Nick Pivetta had it from the get-go. He pounded Carpenter low-and-away, changed his eye level with a high fastball, then made him look foolish as he swung through a curveball in the dirt. He then busted Pham and Martinez inside and induced a pair of pop outs to RF & 2B, respectively. All told, he threw 14 pitches.
The Phillies torched Miles Mikolas in the bottom half. The Cardinal righty got ahead of Cesar Hernandez 0-2 initially, but nibbled with a trio of non-competitive breaking balls before serving up a fastball that the Phillie second baseman pulled to RF for a leadoff single. He then walked Hoskins, signaling that he might not have his best stuff today. After Odubel Herrera fouled off a perplexing bunt attempt, he turned on a hung, inside meatball and launched it on a line over the wall in RF for a 3-run bomb. Carlos Santana followed with a single off the top of the wall in nearly the same place, bringing Mike Maddux out for a visit. Mikolas recovered to get Franco to ground out to 3B, and Williams to pop out to SS, but Andrew Knapp was able to loop in RBI single to CF to reopen the wound. The inning concluded with Pivetta grounding out to 1B. Mikolas’ marathon inning cost him 35 pitches. 4-0 Phillies.
** pours first drink **
Pivetta and the Phillies had their foot on the Cardinals’ throat, and did not relent. Marcell Ozuna pulled a hard grounder down the 3B line, but Maikel Franco made a stunning, shades-of-Schmidt play behind the bag and threw off-balance to retire Ozuna by better than a step. Then, after Molina worked a full count and drew a walk, Pivetta fooled Gyorko & Bader with a pair of sliders low-and-away for strike outs. They did not stand a chance. Pivetta was now at 32 pitches.
Mikolas improved on his antecedent inning. Though JP Crawford led off with a double into the RF corner, he was able to get the gauntlet of Hernandez, Hoskins, & Herrera to hit into a pair of unassisted grounders to 1B sandwiched around a pop out to short CF. Mikolas was up to 50 pitches.
The Cardinals negated a quarter of the lead in the 3rd. After Yairo made good contact on a low/away fastball but lined out to 2B, and Mikolas struck out on a curve, Matt Carpenter gave an outside fastball his “just gonna foul this one off” swing, and managed to hook it around the LF foul pole. It was weird. Anyway, Pham then became Pivetta’s next strike out victim, waving through a curveball in the dirt - Pivetta’s 47th pitch. 4-1 Phillies.
In the bottom half, Mikolas got the middle of the Phillies’ order in sequence. Santana gave one a ride to surprisingly deep CF, but still into Pham’s glove, Franco grounded out weakly to 3B, and Williams flew out to LF, sending Ozuna all the way to the track. His quick inning put his pitch count at 58.
Pivetta returned the favor. He retired Martinez on a hot-shot come-backer, made Ozuna look mortal with a curve on the outside half, and got Molina to line out to deep-ish RF. He was up to 60 pitches.
** pours 2nd drink **
Mikolas answered back, back, by striking out the side. He got Knapp to chase an elevated fastball, dropped a deuce on Pivetta, and got Crawford to tip a cutter into Molina’s mitt with his 77th pitch.
How about I just tell you guys the next time the hitters hit? Anyway, Pivetta started leaning on his curveball more this inning. He made Gyorko wave through a couple of them while striking him out, before embarrassing Bader & Yairo while striking them out with a couple of them in the zone. He was at 74 pitches.
Nope, still nothing here. Hernandez gave a valiant effort, though, and send one to Pham’s glove just short of the wall in CF. Then Mikolas got Hoskins to pop out to RF and, after Herrera pulled a sharp single to RF, got Santana to pull a ground out to 1B. Mikolas, however, was at 88 pitches, and his night was through.
Dexter Fowler pinch hit for Mikolas to lead off the 6th, and was gifted safety on first base when Crawford took his soft grounder to SS and threw it juuust a bit off the mark of 1B. The Cardinals did nothing with it, as Carpenter was sitting fastball and was already through the zone before Pivetta’s curve was. Then Pham struck out, whiffing on a fastball, and Martinez was robbed of a single up the middle by a diving Crawford. Pivetta was up to 87 pitches.
Mike Mayers drew short straw and had to relieve Mikolas, tipping management’s hand on who will be demoted to make room for Greg Holland tomorrow. He promptly got Franco to ground out to 3B, but Williams was able to leg out what was ruled a fielding error on Gyorko, but probably should have been an infield single. But Mayers started pumping gas, greasing 99 past Knapp for a strike out, and 97 past Pivetta for another.
In his final inning, Pivetta started going to his slider. He made Ozuna look foolish on one to complete a strike out, then wished he’d thrown another one when he got Molina 0-2, but threw a fastball instead, and saw Yadi blast it over the wall in RCF. But Gyorko struck out again, and Bader grounded out to SS on Pivetta’s 99th pitch. 4-2 Phillies.
** pours 3rd drink **
Our sacrificial bullpen arm returned to pitch the 7th. He blew 98 past Crawford for his third straight strike out, before walking Hernandez. Then, Rhys Hoskins just missed a HR foul down the LF line, before flying out to LCF, and Herrera grounded out to 2B to end the inning.
Pivetta, pushing 100 pitches, returned for the 8th for some reason. After Yairo flew out to CF, pinch-hitter Greg Garcia looped a single to CF to bring up Matt Carpenter. Carpenter promptly launched a long fly ball that looked to be gone off the bat, but ended up caroming off the RF wall and right into Nick Williams’ nose. Garcia could only advance to 3B on the double, and Pivetta was lifted from the game. Edubray Ramos relieved and struck out Pham & Martinez on a pair of sliders.
** pours another 3rd drink **
Sam Tuivailala relieved Mayers. The righty had allowed 4 runs in 5.1 innings so far this month, but managed to set the Phillies down in order. Though he walked Santana to lead the inning off, he quickly got Franco to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, and struck out Aaron Altherr looking at a slider.
Before the game, the Phillies demoted their closer, Hector Neris, to AAA, so Victor Arano tried to close it out. He struck out 3 and walked off the field with the lead.
I guess I’ll tell you what happened. So, after Ozuna squandered a 3-0 count and struck out, Yadi looped a single to LF. Jedd Gyorko followed with a double to LF, but Bader was the second strike out victim, and Yairo Munoz was the third......................................
Except the third strike that Yairo swung through was so terrible that it bounced in front of the plate and scooted under the catcher, all the way to the backstop. Yadi scored. Everybody else was safe. I was losing my mind. So were you. It was awesome. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler had to go to his lefty, Adam Morgan, to face Kolten Wong. Wong watched 2 sliders outside before looking hopeless on a pair of strikes, but was able to guide the 5th pitch of the PA up the middle, past a diving Hernandez, to tie the game. The Devil Magic lives, you guys. Carpenter tapped out to the pitcher to end the rally, but the necessary damage had been done. 4-4 Tie Game.
Bud Norris was tasked with holding the lead for extra innings. He quickly got Knapp to ground out to SS, and Kingery to fly out to CF. But Crawford worked a walk to elevate his pitch count before he could escape on Hernandez’s ground out to 2B. The Cardinal closer threw 13 pitches, and would not return.
Jake Thompson relieved Morgan. This proved to be a poor decision BECAUSE TOMMY PHAM HIT AN ABSOLUTE BOMB ON A 2-1 SLIDER TO LF TO GIVE THE CARDINALS THE LEAD. Martinez grounded out to SS, and Ozuna flew out to RF, but Molina was able to smack a double to the LF wall to give the Cardinals a chance at extending the lead. But pinch-hitter Francisco Pena (remember him?) could do no better than strike out swinging.
Matt Bowman tried to close it out. Rhys Hoskins greeted his with a flare single to LF, ahead of a high chopper to Bowman off the bat of Odubel Herrera. Bowman ranged backwards, gloved, and fired to 1B for the out, though the 1B ump initially called the play safe. With Hoskins on 2B and 1 out, the Cardinals walked Santana to face Valentin, who struck out on a full count fastball up in the zone. The game came down to Aaron Altherr, who smacked a liner out toward Ozuna. The ball hit the grass and bounced over his glove, rolling all the way to the wall, and allowing both runners to score. Phillies win 6-5.
** pours yet another 3rd drink **
Miles Mikolas: 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 1 HR, 41 GSc, 88 pitches.
Nick Pivetta: 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 13 K, 1 BB, 2 HR, 69 GSc, 109 pitches.
- Gyorko is needed that double. He had been hitting .221/.231/.299 in the last 30 days.
- Martinez and Ozuna combined to go 0-10 with 4 strikeouts.
- We knew Mike Mayers threw 97. Tonight, he touched 100.
- The Cardinals struck out 19 times tonight, by far the most they’ve struck out all season.
- Tommy Pham has the longest active hitting streak in baseball, at 12 games.
- This was the Cardinals 4th walk-off loss of the season (1st was Leone’s vs MIL on 4/5, 2nd was Hicks’ vs PIT on 4/27, 3rd was Brebbia’s vs SD on 5/12.)
- Jordan Hicks was unavailable after pitching each of the last 2 games.
- I want too die.
Mike Matheny intentionally put the winning run on base and then lost.— Matt Snyder (@MattSnyderCBS) June 19, 2018
The Cardinals will look to get that one back tomorrow, sending Luke Weaver to face Vince Velasquez. Game starts at 6:05 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.