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Poncedeleon Shines in Cards Debut, Bullpen Falters in 2-1 Loss to Reds

Daniel Poncedeleon pitched brilliantly in his Major League debut, throwing seven no hit innings. The problem? The Cardinals bullpen. Cards closer Bud Norris allowed two runs in the ninth inning and the Reds stunned the Cards 2-1 on Monday night in Cincinnati.

Poncedeleon, who suffered a horrific head injury 14 months ago in a minor league game, was cool and calm in his debut. Poncedeleon threw 116 pitches, went seven innings, allowing no runs or no hits while he struck out three and walked three. Cardinals interim manager Mike Shildt pulled Poncedeleon after seven innings. Jordan Hicks pitched the eighth inning and surrendered the Reds first hit of the game on Phillip Ervin’s solid single to center with one out in the frame. Hicks completed the shutout inning and held the 1-0 lead. But Bud Norris, the Cardinals closer did anything but that. He allowed the game tying home run to Eugenio Suarez to tie the game at 1-1. Norris then loaded the bases, allowing two hits and a walk. Pinch hitter Dilson Herrera had the walk off single to center to win it for Cincinnati and make a loser of Norris (3-3).

The loss drops the Cardinals to the .500 mark on the season with a record of 50-50. They stand in fourth place in the National League Central division, a game and a half back of third place Pittsburgh. The Cards trail the first place Cubs by eight and a half games.