Coming into this game, the Cardinals had a magic number of 10. And after the Cardinals' win tonight, that magic number is down to...9.
9 < 10.
Jaime's pitches were just as fluttery and unreckonable as they've been all year. Here's his line:
- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K;
- 88 pitches, 55 strikes (8 swinging strikes);
- 10 ground balls, 5 fly balls (1 IFFB), 3 line drives.
A healthy Jaime Garcia is a wonderful pitcher, so don't take this for granted. The one run that scored off Garcia came in a ragged first inning; he was pretty much nails thereafter.
Cruz and Grichuk and Defense
The Cardinals' beautifully haired backup catcher will have his hands full for a while filling in for Yadi (of which, read more here). This game started out rough for Cruz and Jaime, with two events that were deemed wild pitches by the official scorer which I know in my heart were actually a result of Tony Cruz not being Yadier Molina.
The first wild pitch resulted in the runner at first (Jason Bourgeois, see below) taking second. While Bourgeois had a large secondary lead at first and might've taken off even if Yadi had been behind the plate, a very hard and quick throw would've gotten him at second. But nota bene please: Yadier Molina possesses a strong and quick throwing arm.
The second wild pitch resulted in Brandon Phillips (who had singled in Bourgeois to give the Reds a 1-0 lead) advancing to second uncontested. He didn't score, but still: keep the ball in front of you, Tony.
Meanwhile, you might recall a week or two ago when Mike Matheny committed a baseballing solecism by putting an injured Randal Grichuk in center field with instructions to just like not throw very far. Tonight, a more healed--but not a fully healed--Randal Grichuk started in left field.
Grichuk is a wizardy jaguar god. Look:
- On a single with fast runner Jason Bourgeois on second, Randal Grichuk deked him by totally nonchalantly tossing the ball back in to second, just completely deeming Bourgeois beneath his notice. Bourgeois responded to such magnificent unconcern by halting at third. Bourgeois would later score on Brandon Phillips' single, but the seed of hubris had been planted.
- With one out in the top of the sixth, Eugenio Suarez lined a hit out to Grichuk and, having seen Randal's unconcern earlier in the game, decided to test the young slugger's still injured arm by trying to take second all sneaky like. And he did! He took second. Grichuk's throw came in lazily to Wong at second, who threw the tag late--but Suarez's eagerness had led him to slide past the bag, and Wong already being right there at second with the the ball anyway, he just tagged Suarez out. Tagged him right out.
- Randal's chill unconcern was operative even after he was no longer the one physically standing in left field, as Todd Frazier discovered in the seventh inning to his detriment. After a leadoff single by Frazier and a popout by Jay Bruce, noted member of the Reds Adam Duvall flied out to left field--but lo! Grichuk had been removed between half-innings and replaced by starting first baseman Stephen Piscotty, who caught the can of corn and chucked it (*wink*) to second base, where Wong tagged him out.
Absolutely a stellar game out there for the crafty jaguar god Randal Grichuk (0-3 with a strikeout).
As you saw above or elsewhere, the Cardinals came back in this inning to take the lead forever. Here's how, with some light glossing thereupon:
- Thomas Pham hit a leadoff triple. - This inning featured a couple of really fast baserunners running the bases really fast, and Tommy was one. He doesn't have the breathtaking fleetness of Bourjos or the fast-twitch Buster Keaton-running-from-bears thing that Kozma does, but Pham does have a muscular sort of speed that is wonderful in its own way. Anyway, Pham hit this ball 110 MPH, which usually portends success.
- Jason Heyward grounded out to pitcher (to 2b). - This was the second-hardest hit of the inning (105 MPH) and would've tied the game if J.J. Hoover hadn't gotten a glove on the ball, diverting it just enough that it ended up within Phillips' reach at second. A game of inches, boy howdy.
- Jhonny Peralta singled to right, scoring Pham. - Peralta had two singles on the night, which isn't exactly hitting for the cycle but does, unfortunately, qualify as signs of life from Jhonny. Game tied, 1-1.
- Peter Bourjos replaced Peralta at first--this is one of the biggest baserunning upgrades possible in all of major league baseball.
- Stephen Piscotty doubled to deep left; Bourjos scored. 2-1 Cards. - Bourjos read this just right and scored shockingly easily. He ghosted around third and I swear it took him only five steps to reach home plate.
- Mark Reynolds fouled out to first (no data provided); Kolten Wong lined out to center (97 MPH, 343 feet).
- In the seventh inning, Mike Matheny outsmarted Reds manager Bryan Price: Matheny had Adams out on deck to face the Reds' lefthanded starter John Lamb--who pitched really well tonight, um, go over to Red Reporter for more on that--but Price ended up bringing in righthanded reliever Burke Badenhop BEFORE Adams' name was officially announced, thus allowing Matheny to insert Matt Holliday and save Adams for later.
- Holliday struck out, and boy was it not a sharp at-bat.
- Adams never entered the game.