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Cardinals @ Dodgers recap 5.15 - Cards jump on Dodgers' 'pen to avoid sweep

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Yadi drives in the go-ahead runs in Sunday's game
Yadi drives in the go-ahead runs in Sunday's game
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers

7:05 p.m. CT 
Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, California
Mike Leake v. Alex Wood

Today's Lineups -

Around baseball and not baseball -

  • Pittsburgh edged Chicago 2-1 - MLB.com
  • Milwaukee over San Diego 3-2 - MLB.com
  • Cincinnati rocked Philadelphia 9-4 - MLB.com
  • Some hullabaloo in Arlington - MLB.com
  • The St. Louis Blues took game one of the Western Conference final over the Sharks 2-1 - NHL.com

Things we were looking for -

Some fun new things in the lineup today.  Aledmys Diaz moves up to the fifth spot in the order, and Matt Holliday to first makes a reappearance as Jeremy Hazelbaker gets a start in left field, trying to keep his spot on the big league roster after his pinch hit home run in the ninth last night.  Yadi takes a night off.  Instead of taking BP before the game tonight, the Cardinals took some extra infield.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Alex Wood made quick work of the Cards in the first, although Matt Carpenter sent a pitch all the way to the wall for a long loud out.

The second didn't provide any results, but was sorta fun.  Randal Grichuk struck out, but took 9 pitches to do it.  Diaz flared a base hit to right-center. Jeremy Hazelbaker broke three bats in his AB, which ended in a popup to second.  The first two he broke were his own, and the third was Eric Fryer's.

In the third, Carpenter tried a fly ball in the same place as he did in the first, but put just the extra bit of umph into it to knock it over the wall, just out of Puig's reach.  Stephen Piscotty gave a ball a ride out to the wall, but this time Joc Pederson made an impressive run-down and catch of a ball at the wall to end the inning.  Cardinals lead 1-0.

Wood pitched an easy 1-2-3 fourth.

Kolten Wong knocked a groundball single through into right with one out in the fifth.  He was stranded, though, with a groundout and strikeout of Fryer and Leake, respectively.

The Cards had something brewing in the sixth.  Carpenter walked on four straight pitches.  Piscotty worked a deep count, and reached base when a back-foot breaking ball broke into his back foot, and he was just able to check his swing.  Holliday slowed the momentum by hitting an easy double play ball, moving Carpenter to third, but upping the out count by 2.  Grichuk stopped the momentum with a harmless groundball to short.  It felt like a momentum shift in the game that the Cards were not able to capitalize on the situation.

That was it for Wood.  His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 92 pitches thrown.

Louis Coleman started out the seventh for the Dodgers.  He only threw two pitches.  The second one, a slider, Diaz was ready for and jumped on with that high velocity off the bat they talk about.  The missile came back and struck Coleman in the hip, and because it was hit so hard, it bounced over to Turner at third, who had time to collect it and throw Diaz out at first.  Coleman seemed to be ok, but was bound to be taken out of the game for matchup reasons anyway.  JP Howell checked in.  Jeremy Hazelbaker tried his hand at driving it up the middle.  This time, Howell got a glove on the line drive, and Turner rushed in to try to pull off yet another 1-5-3 putout, but Hazelbaker's speed put him on first without a throw.  Chase Utley made a nice diving play to retire Wong.  Joe Blanton came in to face pinch hitter Brandon Moss, who they elected to intentionally walk.  Yadier Molina pinch hit for Mike Leake, and came through big.  Yadi doubled into the right field corner, plating two.  They tried again at the intentional walk strategy, putting Carpenter on freely.  Piscotty made them pay again, singling to left and driving in Molina to go ahead by three.  Cardinals up 4-1.

Blanton came back out for the eighth.  It probably wasn't a great call.  Grichuk doubled into the right field corner, and then got to third on a heads up baserunning play on a (sort-of) passed ball.  Diaz worked a full count and drove Randal in with a deep fly ball to left-center.  That chased Blanton in favor of Adam Liberatore.  He fared better than his predecessor, retiring the two guys he faced.  Cards lead 5-1.

Liberatore came back for the ninth and had a pretty easy time of the three guys he faced in the frame.

Bottom halves -

Justin Turner picked up the first hit of the contest, a line-drive single to right.  Mike Leake got through the inning without any other incident, though.

In the second, Howie Kendrick reached on a fielding error by Carpenter, but Leake was able to to work around it.

Leake got a couple quick outs in the third, using his sinker to good success.  But then he threw one without good success - Corey Seager tied up the game by knocking one out to left field.  Game tied 1-1.

Adrian Gonzalez worked a walk to lead off the fourth.  Kendrick singled.  Yasiel Puig creamed a pitch way into deep center, on which Grichuk made a great play running all-out near the wall that saved two runs.  A nice play on a hot grounder at first by Holliday ended the threat.

Alex Wood showed well by smacking a good hard liner up the middle for a basehit to lead off the fifth for the Dodgers.  Holliday showed well by making a nice play on a slow grounder from Chase Utley, taking a chance by throwing to second and nabbing the lead runner.  With Seager up, Utley was feeling brave, and tried to steal second, but Eric Fryer was having none of that.  He made a great throw to catch the Dodger leadoff man.  Seager couldn't check his swing on strike three of the final out of the inning.

Leake kept on rolling through the sixth.  Gonzalez walked, but Leake did the groundball thing, and used it to doubleplay himself out of the inning.

Leake's final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 71 pitches thrown.

Jonathan Broxton took the seventh.  He had an 8-pitch battle with Puig, which ended in a groundout to short.  It was part of a good 1-2-3 for the big man.

Kevin Siegrist in the eighth.  Seager cut into the lead, smashing his second homer of the night quickly out of the yard.  Cards lead 5-2.

Trevor Rosenthal came in after his rough showing in his last outing.  His lead-off walk of Gonzalez prompted Seung Hwan Oh to start throwing in the 'pen.  When he went 3-1 on Grandal, I started to get pretty scared.  A couple foul balls later, Grandal swung through a fastball to ease my mind a little bit.  Finally, Rosenthal got the groundball double play he needed to notch his save and secure the win.  Cardinals win 5-2.

Final Notes -

  • This was one of the more entertaining games I've seen this year.  Good starting pitching on both sides, and a late surge by the Cardinals that's encouraging for upcoming games.

  • It's too bad Leake couldn't have gone further into the game.  He was pitching well and had plenty left in the tank.  The situation demanded, though, that the Cards bank some runs and that worked out well.

  • Fangraphs


  • Gamenotes: CardinalsDodgers

Looking ahead -

The Rockies of Colorado come to St. Louis for a 3-game set starting Tuesday.  Chad Bettis will be opposed by Jaime Garcia starting at 7:15 CT.