson was brought up from Memphis to take his place on the roster, but his stay is likely to be brief. Edmundo Sosa played Tuesday in Springfield, collecting two hits, and could be activated as soon as Thursday … By starting at shortstop. Donovan became the first player in the majors since 1900 to have the first four starts of his career come at a different infield position.
Looking ahead: Mikolas, with the extra day of rest, is scheduled to start Wednesday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains