Mikolas kept the Cubs grounded in the 1st. He quickly got Rizzo to ground out to 1B, and Almora to ground out to 3B to start the inning. Then, after he lost Heyward to an uncharacteristic, full-count walk, Mikolas got Baez to ground out to SS. He threw 17 pitches in the inning.
Holy moly, you guys. Jose Quintana did not have it today, and the Cardinals batted around in the 1st. Carpenter started the rally by testing inexperienced third baseman Ian Happ with a bunt single down the 3B line, and Yadier Molina attempted to follow with another, though his bunt was foul. Instead, he worked the first of many full counts this inning, and rifled a single off the glove of a diving Happ. Paul DeJong followed with a full-count walk, and Jose Martinez managed an RBI walk to give the Cardinals the lead, and bring Jim Hickey out for a pep talk. The pep talk provided insufficient pep, as Marcell Ozuna worked himself a full count and, after ridding his eyes of debris, launched a grand slam to LCF on Quintana’s 26th pitch, thereby killing the rally.
But the Cardinals had another one in them. After Pham was frozen by a 3-2 fastball for the first out of the inning, Dexter Fowler sold a 3-2 fastball at the bottom of the zone to the umpire as ball 4, and Yairo Munoz drove him in from 1B with a 3-2 double down the RF line. Mercifully, Mikolas struck out swinging, and Carpenter grounded out to 3B to end the inning. Quintana threw 51 pitches in this disaster of an inning. 6-0 Cardinals.
Mikolas was unaffected by the long layoff between his innings, and set the Cubs down in order by sandwiching a pair of ground outs to 2B by Contreras & Happ around a swinging strike out of Schwarber. He was at 30 pitches.
The Cardinals let Quintana regain a little bit of his dignity in the 2nd. Molina and DeJong were quickly retired on a ground out to SS and fly out to CF, but Martinez popped a single to CF to set up an interesting play. Marcell Ozuna followed Martinez with a single to RF, on which Martinez tried to go 1B-to-3B, but was gunned down by Jason Heyward. Martinez got up slowly and had to confer with the trainers before being cleared to stay in the game. Quintana’s much-needed quick inning put his pitch count at 59.
Mikolas kept rolling. Though Quintana was able to smack the Cubs’ first hit of the game to RF, David Bote rolled into a tailor-made 6-4-3 double play to negate him. Mikolas then fooled Rizzo with a couple curveballs, and got him to ground out to 3B with his 38th pitch.
Quintana got another efficient inning in his quest to spare the Cubs’ bullpen. Tommy Pham thought he got enough of a fastball, but Heyward pulled it in with his back against the wall in RF. Fowler then grounded out to 3B, and Munoz grounded out to SS, putting Quintana’s pitch count at 74.
Mikolas ran into a spot of trouble in the 4th. Almora tried dropping a bunt to Mikolas’ left, but Carpenter made a good, bare-handed play to retire him at 1B. Heyward then slashed a single past DeJong into LF, after which Javy Baez got a fastball out over the plate and put it into the seats in the RF corner to trim the deficit. Then, after Contreras grounded out to SS, Kyle Schwarber worked an obnoxious, 12-pitch PA that concluded with a single dumped into LF. Ian Happ followed with a clean single to CF, which knocked Quintana from the game and brought in pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella, who flew out to LCF. Mikolas’ pitch count ballooned from 38 to 67. 6-2 Cardinals.
Jesse Chavez entered in relief of Quintana, and held the Cardinals at bay. Though Mikolas led off by singling to CF, Carpenter flew out to LF, and Yadi flew out to RF. DeJong then ripped a single off a frustrated Happ’s glove, but Martinez struck out to strand both runners.
Mikolas rebounded in the 5th. He quickly got Bote to ground out to SS before he sawed Rizzo off with a fastball inside. Unfortunately, the combination of weird spin and flying lumber caused Munoz to misplay the grounder, but Albert Almora allowed him to redeem himself by grounding into a 4-6-3 double play. The 6-pitch inning nudged Mikolas’ pitch count to 73.
Chavez continued kept the Cardinals in place again in the 5th. After Ozuna led off with a Texas-Leaguer placed perfectly down the RF line, he got Pham to fly out to RF, Fowler to fly out to CF, and Munoz to strike out swinging.
Mikolas started messing with his timing to keep the Cubs off balance. After he got Heyward to ground out softly to 1B, he used a pause in his wind-up to sneak a slider by Javy Baez for a strike out. He did it again against Contreras, using it to get him to ground out to 3B. He was up to 90 pitches, however, and his afternoon was through.
Jesse Chavez just kept mowing the Cardinals down. He got pinch-hitter Greg Garcia to quickly ground out to 2B. After Contreras lost a contact and had a visit from the trainer, he walked Carpenter on 4 close pitches, but Molina grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the rally.
Dakota Hudson made his major league debut in the 7th. One of several criticisms of him as a prospect was that he struggled against lefties, so it was only fitting that the first 2 hitters he’d face were Schwarber and Happ. Sitting 96mph and showing a sharp cutter/slider, he struck both of them out swinging (though Schwarber was robbed of a walk when the home plate ump incorrectly called a his checked swing a swing.) He concluded his debut by getting Caratini to ground out to 3B. He threw 13 pitches in the inning.
Steve Cishek relieved Chavez, and picked up where he left off. The former Cardinal got DeJong to pop out to 2B before striking Martinez and Ozuna out swinging.
Jordan Hicks relieved Hudson. He struggled initially to find his control, as he buzzed David Bote’s tower in the middle of granting him a 3-2 walk. But he settled down and got Rizzo to line out to deep LF, and Almora to ground into another inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
Cory Mazzoni relieved Cishek, and imitated Dakota Hudson. The righty struck out Pham & Fowler, and then got Munoz to ground out to 3B.
Bud Norris closed this one out. After battling an initial bought of wildness, he struck Heyward out with a hanging slider, got Baez to pop out to Carpenter in foul territory and, after Contreras singled to LF, got Schwarber to pop out to CF. Cardinals win 6-2.
Miles Mikolas: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 HR, 2 K, 1 BB, 52 GSc, 90 pitches.
Jose Quintana: 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 1 HR, 2 K, 3 BB, 18 GSc, 74 pitches.
- Miles Mikolas’ hit in the 5th was his 3rd of the season, his 2nd single.
- Maddon challenged Almora’s inning-ending double play in the 8th, and it did look like Munoz was off the bag before catching the ball. New York couldn’t find sufficient evidence to overturn.
- Hudson struggled with his control initially, but considering how the rest of the inning went, I think it’s fair to assume he just had a few butterflies.
The Cardinals go for their second sweep of the Cubs this season tomorrow, sending John Gant up against Kyle Hendricks. Game starts at 7:05 CST, and can only be viewed on ESPN.