ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane McClanahan threw eight excellent innings to win his fifth straight start and the Tampa Bay Rays ended a three-game win over the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-1 win on Thursday.
Ji-Man Choi hit a homer in two runs as the Rays hit a season-high 11-game over .500.
McClanahan (7-2) allowed an unearned run, two hits, walked one and knocked out nine. The left-hander, who leads the majors with 98 strikeouts, has given up just five runs over 40 innings in his last six starts.
“I think he’s sorting himself into a category here for two months — a pretty special category,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
It was the first time McClanahan hit the eighth inning.
Jason Adam worked on the ninth to get to his second save
Miles Mikolas (4-4) had a full game eight innings, allowing three hits and knocking out nine.
The right-hander became the first St. Louis pitcher to have a full game and lose to Philadelphia since Adam Wainwright on April 26, 2021.
“I thought Miles actually outdid him if you ask me, but Shane has something for you,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He (McClanahan) has electrical stuff. He’s done phenomenal work. Miles did a really good job too. That was a plus there.”
Marmol said the Cardinals hit six or seven balls aimed directly at people at over 100 miles per hour.
“The guys behind me made a lot of great games,” McClanahan said. “I owe them a lot of success.”
With both pitchers under control, the game was played at Tropicana Field in 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Mikolas pulled his first nine batters back to just 27 pitches before running into trouble during the fourth.
Kevin Kiermaier had a leadoff single and scored on Choi’s one-out homer that made it 2-0. Choi has a nine-game winning streak and has raced around the track in 10 runs.
The Cardinals drew 2-1 in the sixth after a McClanahan error.
Paul Goldschmidt extended his career-best on-base streak to 45 games with a two-out walk and finished second when Nolan Arenado scored the Cardinals’ second hit.
Albert Pujols hit a soft comebacker that McClanahan couldn’t catch with his bare hands. McClanahan recovered but made a faulty shot that allowed Goldschmidt to score.
“I just rushed it,” McClanahan said. “I knocked it over, my momentum carried me in one direction and I figured I didn’t have as much time as I had and just rushed the throw.”
Pujols canceled his 1st, 374th extra base hit in second when Rays second baseman Vidal Bruján overran his pop fly in flat right field for a double. Pujols is now three extra base hits away from tying the Cardinals’ great Stan Musial for third place on the all-time MLB list.
The Rays played a video tribute ahead of the third game peak honoring St. Louis stars Yadier Molina and Pujols, both of whom are retiring after this season.
“I think both meant a lot to the game,” Cash said. “You’re amazed at their careers. Look at Yadier Molina (39) and Albert Pujols (42), the ages they have held up to be able to compete at his level is still remarkable.”
Both jumped over the railing of the third base dugout after the video to get a standing ovation.
Cardinals: Outfielder Dylan Carlson (left hamstring) could rejoin the team Friday.
Rays: Reliever Andrew Kittredge has been transferred to 15-day IL and is expected to have surgery to remove a loose body in his right elbow.
Cardinals: Right-hander Andre Pallante (1-0) meets Cincinnati right-back Luis Castillo (1-3) in St. Louis on Friday night.
BEAM: Righty Drew Rasmussen (5-2) and Minnesota left-hander Devin Smeltzer (2-0) are Friday night’s starters at Target Field.