Jeff Samardzija came out firing strikes. He quickly got Carpenter to fly out to the track in CF, and then battled Pham to a full count and got him to ground out to SS, and Martinez to line out to LF on 2 pitches. Shark threw 11 pitches in all.
Carlos matched his counterpart’s scoreless frame, though his battery-mate made it interesting. Right off the bat, Francisco Pena, making the start in place of the banged up Yadier Molina, lost Gorkys Hernandez’s pop up in foul territory. Fortunately, Matt Carpenter had his back and made a good catch to retire the lead off hitter. After Hanson grounded out to 1B, Andrew McCutchen lined a sharp single to RF. Then, Cutch snuck a delayed steal of 2B, and advanced to 3B when Pena’s throw sailed far wide of the bag. Brandon Belt then worked a 9 pitch PA that culminated in a looper to no-man’s-land between 3B, SS, & LF that Carpenter once again made a fine play to convert into an out. Martinez threw 20 pitches in the inning.
Samardzija set the Cardinals down in order again in the 2nd. He struck out Ozuna swinging at a slider off the plate, and then got DeJong & Fowler to each pop out to SS. He was up to 23 pitches.
Martinez stepped up with a much more efficient scoreless frame. He got Crawford to fly out to CF on 2 pitches, Sandoval to fly out to RF on another 2 pitches, and then, after allowing Nick Hundley a single to CF on 4 pitches, got Slater to ground out to 2B on... 2 pitches. He was up to 30 total.
The Cardinals found some offense in unlikely places in the 3rd. Kolten Wong led off with a line drive to LF that Slater charged and probably could have caught standing up, but instead dove for and dropped it. Wong then stole 2B, and advanced to 3B on Pena’s ground out to SS. Carlos Martinez then chopped a ball into the dirt so hard it actually bounced all the way over Sandoval at 3B, and down the LF line for an RBI double. A frustrated Samardzija took matters back into his own hands, and struck out Carpenter swinging at an inside curveball, and Pham looking at a backdoor, 96mph 2-seamer. He was up 43 pitches. 1-0 Cardinals.
Carlos expedited another clean inning against a punch-less Giants offense. Samardzija led the charge with a soft ground out to 2B, Gorkys followed him up with a strike out in which he was unable to check his swing at a low change up, and Hanson brought up the rear with a fly out to LF. Carlos was at 39 pitches through 3.
The Cardinals pushed another couple of runs across in the 4th. After Jose led off with a line out to CF, Marcell Ozuna was able to ground a single between 3B & SS, and Paul DeJong pushed him to 3B with a single of his own to RF. Fowler’s sac fly to LF brought home 1 run and, after replay corrected Wong’s bunt from an out to a single, Pena’s slap single on a pitch half a foot off the plate brought home another. Carlos tried to get back in on the action, and actually got good wood on a fastball, but unfortunately lined out to RF. Samardzija saw his pitch count rise to 64. 3-0 Cardinals.
Carlos had to work to put up another 0 in the 4th. He got Cutch to ground out to 3B quickly enough, but Belt singled to RF, just short of Fowler’s reach. Then Crawford worked a 7-pitch PA that ended in fly out to RF, and Sandoval worked a 5-pitch PA that ended in a pop out back to Carlos, who was up to 58 pitches.
The Cardinals made Shark work again in the 5th. Though Carpenter flew out to CF to start the inning, Tommy Pham drew a walk, and Jose Martinez smoked a single to CF. With the 2 runners in motion, Ozuna grounded out to SS, and DeJong flew out to CF, just short of the track, pushing Samardzija’s pitch count up to 81, and ending his afternoon.
Carlos set the Giants down in order in the 5th. He retired Hundley on a come-backer, struck out Slater with a back-up slider, and got pinch-hitter Hunter Pence to line out to CF on his 73rd pitch.
Derek Holland relieved Samardzija, and fare much better than his predecessor. He got Fowler to line out gently to 2B, and Wong to ground out to 1B. He ended up walking Pena, which allowed the Cardinals to clear the pitcher’s spot in the order, as Carlos grounded out to SS.
The Giants finally got to Martinez in the 6th. Gorkys singled past DeJong on a chopper that appeared to take a funny hop and, after Hanson flew out to LF, advanced to 2B on Cutch’s ground out to SS. Brandon Belt cashed him in with an RBI double down the RF line. Carlos got Crawford to ground out to 1B to end the inning. He was up to 85 pitches. 3-1 Cardinals.
Sam Dyson relieved Holland, and picked up where he left off. He got Carpenter to fly out to RF, Pham to ground out to SS, and Jose to strike out swinging in a 10-pitch inning.
Carlos finished strong. First, he fell behind Sandoval 3-0, recovered to 3-2, finally getting him to reach and ground out to SS, and then followed that up by quickly getting Hundley to fly out to RF. Austin Slater managed to ground a single between 1B & 2B, but Carlos fooled pinch-hitter Austin Jackson with a filthy change up to strike him out. The ace had thrown 100 pitches, and his afternoon was complete.
Cory Gearrin relieved Dyson, and continued the Giants’ bullpen domination. He struck out Ozuna & DeJong, and then got Fowler to line out to RF, all with just 11 pitches.
Things got dicey for the Cardinals in the 8th. Jordan Hicks relieved Carlos, and struggled a bit with his control. Things started off well enough, with a quick ground out to 2B by Gorkys. But Alen Hanson worked a full count and beat out an infield single to 2B, and soon after advanced to 2B on a wild pitch. Hicks battled McCutchen to another full count, and was able to strike him out looking at a perfectly-located fastball on the outside corner, but Brandon Belt continued his strong afternoon by knocking an RBI single to CF on a slider under the zone. Hicks escaped further damage by getting Crawford to ground out sharply to SS. 3-2 Cardinals.
Mark Melancon became the 4th and final Giants reliever shut the Cardinals down. He struck out Wong swinging with a curveball, and got Pena to line out to 2B. Pinch-hitter Yairo Munoz was gifted with a 4-pitch walk, but Melancon recovered to get Carpenter to line out to LF after an 8-pitch battle.
Bud Norris closed this one out, setting the bottom half of the Giants’ order down in sequence. He quickly got Sandoval & Hundley to each ground out to 2B on 3 total pitches, then struck Slater out swinging. Cardinals win 3-2.
Carlos Martinez: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 0 HR, 3 K, 0 BB, 70 GSc, 100 pitches
Jeff Samardzija: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 0 HR, 3 K, 1 BB, 48 GSc, 81 pitches
- Kolten Wong did not get a good jump on his 3rd inning steal of 2B, But Jeff Samardzija was really slow to the plate.
- In the 3rd, Tommy Pham fouled a ball off his groin. Apparently he does not wear a cup. He was injured. Injured bad.
- In the final out of the 4th inning, Carlos Martinez caught a pop out instead of one of his infielders. Turns out that Carpenter lost the ball in the sun, so Carlos stepped in.
- Matt Carpenter has gotten better at 3B. He still can’t throw, but he compensates with a quick release, and he’s been rangy as hell. I can live with this.
- Proposed nickname for Bud Norris: Bud Ice. Thank you for your time.
Fowler has been bad but his effort shouldn't be questioned, Matheny is bad but he isn't shunning players. The only thing concrete from all of this is that Mo's comments were uncalled for. Maybe we can stop championing the dramatic narrative just for publicity?— Tanner Puckett (@tannercpuckett) July 7, 2018
The Cardinals will look to cinch the 4-game series tomorrow, sending Jack Flaherty up against Madison Bumgarner. Game starts at 3:05 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.