Carlos Martinez has clearly been the best Cardinals starter this year by RA/9, and probably also the best by more sophisticated measures. Also I love him, so it's fun to get to recap Carlos starts. Last time out he struck out 13 Brewers, and hey! It's the Brewers again!
The rest of the lineup was pretty much as expected these days -- a resurgent Kolten Wong toward the top is the only thing of note.
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson was backed by some Brewers. Ryan Braun had the night off (although he made the final out with a PH grounder).
The Brewers hopped out to an early lead. With men on 1st and 2nd due to a walk and a HBP, Kirk Nieuwenhuis grounded one within reach of Jedd Gyorko (as always, miscast at shortstop, but that's the deal for everybody right now) and he whiffed on it for an error. This gave Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. They extended it to 3-0 in the 3rd on a Scooter F'ing Gennett home run.
Things looked briefly grim for our heroes, but: briefly, because the Dinger Patrol was already on the way. In the bottom of the 3rd they came up with a four-run, two-out rally launched by Martinez himself, who singled. Matt Carpenter hit a long homer, Wong worked a great PA for a walk, and then Stephen Piscotty homered. And all of a sudden, it was 4-3 Cardinals.
And it held up. The Cards had their best chance at an insurance run when they loaded the bases with two out in the 5th for Brandon Moss. Those two outs had come when Martinez hit into a double play; he was swinging away instead of bunting after a leadoff single. So, to be clear: five guys in a row batted, and the only one to make an out was the pitcher... who made two of them by swinging away with a man on first. Anyway, Moss flew out to the track, but seeing how there were two outs (the number typically recorded on a double play) instead of one out (the number typically recorded on, say, a bunt attempt) nobody scored and the inning ended.
But Martinez managed to keep the Brewers off the board for the rest of his night, helped by three double plays; he still leads the NL in inducing those. It's hard to say he pitched very well; he only struck out one guy, and when the ball's in play all night, the other side's gonna get some hits, and you're not always going to get those DPs when you need them. At any rate, they only scored three times off him in seven innings, so that's good. Line: 7 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 9 H, 3 R.
Kevin Siegrist covered the 8th (2 K, 0 baserunners, 9 pitches), and Seung Hwan Oh worked around a leadoff walk in the 9th to earn his 17th save of the year. The Mets came back against Atlanta to win again tonight, but San Francisco is losing as of press time -- if that result holds, the Cards will end the night tied for the WC2 slot, a half game back of the Mets for WC1.
- Your recap has been abbreviated by some pressing circumstances, and your recapper will endeavor to make it up to you somehow.
- Moss has been all kinds of out of sorts lately. Nearly half of his plate appearances in the last couple weeks have ended in pop-ups or strikeouts, which makes it close to impossible to be any good. He could pull out of it tomorrow (and did look a bit better tonight, including a near grand slam), but let's hope it happens soon.
- Kolten Wong is good and should play every night. He reached base thrice tonight, and made several of the kind of routine-ish-but-nifty plays in the field that we've been starved for this year, including:
- Carlos Martinez is going to throw a no-hitter. Eventually. Tonight, though, he gave up hits to every Brewer except the pitcher.
- WE graph: