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Leake coasts as Cardinals outlast Brewers 4.23.17

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Good pitching and timely hitting overcome bad base-running and defense.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals faced off against Jimmy Nelson and the Brewers. Nelson is coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Cubs in his last start, but had been very good in his 2 starts prior. Nelson features a mid-90s 4-seam fastball, a high-80s change-up and slider, and a mid-80s curveball. He typically struggles with control, and led the league in walks in 2016, but has not walked more than 2 in a game yet this season. Many Cardinals have had great success against him in their careers, including Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, and Kolten Wong, who have all rocked him for OPS’s north of .900.



1st Inning

Nelson worked the Cardinals on both sides of the plate and struck out Fowler and Carpenter. Aledmys pulled another outside pitch for a ground out.

Milwaukee wasted no time getting their offense going. Jonathan Villar worked a full-count walk. After Eric Thames traded places with him on a fielder’s choice, Ryan Braun doubled to left. The outfield was shading to the right side, so by the time Grichuk got to the ball, Thames had decided to make for home. The tardy throw was went to home, which gave Braun the opportunity to advance to third. Leake wriggled out of the jam, however, with a ground out and line out to deep right. 1-0 Brewers.

2nd Inning

Piscotty got the Cardinals’ first hit, but negated himself by getting picked off trying to get the jump on Nelson’s delivery. Grichuk grounded out and Garcia flew out.

Leake took matters into his own hands, and sandwiched a ground out and a pair of strikeouts around a double by Keon Broxton.

3rd Inning

Kolten Wong dropped down a great bunt past the pitcher to the right side, and promptly stole second. After Eric Fryer grounded out, Kolten was picked off second. Leake, continuing to take the game into his own hands, reached on an error by Travis Shaw. After Dexter Fowler drew a walk, Aledmys Diaz looped a first-pitch single in front of Braun. 1-1 Tie.

Leake allowed a second walk to Villar, who advanced quickly to 3rd on Thames’ single to right field. After a fielder’s choice moved Thames to 2nd base, Braun lifted a sac fly to right field. Leake struck out Jesus Aguilar to end the threat. 2-1 Brewers.

4th Inning

Nelson lost the feel for his fastball and fired 6 straight balls to start the inning. After he walked Piscotty and Grichuk, and retired Greg Garcia on the 1st pitch fly out, Kolten Wong worked him to a 2-2 count and delivered an RBI double to center that just eluded Keon Broxton. Nelson’s struggles continued as he walked Fryer to load the bases for Leake, who looped an 0-2 meatball into center to score 2 more. 4-2 Cardinals.

Leake surrendered a lead off walk to Manny Pina, but regained his feel and struck out Broxton, before inducing a pair of ground outs from Arcia and Nelson. He was at 70 pitches.

5th Inning

Nelson picked up where he left off, and walked Carpenter on 4 straight. However, Piscotty rocked a 108mph grounder right at Arcia for a double play, and Grichuk struck out.

Leake had one of those boringly awesome innings in the 6th. He sandwiched a pair of first-pitch outs to Villar and Braun around a Thames ground out. This inning required just 7 pitches.

6th Inning

Nelson retired Garcia on a line out and walked Wong on 4 pitches to end his afternoon. Jhan Marinez entered at fired 9 pick-off throws in a 9-pitch battle with Fryer that ended in a fielder’s choice that moved Wong to second, where he would be stranded by Leake.

Wong was caught off-guard by a hard grounder that clipped the front of the outfield grass to allow the lead off batter aboard, but Leake battled to strike out Aguilar & Broxton, then retired Pina on a soft line out to left. He was at 97 pitches and his day was through.

7th Inning

New pitcher Brent Suter provided a nice contrast to Marinez and worked quickly and deliberately. He retired Fowler on a ground-out, then walked Aledmys. After picking Aledmys off first, he struck out Carpenter on a couple of borderline strikes. Carpenter was then ejected for going after the umpire, with whom he disagreed severely. Matheny was also ejected.

Matt Bowman entered and continued his run of success. He retired Arcia and Nick Franklin on ground outs, then got Villar to chase a change up for a strike out.

8th Inning

New pitcher Jared Hughes relieved Suter. Piscotty worked him to a full count before grounding out, and then Grichuk stroked a double down the left field line. After Garcia struck out, Hughes decided to walk Wong in favor of facing Fryer, who rewarded him with a single through the left side to score Grichuk. Matt Adams then pinch hit for Bowman and singled through the right side to score Wong. Fowler followed with a towering shot to dead center, but was corralled by Broxton at the wall. 6-2 Cardinals.

Trevor Rosenthal entered as the sun began to peak into the batter’s box. He struck out Thames and Aguilar, and retired Shaw on a fly out to right after a single to left by Braun. It wasn’t fair.

9th Inning

Neftali Feliz entered and got Aledmys to lunge at another outside slider and pop out to short for the first out. He then struck out Jose Martinez swinging, and got Piscotty to fly out to deep right.

The bottom of the 9th inning was a wild ride. With a 4-run lead, David Bell turned to Jonathan Broxton to close it out. Milwaukee had other plans, as Manny Pina greeted the big righty with a home run into the Brewer bullpen, and Keon Broxton managed an infield single to reach on a hard-luck error by Aledmys. Bell had seen enough and turned to his closer. Seung Hwan Oh was not on his game at the outset, and prompty walked Hernan Perez. He fought back and struck out Domingo Santana on a generous, low called-strike. But Villar would follow with a single to right that scored Broxton, and positioned himself as the potential tying run with Thames and Braun looming on deck. After a meeting on the mound, Oh battled Thames to a 2-2 count before placing a fastball on the outside corner, on which the top home run hitter in baseball could not pull the trigger. Braun stepped in next and launched the first pitch he saw deep to right field, but was corralled by Piscotty in the middle of the track. Cardinals win 6-4.

Final Lines

Leake: 6IP, 3H, 2ER, 6K, 3BB. 64 Game Score

Nelson: 5.1IP, 5H, 3ER, 5K, 6BB. 43 Game Score


  • Aledmys Diaz’s walk in the 7th was his first of the season.
  • Jhan Marinez threw 9 pick-off throws in Fryer’s 6th-inning PA.
  • Carpenter and Matheny are the Cardinals’ first and second ejections of the season. Carpenter was irate after the ump called a pair of borderline pitches strikes, and Matheny came along for the ride.
  • The Cardinals were picked off 3 times today, a dubious accomplishment shared by just 18 other teams in history.
  • This was Oh’s 5th appearance in a week, and 3rd in a row.
  • Matt Carpenter was not charged with in error in today’s game, but botched a double-play when Aledmys’ high throw glanced off his glove. He then could not rein in Leake’s accurate pick-off throw, but kept the ball close enough that the runner could not advance.

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