With a series win on the line, something that means a great deal for the Cardinals at this point in the season (4.5 GB) and vanishingly little other than pride for the Padres (33.5 GB!!), the Cardinals put Carlos Martinez on the mound to face Luis Perdomo.
Despite an inefficient first inning (22 pitches), Martinez managed to escape unscathed. He was helped out by Yadier Molina throwing out his 20th runner on the season. Yadi is on pace to tie his best season for runners caught stealing in the past 7 years.
In the bottom of the first, Kolten Wong started things off with an infield hit. However, the Padres do one of the things the Padres do pretty competently this year: follow it up with a double play (San Diego is 6th in baseball in DPs turned this year). Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler would also single in the inning, but the Cardinals would fail to score.
In the 4th inning, the Cardinals would get on the board. Dexter Fowler doubled, followed by a double by Jedd Gyorko put the first run on the board. Itty bitty sample size, but Gyorko just doesn’t seem to get out against his former team - his career OPS against the Padres was already a whopping 1.768 coming into this game.
In the sixth inning, the Padres would go on top. Martinez would load the bases without recording an out. After getting a pop-out, Martinez would make a throwing error that allowed the first run to score. A very soft single by Matt Szczur would score the second run for the Padres. The damage ended there, though, which is honestly a pretty decent outcome for the situation (if also disappointing in the way that the runs actually scored).
But in the bottom of the inning, the Cards would come back. A DeJong double followed by a Yadi single tied the game up. Astonishingly, as the next batter, Gyorko did not put a ball into orbit, but settled instead for the more pedestrian but also valuable walk*. That OPS against San Diego keeps climbing.
In the seventh inning, the Cardinals would get two runners on again...and would again be thwarted by a double play. Yes, dear readers, tonight Tommy Pham hit into THREE double plays, tying a bunch of other guys for second place all-time behind Joe Torre, Victor Martinez, and Goose Goslin at 4.
Tyler Lyons came in to pitch the 8th inning. Despite a walk and a HBP (and another mostly intentional walk to pitch around Wil Myers), no runs would score. Lyons now has a 15.2 inning scoreless streak dating back to July 4th, and somehow or another, the team has bumbled its way into a relatively competent method of using him.
In the eighth inning, with Tommy Pham’s spot in the order nowhere to be seen, Yadier Molina heroically stepped up to hit into a double play in his stead. Unthinkably, Jedd Gyorko would follow that up with a strikeout, stranding DeJong at third.
Ninth inning: two singles led off the inning. However, hearkening back to the Cardinals of yore (and by that I mean the Cardinals of about 8-10 weeks ago), Manuel Margot was able to advance to second because no Cardinals were covering the appropriate spots on the cut or at second. At this point Sam Tuivailala was pulled for Zach Duke. After Zach Duke gave up a single that went just under Gyorko’s glove (scoring the go-ahead run), he was pulled in favor of Matt Bowman, because GOD FORBID we go a single game without a Matt Bowman appearance. Bowman leads the league in appearances, possibly because he is being punished by the gods much like Sisyphus. He would get a quick flyout, but another run would score. Then Bowman was pulled for Brett Cecil to complete the 9th inning reliever roulette.
Randal Grichuk would make things a bit interesting by leading off the bottom of the ninth with a 405 foot shot to left center. But unfortunately, that was the only pop left in the St Louis bats, as the next three batters would be quickly retired. 4-3 Padres final
Rays visit St Louis tomorrow night to start a new series.
*YES THE USE OF PEDESTRIAN WAS INTENTIONAL