Well that was awesome. That may have been the best win of the season, from a purely excitement standpoint. As fun as the dingers have been this year, I don't recall any huge comeback wins this year. At least not comeback wins that started in the 8th inning!
Adam Wainwright started tonight and he sure looked like the old Adam Wainwright. He struck out Travis Janikowski to begin the game and when he left the game, he had struck out seven other batters while giving none of them free passes. The reason he ended up giving up two runs was a matter of seven balls hit into play missing gloves while only eight found them. He had a .467 BABIP against tonight and it's not like it was hard contact either.
Unfortunately, Andrew Cashner - currently struggling through a tough, injury-riddled season, also looked like old Andrew Cashner. Old Andrew Cashner never approached Wainwright's greatness, but he was a pretty good pitcher. Maybe he wanted to make a good lasting impression to a team that traded Anthony Rizzo to get him? (He's likely to be traded before the deadline; Also; ouch) He traded zeroes with Wainwright through the first four innings. In fact, he was better. He didn't allow a single hitter to reach base.
Things changed for both pitchers in the 5th. Waiwnwright gave up three extra-base hits this inning - ok maybe some hard contact. Ryan Schimpf, who the Cardinals can't get out it seems, led off with a double. Alexei Ramirez - in the running for the worst position player in the MLB - drove him home with a single. How Wainwright can look so good against the other eight players, but allow two hits to Ramirez is something I'll never understand. Janikoswki hit him home with a double of his own, but was thrown out attempting to advance to third. It was a a Cardinal-esque baserunning mistake. Cashner - well he just had his perfect game ruined with a single by Yadier Molina. So he was still doing pretty good.
In the 6th, Greg Garcia led off with a leadoff ground-rule double. Matheny made the decision to perhaps take Wainwright out earlier than he could have - for what seems like the third or fourth straight game of him taking pitchers out early - but wasn't rewarded as Jeremy Hazelbaker struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance. After a groundout by Jedd Gyorko, things looked bleak, but they shouldn't have because Aledmys Diaz was up. Diaz, if you haven't heard, is pretty good. He singled him home for the first run.
Then a scary thing happened. Cashner hit Matt Holliday on the nose. Like directly on the nose.
July 22, 2016
Holliday somehow made it to first base and then walked into the dugout because come on now. You don't stay in the game after that. I'm sure Holliday would have if he could, but
July 22, 2016
So Cashner got taken out. Cashner was really angry about the decision, but to that I say: Don't hit people in the face! Hitting someone in the face seems like a perfectly valid reason to get removed from a game. With first and second, and a pitching change to bring in lefty Brad Hand, the Cardinals pinch-hit Stephen Piscotty for Matt Adams. He grounded out. Remember the name Stephen Piscotty. He becomes important in this plot.
After Wainwright left, the Cardinals sort of let things spiral. Matt Bowman didn't look good, but the first batter of the inning hit a flyball that Hazelbaker inexplicably missed. It either hit his wrist or the heel of his glove. Two runs ended up scoring in his rare bad outing. Miguel Socolovich replaced him and gave up a home run of his own. 5-1 Padres. Game over right?
In a redemption arc, Hazelbaker led off with a double in the 8th. Gyorko hit a single to drive him in. Diaz lined out to left field. Pinch-hitter Kolten Wong hit an opposite field double - KOLTEN WONG EXTRA BASE HIT ALERT - against a lefty! Wow. Anyway, that brought up Piscotty. Remember when I said he would be important? Well, he did the thing. The thing that a team losing 5-2 needs in order to win a baseball game. He homered. IT WAS AWESOME.
Jonathan Broxton came into the 9th and pitched a perfect ninth inning to the surprise of many. Then the Cardinals ran over Carlos Villanueva with a car. Tommy Pham doubled to lead off. Garcia was intentionally walked. Hazelbaker bunted them over only for Gyorko to be intentionally walked. Gee, putting yourself in a situation where you intentionally walk two guys in one inning seems less than ideal. Diaz was up to the plate. Villanueva got behind on the count. He threw a 2-0 breaking ball that fooled Diaz badly and then threw a 3-1 breaking ball that fooled Diaz badly. Naturally, he threw a straight fastball that Diaz lined into left for the win. CARDINALS WIN A ONE-RUN GAME! ALSO, SIX IS A SERIOUS NUMBER.
- Wainwright line: 6 IP, 8 Ks, 2 ER, 7 hits allowed
- Seriously that game was great. I have nothing else to add. SWEEP
Tomorrow the Cardinals begin a three-game weekend series against Wild Card threat Los Angeles Dodgers. Michael Wacha faces the perpetually injured Brandon McCarthy, who happens to be healthy at this moment. He's been good. It will be a tough series.