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Cardinals at Rockies Recap: Cards win at Coors behind Martinez, Grichuk

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El Gallo overcomes the thin Colorado air, while Grichuk masters it, as Cards pull within a game of Mets and even with Giants.

El Gallo para siempre.
El Gallo para siempre.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Let's cut to the chase:

The Cardinals won.

How did the wild-card leading Mets and their starting pitcher Noah SynderGod do against the lowly lowly Braves tonight? THEY LOST 7-3.

And how did the Giants--one game ahead of the Cards at the start of the day--do against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers? THEY'RE WINNING 1-0 IN THE 9TH. [UPDATE: GIANTS LOST 2-1] [!!!]

With the Cardinals' win, then, St. Louis has pulled within a game of the Mets and are even with the Giants.

[UPDATE: Hot damn]

Carlos Martinez

Aqui estuvo la linea de El Gallo:

  • 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 magnificent wild pitch;
  • 102 pitches (67 strikes, 8 swinging), 9 ground balls, 3 fly balls, 2 line drives

Tsunami's night began very not auspiciously, as it took him 35 pitches and two walks to make it through the first inning, giving up one run. 1-0 Rockies.

What was interesting right from the first inning was that he seemed to be throwing much harder than he did in his previous start, when he obviously dialed it back to try to gain command and movement. My thinking is that, since Coors flattens movement but doesn't affect velocity, it made a lot of sense to rare back and throw 98mph fastballs over and over. It'd be neat to hear from him or Yadi if that was intentional.

You see his line up there, so you know he gave up another run. He was pretty good, considering Coors. But this is the National League so you KNOW Carlos went up to bat a couple of times, right? Are you curious how he did?

He had an eventful night!

  • 1st at-bat: Carlos was hit by a pitch, a fastball from the Rox starter Tim Anderson (who pitched pretty well--7 IP, 7 K, 0 BB, but 8 hits, including Randal's two-run go-ahead dinger, which: 2-1 Cards);
  • As I was saying, Carlos was hit in his left calf or shin, which apparently sounds way worse than it was, because he stayed in the game instead of on the ground howling and grinding dirt into his eyes, which is how I personally would deal with getting a fastball straight to my shin.
  • Less than a minute after finally arriving at first base, he was able to avoid the spinning maple shards that Matt Carpenter sent into his basepath on a broken-bat single. El Gallo didn't even look down, he just kind of danced over them as he ran to second. Carlos Martinez is the damn best.
  • 2nd at-bat: After Jedd Gyorko singled with two outs and Randal reached on a rare-as-hen's-teeth error from Nolan Arenado, Carlos drove in two runs on a double to left. 4-2 Cards.
  • Carpenter singled Martinez home a minute later: 5-2 Cards.
  • After racing home to score, El Gallo looked real real tired, and it was scary for a second! He obviously finished five innings and everything is fine, but the man was BEAT:

You are the best, Carlos. Never change.

Taters and Tootblans

As I said, in the third inning Randal Tha God hit a clutch and majestic two-run homer to bring the Cards from one run down to one run up:

Randal:

(I'm not sure it was actually either clutch or majestic, but my emotions are high tonight and definitions are getting fuzzy.)

That was good! It's Coors though, and more runs are always welcome.

Perhaps that was third-base coach Chris Maloney's thinking in the fifth inning when he sent Yadier Molina home on a Jhonny Peralta double. "Let's be aggressive out there and get another run!" he probably thought. "It's Coors!"

THAT'S ALL WELL AND GOOD, but that run was instantiated by Yadier Molina, the only person on the Cardinals that Bill DeWitt could beat in a foot race. And so you know what happened: the Rockies made clean throws and the ball beat Yadi to the plate.

My experience was something like this:

  • Rockies catcher receives throw;
  • I curse, make no-knead bread, eat it;
  • Yadi arrives at home and is tagged out, inning ends.

I mean just look at how far away Yadi was:

That run would've been nice, but surely the St. Louis relief pitchers can shut down Colorado without any undue drama...

Ninth Inning

Not quite.

Kevin Siegrist came in to close the game out for Seung-Hwan Oh, who had pitched...a lot lately. After getting Dan Descalso to fly out, Kevin allowed a homer to Ryan Raburn, and then a single and a nasty strikeout and walk, to bring Nolan Arenado to the plate as the winning run.

It was tense, and the tension drove Carlos (but not Alex) batty:

With two strikes--and two outs--and two on base--and the Cards up two--Siegrist threw an 85-mph slider to Arenado...in this location:

That was not where any of us wanted that pitch to go, because what we feared would happen did, basically: Arenado turned it into a 107-mph screamer that went 336 feet and about 15 feet high--but luckily, luckily, it screamed itself right at left fielder Brandon Moss, for the final out of the game.

Cards win, 5-3.

Notes:

There were a lot of shots of Matt Holliday looking heroically in-shape in the dugout, so let's talk about him for a sec. Apparently Holliday's surgically repaired thumb still swells up a lot after he takes batting practice; this is unfortunately reason enough for him not to play baseball games right now. But with each BP session, the hope is that his thumb responds better and better, till soon he'll be able to pinch hit or even start. That's good news, of course, though he better hustle.

Holliday is old, and his time with the Cardinals could be drawing to a close, and that is bittersweet to me. Time is the beast that hunts us all, some Star Trek villain once said.

But while Holliday is not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, damn if he can't still destroy a batting-practice baseball:

"This is real, we're not joking." Though much is taken, much abides...

  • Things Al Hrabosky and Dan Mclaughlin said about Daniel Descalso: "I always thought he was a great player." "Now that he has a new child, he's a home-run hitter. He's got that papa power." And [say it with me!] "He plays the game the right way."
  • After Randal's homer, Al said: "That's   why   we   like   Grichuk." Respect.
  • Piscotty is still scuffling, though he did get a seeing-eye single to end up 1-4 on the night.
  • Walt Weiss (Rockies manager) had his damn pitcher hit with two outs in the sixth, a man on second, down three runs. And damned if Matt Bowman didn't walk him! (Zach Duke came in to get Charlie Blackmon to fly out and end the inning.) (Still.)
Fangraphs:



The series continues tomorrow at 7:40 central, Adam Wainwright versus lefty Jorge de la Rosa.