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Marlins @ Cardinals recap 7.6: Cards fall to third place with an 8-4 Fish loss

Gonzalez, Greenwood, Motte, and the non-Adams-and-Wong-offense struggle the Cardinals right into third place.

Henderson Alvarez gives the Cards' offense the business
Henderson Alvarez gives the Cards' offense the business
Dilip Vishwanat

Miami Marlins @ St. Louis Cardinals

Henderson Alvarez (5-3, 2.33 ERA, 3.05 FIP) vs. Marco Gonzalez (0-1, 9.64 ERA, 6.75 FIP)
1:15 p.m. CT
Busch Stadium- St. Louis, Missouri

Today's Lineups

C. Yelich - LF Matt Carpenter - 3B
Ed Lucas - 2B Matt Holliday - LF
G. Stanton - RF Matt Adams - 1B
Casey McGehee - 3B Allen Craig - RF
Marcell Ozuna - CF Yadier Molina - C
Jeff Baker - 1B Oscar Taveras - CF
J. Saltalamacchia - C Kolten Wong - 2B
A. Hechavarria - SS Daniel Descalso - SS
H. Alvarez - RHP Marco Gonzales - LHP

Some News-

  • Rosenthal's closer role is safe, according to Matheny. STL Post Dispatch (Goold seems obsessed with this, for now)
  • Kolten Wong returns to the lineup today.  He's been hitting well in Memphis.  Shane Robinson was optioned to make room.  His shoulder injury "still lingers" some.
  • Joe Kelly will make another rehab start in Memphis today.
  • The Reds defeated the Brewers today 4-2
  • The Pirates defeated the Phillies 6-2
  • The Cubs lost to the Nationals 2-1

Against the opponent (before this game)-

all-time record (97-65)

2014 (1-1)

Today's game was the 163rd regular season bout between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins.  Their first 162-game "season" against the Fish was successful.  Hopefully the next 162 will be as well.

These teams last played on July 6 in 2012.  Joe Kelly allowed 4 runs, but good bullpen work by Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, and Edward Mujica were able to preserve a 5-4 win.  The offense was largely provided by a pinch-hit, two-run homer by Matt Adams in the seventh.

Things we were looking for-

In spants' series preview, she suggested that Giancarlo Stanton might be pretty good.  She backed up her hypothesis with stats, and so she swayed me.   She outlined the rest of their pretty good offense, highlighting Casey McGehee, Christian Yelich, Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marcell Ozuna, and Derick Dietrich.

And of today's starter,

Henderson Alvarez is having a career year. He's a low-to-mid 90s guy who doesn't strike anyone out. He also doesn't walk anybody or give up home runs. This year, Alvarez is throwing fewer fastballs and more changeups, and the approach seems to be working for him.

Things that happened-

Top Halves-

Marco Gonzalez had some struggles from the beginning.  Leadoff man Christian Yelich hit one to center field for a single.  Danny Mac thought that it was probably catchable, but Oscar played it on a hop.  Marco ended up giving up three more singles in the inning to Ed Lucas, Casey McGehee, and Marcell Ozuna.  He only coughed up one run, though, aided by a ground-ball double play off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

Marco continued struggling in the third.  He walked Stanton and Ozuna, which were sandwiched around a McGehee single.  No harm, no foul, though.  He was able to strand the bases loaded.

In the fourth, Marco's counterpart Henderson Alvarez legged out an infield single.  Wong played the ball a bit casually, allowing the inning to continue.  Yelich walked, but Gonzalez was able to limit more damage.

Stanton led off the fifth with a single.  Marco retired two on fly balls to center.  Then with the two outs, he walked the next two batters to load the bases.  Matheny had seen enough.  He called upon Seth Maness to get out of the inning.  He did so, inducing a groundout from Alvarez and stranding the bases loaded once again.

Marco Gonzalez' final line- 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 5 K, 109 Pitches thrown.

Greenwood took over in the sixth.  He was not good.  Alvarez led off with his second hit of the day, a little blooper.  Yelich singled. Lucas and Stanton flied out.  With first base open, the Cards elected to intentionally walk McGehee.  Ozuna and Baker clubbed back-to-back singles, plating three runs.  Marlins lead 4-0.

The seventh went a little better.  Greenwood only allowed a single- yet another to the Fish hurler, Mr. Alvarez.

Jason Motte pitched the eighth.  It was UGLY.  Stanton singled.  McGehee walked.  Ozuna grounded out, advancing the runners to second and third.  Baker singled, scoring Stanton.  Saltalamacchia three-run-homered to the Cardinals' bullpen.  Adeiny Hechavarria smacked a ground rule double.  Everything was hit hard.  When all was said and done at the end of the inning, Marlins lead 8-1.

Randy Choate worked a refreshing 1-2-3 ninth inning against the 2-3-4 batters.

Bottom Halves-

Matt Carpenter predictably led off the game with a walk, but was retired on a double-play grounder from Matt Holliday.  Matt Adams also ran out an infield single.

Alvarez settled in for the next few innings.  Through the sixth, Henderson allowed only four baserunners on three hits (Adams, Maness, Adams) and a HBP (Molina).  Besides Adams, Alvarez cut through the rest of the Cards' lineup like butter.

Maness hit for himself in the bottom of the fifth inning, but was replaced by Greenwood to start the sixth.  Huh?  Dan and Ricky pointed out that he's been used a lot lately, so he wasn't going to pitch much.  Why bat for himself, then?  Oh well.  He got a hit, I guess.

Finally, in the seventh, the Cardinals put one up on the board.  Kolten Wong whacked a dinger into the Cardinals' bullpen.  It was a blast.  Marlins lead 4-1.

The seventh was Alvarez' last inning.  His final line- 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 92 pitches thrown.

Kevin Gregg took over for him.  You could hear the collective sigh of relief from the Cards' bench.  They took advantage.  Peter Bourjos pinch-hit for Holliday in the eighth.  He doubled into the left field corner.  He came around to score on an Adams' ground-rule double.  Adams advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored when Craig grounded out.  Marlins lead 8-3

In the ninth, Dan Jennings came in to try to finish the game off for the Marlins.  Wong singled up the middle and scored when Daniel Descalso doubled him home.  That knocked Jennings out of the game in favor of Chris Hatcher.  He got a couple groundball outs from pinch-hitter Mark Ellis and Carpenter.  Bourjos singled because he's fast.  Matt Adams tried to get the 5-hit day, but instead he flied out to center to end the game.  Marlins win 8-4.

Final Notes-

  • Marco Gonzalez struggled.  There were times that he had hitters confused, and he was able to throw some pitches to get some swing-and-miss.  In general, though, his command issues translated into five walks, lots of hits, a high pitch count, and an early exit.  The silver lining is that he did all that and only allowed one run.  "Progress, I would say for Marco Gonzalez" - Rick Horton
  • Henderson Alvarez was outstanding.  He did a great job of painting corners and keeping Cardinal hitters off balance (excepting Adams).  spants' blurb in the preview proved to be pretty accurate.  He also went 3 for 4 at the plate!
  • Look at Matt Adams go!  4-5 on the day, but was also the last out of the game.
  • Look at Jason Motte and Nick Greenwood not go! Between them: 3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
  • Matt Carpenter made some pretty nice plays at third base today, probably saving the Cards from an even worse fate.
  • My favorite play in the game was when Yadi threw down to second base with Stanton going to second on ball four in the eighth.  "THOU SHALT ... oh. okay." - The Continental
  • Fangraphs stuff
  • Gamenotes: Cards unavailable; Marlins

Looking ahead-

Tune in tomorrow as the Pirates visit Busch Stadium.  Charlie Morton will be opposed by Adam Wainwright.  The action begins at 7:15 CT.