Sweeping a series is hard. Last season, the Cardinals swept a 3 or 4 game series 6 times, while losing the final game of a potential sweep 8 times. Today, Joe Kelly would try to deliver the Cardinals' first sweep of the season in their first chance.
The game started out as a ground ball battle as both Wily Peralta and Joe Kelly were inducing a lot weak contact. Kelly looked just about as good as he ever has.
A Matt Adams error in the bottom of the third on a Logan Schafer grounder set up the Brewers' first run of the day. Carlos Gomez's ridiculous cartoon swing lined a double to right CF, rather than providing the cool breezes (and strikeouts) it had been for most of the series.
Both pitchers continued to be in control until the bottom of the fifth, when Kelly would attempt to leg out a two-out bunt attempt. Machine Gun grabbed at the back of his thigh after being thrown out at first, a sure sign of hamstring trouble. He would be forced to relinquish the game to the bullpen.
As of now, "hamstring tightness" seems to be the word.
Joe Kelly left today’s game with left hamstring tightness. #STLCards— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 16, 2014
Joe Kelly headed back to St. Louis tomorrow to have hamstring injury evaluated. If he misses next start (Monday), expect Lyons to fill in.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) April 16, 2014
Seth Maness was brought in to fill the gap. After getting his first two batters, Wily Peralta would sting one off Jhonny Peralta's glove. Initially ruled a hit, it would later be ruled an error. After the misplay, the floodgates would open and 3 runs would score on a walk and 3 singles.
Despite allowing a solo homer to Allen Craig, Wily Peralta would continue to cruise until lifted in the 7th when Matt Carpenter was brought up to pinch-hit.
Keith Butler, working a quick 7th, would get into trouble in the 8th, loading the bases on a single, HBP, then a walk without recording an out. Pat Neshek worked out of the jam about as well as could be expected, allowing only one run across.
The Birdos would threaten a bit in the 9th, but Francisco Rodriguez got out of trouble and locked up the game.
The good news: Craig is starting to look a little better at the plate.
The bad news: It might be a while before Joe Kelly dances again.