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Cardinals vs Reds recap: Wong grand slam backs Lynn's strong start

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In bases-loaded situations, Wong giveth, but Lynn taketh away.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals started a three-game set with the now Cueto-less Cincinnati Reds tonight in muggy St. Louis, and Lance Lynn out-pitched Raisel Iglesias because of one pitch that Kolten Wong hammered for his second career grand slam.

The Cardinals: 64-35.

Lance Lynn

As I said: muggy night in St. Louis--and that's just how Lance likes it! (No idea if this is true.)

His line:

  • 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K;
  • 114 pitches, 67 strikes, 12 swinging strikes;
  • 8 GB, 7 FB, 3 LD.
Lance pitched pretty well, though not spectacularly so. The few times he threw off-speed pitches, they looked awful--but as we know, Lance Lynn will live and die with his fastball. With his fastballs, I should say. He can cut them, bend them, give them run, throw them for called strikes or for swinging strikes.

He did all that tonight, and well. But his night basically comes down to two pitches.

The first was in the bottom of the third inning, with the bases loaded and one out and lefty Jay Bruce up to bat. After getting ahead 1-2, Lynn then spun a couple of terrible change-ups high and outside to bring the count full. After a foul ball, Lynn then threw this pitch:

If you were to guess the result of that pitch, what would you say? To me it looks like trouble--but what actually happened was a sac fly to Bourjos in center, scoring Brandon Phillips. 1-0 Reds. Bruce JUST missed a fat pitch, but maybe we should give some credit to Lynn and his thorny mixture of fastballs. Two-seamer, four-seamer, cutter, and other more esoteric fastballs whose names are unpronounceable--how do you know which one he's going to throw?

At any rate, Lynn induced an inning-ending double play from Brayan Pena in the next at-bat to accomplish a semi-Houdini.

The other inflection point came in Lynn's final inning, the seventh: two on, two out, Todd Frazier up representing the tying run--and again Lynn runs the count full, and again he throws a fastball:

I should mention that Yadier Molina left the game in the fifth because of what I assume was some combo of dehydration and accumulated head trauma, so that this pitch was received by the...beautifully haired Tony Cruz. And look at that--obviously it would be a ball, but this fastball started in the strike zone and ran back toward Frazier's hands, where all he could do was pop up weakly to Dan Johnson in foul territory.

Lead preserved, inning over. Well done, Lance.

You might notice that the Cardinals were winning 4-1 at this point, so let me show you how that happened.

Kolten Wong Hit A Grand Slam

So that's how that happened.

In the fourth inning, Yadier doubled to open the frame then Stephen Piscotty--who was absoLUTEly carved up on sliders in the second--singled on a slider to put runners at the corners. After Dan Johnson flied out to second, Bourjos was hit by a pitch, and Lance himself struck out, Wong came to the plate with two outs and the bases juiced.

In a full count, Raisel Iglesias threw this fastball:

Kolten Slam

The quote Indispensable Brooks Baseball site is down right now, otherwise I'd show you the pitch location more precisely, but the above photo is probably good enough that we can all agree that it was right down the middle. And by gar did Kolten Wong put a mighty swing on that ball, which landed far far away in the right-field stands. 4-1 Cards.

And that was that. Siegrist and Rosenthal closed out the win.

The Cardinals are good.

Notes:

  • Jason Heyward went 0-3 with a walk, but in the second he hit an absolute cracker right at second baseman Brandon Phillips for the third out: 109 mph off the bat, and Phillips honestly looked like he'd rather not catch it.
  • You might have noticed that before Wong hit his grand slam, Lynn was up with the bases loaded, which in my mind represented the least likely squeeze-bunt situation I could imagine: Lance Lynn, slow as molasses and a career -36 wRC+ hitter, up to bat with Yadi on third--Yadier Molina, he who looks at molasses and sighs enviously.
  • Billy Hamilton reached base twice--once on a hit, once by fielder's choice. In neither case did he steal, though the second time, when the aforementioned gorgeously-coiffed Tony Cruz was catching, he (Hamilton) did attempt a steal, but the pitch was fouled off.
  • Peter Bourjos was 0-1 but with two HBPs, both in the upper shoulder area--no word yet on whether it was on orders from Mike Matheny.
WPA graph:

Source: FanGraphs
The series continues tomorrow, the newly returned Jaime Garcia versus Mike Leake at 7:15 central.