JUPITER, Fla. — The Cardinals had two chances to try to jump-start their struggling offense on Friday night, splitting the team in half for two games against the Astros.
The results, however, were still disappointing.
With six of their probable opening-day starters in the lineup for the game in Jupiter, the Cardinals generated just two runs on six hits, one a solo homer by Paul DeJong.
With the other two probable starters and three likely bench players in the lineup for the game in West Palm Beach, the Cardinals were no-hit through the first four innings by Forrest Whitley, ranked as the best pitching prospect in baseball, and were shut out on five hits.
The Cardinals have scored a combined four runs in their last five games.
Through their first 22 games this spring, the Cardinals are ranked last in the majors in runs (75) and in team batting average (.228).
Here is how the games broke down:
High: Adam Wainwright pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and was charged with two runs (one scoring after he left the game) in the game in Jupiter. He struck out five and retired 13 of the last 15 hitters he faced.
Low: Andrew Miller failed to retire any of the four batters he faced after relieving Wainwright, walking three in a row before giving up a single.
At the plate: The other RBI in the game in Jupiter came on an RBI single by Randy Arozarena … Dexter Fowler reached base twice, on a single and a walk, and stole a base … At West Palm Beach, the Cardinals were held to a double by Tyler O’Neill and four singles and were 1-of-10 with runners in scoring position. Combining the two game totals, they had just two hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position … Drew Robinson had two stolen bases.
On the mound: Miller’s wild streak led to a six-run sixth inning for the Astros as Ryan Meisinger followed him to the mound and gave up a grand slam to the first hitter he faced … Jordan Hicks gave up his first run of the spring as he walked two and gave up a hit in his one inning of work … Alex Reyes worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, but then stayed in to pitch the ninth and gave up a three-run homer … At West Palm Beach, Daniel Ponce de Leon struggled with his control, walking the bases loaded in the first inning and four total in his four innings. He also gave up a two-run homer to former Cardinal Aledmys Diaz … Chasen Shreve and Tyler Webb, battling to be the second left-hander in the bullpen, each gave up a run in relief.
Off the field: Astros manager A.J. Hinch was ejected by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after they got into a shouting match after Ponce de Leon had thrown one pitch in the bottom of the first inning … Francisco Pena is expected to catch on Saturday. He has been out since March 5 because of an oblique injury … Jedd Gyorko hopes to be able to play on Monday. He has been out since March 3 because of a calf injury.
Up next: The Cardinals will be back at West Palm Beach on Saturday to play the Nationals, facing Max Scherzer for the second time this spring. Austin Gomber will start for the Cardinals.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains