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Two rain delays can’t help Cardinals complete comeback in 7-6 loss to Brewers

The Cardinals were frustratingly close to coming back from a 6-0 deficit, but came one run short.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals
Jose Martinez with a face that represents us all after that game
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This wasn’t a hugely disappointing loss, but it would have been a great win. Anytime you fall behind 6-0 and manage to make it a game is a positive for this recapper, who otherwise would have been bored to tears AND would have had to endure two rain delays. I had to do that anyway, but at least it was kind of close for most of it instead of the blowout that a 6-0 lead suggests.

Things started badly for the Cardinals and Mike Leake immediately. He went 3-0 on the leadoff hitter, Eric Sogard, and walked him. He had a better approach against Eric Thames, but Thames homered on a 1-2 count anyway. The Cardinals’ bats weren’t any better in the 1st. An 11-pitch inning from Matt Garza produced two foul outs and a groundout.

If things went badly for Leake in the 1st, they went a lot worse in the 2nd. He walked 87 wRC+ hitter Keon Broxton on four straight pitches to begin the inning. With one out, Garza helped himself with a single towards right. Sogard and Thames hit back-to-back doubles to make it 5-0 Brewers. They weren’t quite done yet. Travis Shaw drove in Thames with two outs and it was 6-0 Brewers.

Thankfully, the Cardinals were facing an opposing pitcher who is well past his prime. With one out, Yadier Molina and Aledmys Diaz hit back-to-back singles to start the rally. Jose Martinez then hit a rope towards center that Broxton almost got to, but he missed it completely allowing Martinez to reach third for a triple. With Martinez on third, Kolten Wong doubled him home. The Cardinals scoring in the inning finished when Matt Carpenter doubled home Wong to shorten the Brewers lead to 6-4. The Cardinals threatened to score more runs when Dexter Fowler walked to make it first and second with two outs, but Stephen Piscotty weakly grounded out to end the inning.

Both pitchers settled into a groove at this point. Garza pitched five innings and his only blemish was a leadoff walk to Matt Carpenter, who was quickly removed from a double play ball. In all, he ended up facing 9 batters in his last three innings of work. Leake ended up outlasting Garza amazingly. He finished with six innings, including finishing with four scoreless innings. He scattered three hits in his last four innings.

Jared Hughes replaced Garza and pitched a near perfect inning with two strikeouts and a popout. Kevin Siegrist.... did not pitch a perfect inning. Domingo Santana hit a one-out double. He was driven in by Hernan Perez two batters later to make it 7-4 Brewers. That run proved vital unfortunately. At this point, the game went into its first rain delay and was delayed for just under an hour.

In the 7th inning, Carlos Torres ran into some trouble, but unfortunately for the Cardinals, that trouble began with two outs. Chad Huffman looked at four straight balls after starting the plate appearance 0-2. Carpenter then got hit by a pitch on his left toe, by which point Tim McCarver bizarrely claimed that you can’t fake limping, which... you can. It’s not that hard. Carpenter wasn’t faking it and took first base. (A better point by Tim would be that it would be dumb to fake getting hit with replay being a thing). Fowler grounded out to end that threat.

Matt Bowman replaced Siegrist and was close to unhittable for the evening. He struck out two batters and got the other to ground out. In the bottom half of the inning, Jedd Gyorko walked with one out to begin another possible rally. After Molina grounded out, Diaz came to the plate and hit a line drive home run that was at the shortest part of the park. It was also almost foul. But it wasn’t foul. It was a two-run homer. And immediately after that, the second rain delay started. This one lasted a clean hour. So nearly two hours worth of rain delay for this game.

When they finally returned Jose Martinez faced Corey Knebel and swung at the first pitch he saw. It was a rocket, but it was right at third baseman Travis Shaw. It was hit hard enough that I’m not sure it’s a ball that’s caught unless it’s hit right at a guy. So that kind of sucked.

In the 9th, Brett Cecil pitched a strong ninth that was defined by shaky defense. Sogard bunted his way on and while it was a good bunt, he benefited from Cecil tripping on his way to the ball. Thames then hit a comebacker to Cecil that he couldn’t handle, but the ball slowly made its way towards Greg Garcia for the forceout. He then caused a second potential double play ball, and this one was ruined by an errant throw by Garcia. Probably not wanting to have a ball go into play anymore, he struck out Shaw to end the inning.

The Cardinals were very close to tying it in the 9th - sort of. Garcia looked at three straight balls, but then watched two strikes out and grounded out for the first out. Similarly, Tommy Pham looked at three straight balls, but he swung on a 3-1 count and hit a rocket as well. This one was also hit right to a fielder. I guess this was payback for a cheap homer to make the game close because damn. Matt Carpenter hit a two-out single, but Fowler struck out to end the game.


  • Leake final line: 6 IP, 9 hits, 6 ER, 2 BBs, 3 Ks, HR - Overall not a great day for Leake. If he could have gotten the freaking pitcher out in the 2nd, I wonder how his line would have looked. It’s a cliché but Leake’s big inning was enough to make his whole day look bad. Credit to him for lasting six innings after how poorly the first two went though.
  • Carpenter’s hot stretch continues. He went 2-3 with a double, a walk, and a hit by pitch. It says something about how well he’s been hitting that I was genuinely disappointed that he singled in the 9th and didn’t hit a homer.
  • How do you waste that day from your leadoff hitter? Well your 2-3-4 hitters can go 0-11 with two walks. That can certainly do the trick.
  • Wong was removed from the game with tightness in his forearm. I wonder how the rest of the game goes if he can stay in, because Garcia grounded out twice in two innings where the Cardinals got two baserunners on afterwards, but didn’t score.
  • Hard to be too mad at the bullpen: Going by ERA, three innings pitched with one earned run would be acceptable. Nonetheless, can’t say it didn’t hurt needing that extra run.

Tomorrow the Cardinals try to even up the four-game series with the Brewers. Zach Davies will face Michael Wacha, and that is about as even as a pitching matchup gets so it seems like a 50-50 game to me. That has usually ended up in a loss for the Cardinals this season though. Hopefully, we’ll get a good Wacha start.