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Cardinals @ Padres 4.23.16 Recap: Long Ball Aids Redbirds in 11-2 Victory

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Three home runs + Aledmys Diaz = Cardinals Win

Hit home runs all day.
Hit home runs all day.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego, they say, suppresses the ball
You hit it so hard - but just short of the wall
Tonight that was changed
The Cardinals, they reigned
As into the seats we saw three home runs fall

The Game

So, when this game was 2-1 Padres, I really did not expect it to end the way that it did.  This is actually a really hard game to recap, because the first half was like a completely different game than the second half.  There's nowhere to start but at the beginning, I suppose.

Initial thoughts: why is Kolten Wong leading off?  Oh, Matt Carpenter is getting a day off, okay.  But...why is KOLTEN WONG (he of the career .303 OBP) leading off?!?!  I had lots of things to be annoyed about early on in this game. Okay IHB, you're saying right now, who would YOU have leading off? Um, I don't know, how about almost anyone else?  Stephen Piscotty would have been a better choice.  Matt Holliday would have been a better choice.  Okay, so I guess that's it.  On second thought, I guess Wong wasn't the worst choice ever.  Our team has a pretty bad OBP, you guys.  The real question is, why did I spend an entire paragraph writing about this small thing that really didn't matter at the end of the day?  The answer is: red wine.

Anyway, not much happened over the first few innings.  Michael Wacha got the start, and his final line is going to look a hell of a lot better than what happened on the field.  The entire time he was in the game, I felt like we were seconds away from the Padres blowing it wide open.  The Padres scored in the first on a Matt Kemp ground rule double followed by a hit and a sacrifice fly.  The hit by Kemp was smoked.  In the second, two Padres sent deep fly balls to the warning track that likely would have been home runs in most other ballparks.  The first - off the bat of Alexei Ramirez - even fooled the camera man.  I was already swearing at the TV when suddenly Matt Holliday was standing there, all like uh, is this what you were worried about?

Wong again proved that his early season errors were flukes, making an awesome play on a hard hit ball from Kemp, WHILE SPINNING.

More non-things happened over the next few innings, but they aren't important, really.  Things got interesting in the sixth inning.  Stephen Piscotty hit a solo home run to tie the game 1-1.  With the heart of the Padres' order coming up in the bottom of the sixth, I expected Wacha to be on a short hook.  I was wrong to think that, I guess.  Kemp hit a leadoff double, Melvin Upton, Jr. followed with a walk.  Surely, that's the end of the road for Wacha, yes?  Nope!  After a Brett Wallace ground out, Wacha intentionally walked Derek Norris to load the bases.  Seung Oh was warming up in the bullpen, but there he stayed.  Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to give the Padres a 2-1 lead, and Wacha somehow got out of the inning by getting Jemile Weeks to ground out.

In the seventh, Yadier Molina walked, Aledmys Diaz legged out an infield single, and Matt Carpenter came in to pinch hit.  The moment felt somewhat reminiscent of peak Albert Pujols coming to the plate in a late and close game - you kind of just knew something special was going to happen.  Even down to an 0-2 count, I thought to myself, nah, Matt Carpenter is here to save us all. And sure enough, he hit a line drive up the middle to tie the game.

Jeremy Hazelbaker broke an 0-17 streak with a three-run home run to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead and we never looked back.  After base hits from Moss and Molina, Jedd Gyorko hit another three-run home run - an absolute BLAST into the middle decks.  I guess he got booed last night, which seems ridiculous to me, so I bet that home run felt nice.

The good guys scored again in the ninth inning, after hits from Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Gyorko, and Diaz.  Matt Bowman finished the game out.  Cardinals win, 11-2

Notes

1. Aledmys Diaz was 5-5 tonight with two doubles.  Repeat after me: this man should be the starting shortstop.

2. Seung Oh is basically unhittable.  He pitched one inning and struck out the side.  His fastball is 92 mph but it looks 100 mph, somehow.

3. Wacha didn't strike out anyone tonight.  And he walked four.  He wasn't good.  He gets the win because (repeat after me) pitcher wins are stupid.

4. According to Jim Edmonds, "everyone is always hungry."  This man speaks the truth.  This was the first game I have watched with Edmonds in the booth.  I really enjoyed it.  The Dan and Jim combo is good tier baseball announcing.

5. The Cubs lost tonight, so we gained a game on the small bears.  I know it's far too early to be scoreboard watching.  Let me have this.

6. The rubber game of the series starts at 3:40 CT tomorrow.  Mike Leake is pitching.  Try not to let your boredom get in the way of watching what should otherwise be a good game!