Today Our Cardinals sent birthday boy Lance Lynn (3.82 ERA, 2.44 FIP, 3.00 xFIP) for a late afternoon showdown against Carlos Carrasco (4.71 ERA, 3.01 FIP, 2.62 xFIP) and the Cleveland Indians. (A 5:00 pm start is just too darned early to be considered "evening").
This is the first time the Cardinals have visited Cleveland since 2009. About that...
h/t: Elyasaf Munk
Cleveland has gotten off to a slow start. They were 11 - 19 at the start of the day and in last place in the AL Central. They're currently without their excellent young catcher Yan Gomes.
Tonight was also the return of our dearly missed
leadoff batter spirit animal Matt Carpenter. In other batting news, Jon Jay was out of the lineup nursing a thumb injury. Mark Reynolds slotted in as the designated hitter, since they change the rules in the other league.
In a cool and blustery
Jacobs Progressive Field, Lynn kept the lefty-heavy Indians lineup at bay for 6 innings. Lance struckout 9 on the night, and he used several of these to get out of jams.
For instance, in the 1st after Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley reached with singles, he was able to K both Brandon Moss and Nick Swisher to escape the inning without damage.
Similarly in the 3rd, after Jason Kipnis doubled over Peter Bourjos in center, Lynn victimized Santana with another strikeout. An unintentional intentional pass put Brantely on and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. but Moss would suffer his second strikeout of the night to strand the runners.
And in the 5th Lynn had a bit of trouble finding the zone, issuing walks to Jose Ramirez and Kipnis. Santana singled to load the bases. The unflappable Lynn then proceeded to strike out Brantley then Moss to strand the bases loaded and roar in triumph.
Thankfully, the 'birds had built some run support by this point. In the 2nd Jhonny Peralta hit an infield single off Carrasco's foot. Yadier Molina followed up by lofting a single into right. Jason Heyward grounded out but both runners advanced. Mark Reynolds served another single into right, scoring Peralta easily and Yadi a little more diffucultly as he forced the issue with a safe slide at home. 2 - 0 Cardinals
In the 5th singles by Reynolds and Bourjos set up a nice scoring chance. Sadly, Kolten Wong popped up his bunt attempt (bunt attempt? c'mon) and Matt Carpenter struck out (yes you read that right). However, Matt Holliday's base knock salvaged the inning driving in Reynolds. 3 - 0 Birdos
In the 7th Matt Carpenter did his Matt Carpenter thing, that thing being hitting doubles. Peralta hit a double of his own to drive The Grinder home. Former Card Marc Rzepczynski was brought in to face Adams who singled (finally) and somehow, someway stole second. 4 - 0 Cards
No other pitcher had more than 6 strikeouts vs Cleveland this season. Lance Lynn has 9. #STLcards— Tim Trokey (@tim_trokey) May 13, 2015
Lynn's line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 9 K, 118 pitches
But this is where things get a little touch and go. Matt Belisle spells Lynn in the 7th. Ramirez dumps a single into center and a Kipnis double scores him. After getting Santana to K, it's Randy Choate's turn. Choate gave up a double to Brantley which scored Kipnis. Ryan Raburn pinch hit for the befuddled Moss and Matheny chose Kevin Siegrist to face him. He also smacked a double which scored Brantley, and now it's a close 4 -3 ballgame. David Murphy grounds out Adams, who makes nice play at first to get him.
The Cardinals were able to salt away the game in the 8th. After Heyward drew a walk, Bourjos hit a chopper up the middle to reliever Bryan Shaw. It deflected straight up off his glove which he barehanded then threw to shortstop Ramierz covering second. Jose was unable to handle the throw and everyone was safe. Nick Hagadone relieved Shaw and was able to strike out Wong. Then Matty Carp capped off his fine return with a run scoring single, giving the Cardinals a bit of breathing room. But Matt Holliday would break this whole thing open with his 3 run bomb to right. 8 - 3 Cardinals!
Miguel Socolovich took care of the last 1.2 innings and that would do it.
Shout out to the nice folks from Let's Go Tribe that stopped by the game thread to help us all learn a little more about this Indians team we so rarely see.
Tomorrow "night" it's game 2 of this series. Irascible curmudgeon John Lackey (3.20 ERA, 3.15 FIP, 3.83 xFIP) will take on the Indians' Cy Young winning staff ace Corey Kluber (5.04 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 3.15 xFIP). First pitch will be happening right as you get off of work, so tune in to KMOX or your local Cardinals radio affiliate at around 5:10 pm Central to listen during your drive home.