In the second inning, Yadier Molina managed an infield hit (!) and advanced to second on a throwing error by third baseman Yolmer Sanchez (who, despite his name, is NOT a member of the San Diego Padres). Unfortunately, while riding the high of getting an infield hit while running at approximately the pace of someone carrying a small armchair up a steep hill, Molina was caught stealing third.
Through the fourth, Carlos Martinez had uncharacteristically not struck out a batter, but made up for it by striking out the side after a leadoff Jose Abreu double, as he began to get into the swing of things the second time through the order. Interesting nugget of info - so far this year (according to Brooks Baseball pitch data), Martinez has decreased his percentage of hard pitches and increased his number of breaking pitches the more times he goes through the order. That’s not unusual - that trend is there for basically his whole career. What’s kind of fun this year (yeah, yeah, it’s only 505 total pitches, SSS) is that while his effectiveness (BA against, SLG against) on his hard stuff has decreased the deeper he’s gone in the order, his breaking stuff has increased in effectiveness the more times he goes through the order.
Martinez would continue rolling in the 5th inning, culminating with a strikeout of Lucas Giolito, who couldn’t do anything but laugh at his fruitless thrashing about chasing the slider.
In the bottom of the sixth, with the Cardinals still struggling to score a single run, Carlos decided “ugh, you guys, I will just do this myself” and hit his first career home run, a 407 foot center field smash. Though his teammates in the dugout were overjoyed, they committed a bit of a faux pas by not offering him a cup of water after his home run. What a fun moment for people checking the box score later and assuming that it’s a typo for J. Martinez.
In the seventh, the White Sox threatened early with a single by Leury Garcia and a walk to Omar Narvaez, but a timely GIDP got the Cardinals out of the inning.
The bottom of the seventh inning saw unlucky hitters Yadier Molina and Dexter Fowler, at a wOBA to xwOBA difference of -0.093 and -0.063 respectively, finally get a bit of luck - Molina dropped a single into right field and then Fowler took Giolito deep to make it 3-0 Cardinals. In addition to being unlucky, Fowler has been pretty bad, so seeing a bit of pop from him was a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately, those 2 runs would be erased in the top of the eighth. Carlos Martinez gave up a single to lead off the inning and got one out before being pulled for Dominic Leone. Leone would give up a walk, a single, and a sac fly before being pulled for Bud Norris. Norris recorded a K of Nicky Delmonico to shut down the White Sox rally. Norris stayed in to finish out the game, getting a quick 1-2-3 for the 9th. Cards win 3-2.
Final line for Carlos: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB
Mini series means another off day tomorrow. Cardinals pick back up on Friday vs the Cubs.