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Cardinals (Almost) Rout Reds, Pass .500

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Lynn deals, bats come alive, defense solidifies, and Molina and Gyorko connect for an unforgettable play

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals
The Brave Slugger Demolishes the vile orb.
Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

Pregame

Today, the Cardinals play the Reds. The last time these division rivals met, the Reds led the division and the Cardinals had lost 67% of their games. Tonight, the Cardinals enter play at .500, 1.5 games behind the division-leading Cubs and .5 behind Milwaukee, while the Reds are in fourth place in the division. The Redbirds are on an 8-2 run for their last ten games. Lance Lynn takes the mound against some guy you don’t want or need to know about. Have you heard the Reds are rebuilding?

The Game

The Reds struck first, in the top of the second. Scott Schebler put a 93 MPH fastball in the seats behind right field. Bad guys lead, 1-0.

In the bottom of the third, the Cardinals hit back, and they hit harder. Randal Grichuk led off and drilled one at the third baseman, Eugenio Suarez. He legged it out anyway, because you never skip leg day, and behold, Suarez threw it wide and low. Votto couldn’t deal with it, and Grichuk took second with a solid mix of situational awareness, natural speed, and old-fashioned hustle.

Kolten Wong jumped all over a 1-1 changeup, driving it hard down the right field line for a double and scoring Grichuk. Lynn tried his best to bunt Wong over, but bunted foul with two strikes, and well, you know what happens there. He was out. It turned out not to matter though:

Dexter Fowler, ladies and gentlemen. Cardinals lead, 3-1.

In the bottom of the fifth, noted terrible hitter Lance Lynn hit a single. As he stood on first base, he was accosted by a crazy person.

I’m no lip reader, but it looked like Waino said, “I saw you! You saw that!” Heh. Fowler singled Lynn over to second, but Aledmys Diaz hammered one right at Billy Hamilton to end the inning.

Lance got into trouble in the top of the sixth. After getting outs from Joey Votto and Adam Duvall on two pitches, Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler (who is on something of a tear lately) hit back-to-back singles. With his pitch count approaching 100, Lynn battled Devon Mesoraco for nine pitches before walking him, loading the bases. Suarez and Schebler trotted to third and second, respectively; Suarez trotted around third, taking a couple steps and thinking about how he was going to spend his time after scoring. Unfortunately for Suarez, Yadier Molina and Jedd Gyorko were conspiring against him.

Let’s unpack that a bit - watch as Gyorko sneaks over behind Suarez. He’s not that far off the bag! Yadi is scanning the field, looking for just such a situation. And then comes the throw, and Gyorko sells the tag hard. I mean, that is just incredible. It’s tantamount to the hidden ball trick. Threat averted, Cardinals still lead 3-1. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for Eugenio though. I mean, listen to the Reds broadcast team:

Vicious.

In the bottom of the frame, the Cardinals piled on a little more. With an out on the board, Gyorko, fresh off his evisceration of the opposing third baseman, crushed a no-doubter to the opposite field. Stephen Piscotty walked, Yadi singled, and Adleman came out of the game. Randal Grichuk ripped one to center, scoring Piscotty. Wong walked to jam the sacks. Matt Adams played in a context-appropriate manner, pinch-hitting for Lance Lynn. He hit the second pitch he saw into right field for a sac fly, scoring Molina. Diaz grounded out to end the frame. Cardinals lead, 6-1.

Brett Cecil took over pitching duties. After two pitches, he’d gotten Scooter Gennett to fly out to left. After two more, he’d retired some fella named Alcantara. That play got a bit hairy:

What did you think of that throw, Carp?

Can’t argue much with that. Anyhow, Cecil needed five more pitches to strike out Billy Hamilton. 9 pitches, three outs. Not bad, Brett.

Yandy Peralta took over pitching for the Reds in the bottom of the 7th. Gyorko singled and Piscotty doubled, then Molina hit a sac fly to deep left, scoring Gyorko. Cardinals lead, 7-1. At this point, I named the article “Cardinals Rout Reds, Pass .500.” As you might have guessed, I know nothing.

Miguel Socolovich took the vile orb for the home team, and promptly started serving up meatballs. Zach Cozart singled, just so that Joey Votto’s RBI from his homer wouldn’t feel lonely. Soco appeared to settle in though, inducing popouts from Duvall and Suarez! We might be okay! But then, he walked Schebler and gave up a single to Mesoraco. At this point, Matheny’d had enough. He brought in his stopper, his fireman, his fixer — Kevin M.F. Siegrist.

Siegrist, of course, gave up a 2-run double to Scooter Gennett. At this point, fans got worried. “It’s 7-5, Bob!” “Yes, dear.” “But Bob, just a minute ago, it was 7-1!” “Okay.” “Bob, I want a divorce!” “Whatever you say, honey.” And Siegrist didn’t help anything, no sir. He walked something called a Kivlehan, who was there because the pitcher’s spot came up. Lucky charm Eric Fryer called timeout to “have a talk with Siegrist.” (This is now code for “let Oh finish warming.”) Oh threw a single, perfect pitch to Billy Hamilton, which ascended the heights before rolling down the sky’s cheek undisturbed into Kolten Wong’s glove, simultaneously ending the Reds’ threat and the Reds’ best chance at clawing back. Cardinals still lead, but only 7-5.

Nothing else notable happened. This was good, because Oh closed the game down without incident (but with maybe a little help from a loose strike zone, at least on Votto). Cardinals win, 7-5.

Notes

—Lynn’s final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Solid outing. Cecil and Oh were similarly great. Socolovich and Siegrist were dumpster fires, and cannot be trusted in high leverage situations.

—The Cardinals are now 12-11 on the season, and with the Cubs’ loss today they are half a game behind the division leaders. It’s way too early to be counting stuff like that seriously, but it still feels good. What do you say, Jedd?

Okay, buddy!

—Mark McGwire and Tim McCarver were announced today as the Cardinals Hall of Fame honorees for this year. Congrats, both Macs! As a child of the nineties, I am particularly pleased by McGwire’s election.

—Put it in perspective: We won tonight against the terrible Reds. We went 2-1 against the MLB-worst Blue Jays. We went 3-1 against the anomalously hot, but actually awful Brewers. And we swept the NL Central-trailing Pirates. This isn’t to say that we are not good! Good teams play bad teams, and they’d better win on this clip when they do. But these facts caution against getting too exuberant this early in the season.

—Ok, now take it out of perspective. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tomorrow, Mike Leake faces off against Bronson Arroyo, if they don’t get rained out. 1:15 PM Central. Be there!

—P.S. The Blues beat the Preds tonight. #LGB!

And a late-breaking thing: We all love Matt Holliday. Look what happened to him tonight in the Bronx:

Miss you, buddy.