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Cardinals Bullpen Falters late, Rockies win 9-1

We did, however, see a strong start and a special home run

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

After seven-and-a-half innings of low-scoring baseball, Colorado teed off on some key St. Louis hurlers as the Rockies went on to defeat the Cardinals by a 9-1 final score. The win for the Rockies evens the series at one win apiece and sets up a rubber matchup in the finale.

The Cubs won and the Brewers lost on Saturday; in the National League Central division, Chicago is now 75-53, four games up on the 72-58, second-place Cardinals and 4 12 better than Milwaukee. The Wild Card race is.. well, wild. The Cardinals hold the top seed by a half-game, while the second spot is tied by three clubs; the Rockies, Brewers, and Diamondbacks.

John Gant started for the Cardinals on Saturday and pitched one of his best games of the season. In seven innings, though he issued five walks, Gant held the Rockies to three hits and one run. That run was a pinch-hit, two-out home run for Matt Holliday. That was the first home run for the longtime Cardinal of 2018 and his first as a Rockies player since 2008. Holliday was pinch-hitting for starting pitcher German Marquez. In seven shutout frames, Marquez held the Cardinals to three singles and one walk with nine strikeouts. Adam Ottavino, though he surrendered the only tally, was the winning pitcher and improved to 6-2. Former Cardinals reliever Seung Hwan Oh pitched a clean ninth inning to polish off Colorado’s victory.

In the top of the eighth inning, outfielder Harrison Bader scored the game-tying run on a wild pitch. Bader’s speed heavily factored in to the Cardinals’ lone run of the evening, one where the team totaled just five hits with 13 strikeouts. Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and Greg Garcia were the only starters to not punch out, while Matt Adams and Tyler O’Neill had three whiffs apiece.

With three runs allowed in the eighth inning, Cardinals rookie right-hander Dakota Hudson took the first loss of his big-league career after four wins. Hudson recorded one out and faced four batters to open up the frame before Brett Cecil failed to retire any of the three batters he faced. Colorado scored three runs off Cecil and two more off Mike Mayers, who also faced three batters without recording an out. Luke Weaver notched the final two outs of the inning in his second relief appearance of the season.

The injury bug bit the Cardinals on Saturday. Second baseman Kolten Wong was removed after tweaking his left hamstring while legging out an infield groundball and is diagnosed with a sprain. Following the contest, manager Mike Shidt noted that Wong and the trainers are not overly concerned with the severity, but will determine the course of action after an evaluation on Sunday. Mayers experienced diminished velocity in his outing, so the usage of him will be worthy of keeping tabs on.