By HAL McCOY
Inexcusable. Unfathomable. Incomprehensible. The ultimate brain cramp.
What happened to Eugenio Suarez Friday night in Busch Stadium was something that shouldn’t happen to a college player or a high school player, let alone a major league player.
But the Cincinnati Reds third baseman was caught daydreaming on the basepath and it turned into a nightmare.
IT WAS A KEY SITUATION for the Reds in a game they eventually lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-5.
It was the sixth inning and the Reds trailed only by 3-1 when Devin Mesoraco drew a full count walk with two outs.
That filled the bases, temporarily. Suarez trotted from second to third on the walk. Then inexplicably he rounded third base and took two steps toward home.
Then he turned his back on home plate and stared toward left field. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina, still holding the ball after the walk, saw Suarez in a fog and fired the ball to third baseman Jedd Gyorko. He applied the tag on Suarez. Instead of bases loaded with two outs, the inning was over.
THEN IN THE BOTTOM OF the sixth the Cardinals scored three runs off starter Tim Adleman to seemingly put the game away.
And it became even bigger when the Reds scored four runs in the eighth inning to come from 7-1 behind to 7-5.
So the Reds lost for the ninth time in their last 10 games.
THE REDS TOOK A 1-0 lead when Scott Schebler hit his third home run in two days, a long blast in the second inning off St. Louis starter Lance Lynn.
The Cardinals scored three times in the third in an inning that began with third baseman Suarez drawing a throwing error on a ball that should have been handled by first baseman Joey Votto.
Kolten Wong quickly doubled for a run and Dexter Fowler lined a two-run home run to make it 3-1.
Gyorko homered with one out in the sixth, then came a walk and a single by Molina, ending Adleman’s night.
BLAKE WOOD TOOK OVER and Randal Grichuk singled for a run. After another walk pinch-hitter Matt Adams hit a deep, bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right for a 6-1 lead.
REDS MANAGER BRYAN Price made a slight adjustment in the lineup. Jose Peraza was given the day off and Zack Cozart was moved from seventh in the batting order to second.
It didn’t work.
Leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton had a hit, but he also struck out twice and has whiffed eight times in his last 19 at bats.
After the Clydesdales were already out of the barn, the Reds scored their four runs in the eighth, started with a single by Cozart and Joey Votto’s eighth home run.
With runners in scoring position, it is a sad story recently. In their last four games, all losses, they are 5 for 37 and 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position.
They were 0 for 20 until Scooter Gennett’s two-run double in the eighth that drew the Reds to within 7-5.
Hamilton came to bat in the eighth with two on and two outs and popped up the first pitch thrown by St. Louis closer Seung Hwan Oh.
Oh then quickly and silently put down the heart of the Reds order in the ninth — ground ball by Cozart, called strike three on Votto, which he disputed, and pop out by Adam (0 for 5) Duvall.
Catcher Devin Mesoraco, almost a year to the day since he last played a game for the Reds, returned to the lineup Friday.
He struck out with two on base in his first at bat, then drew the walk on which Suarez was picked off third base, and singled.