The Cardinals won 3-2. Miles Mikolas was very good tonight, despite surrendering 2 runs. He banked a series of quick innings to extend himself deep into the game, and could have gone deeper had he not been lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 8th. He never looked particularly stressed — he was calm, cool, and collect. Dakota Hudson continues to impress in his first taste of the big leagues, and Bud Norris the lead stand up.
Meanwhile, the offense could not buy a hit through the first 6 innings. And when they did, it went for naught. The Cardinals stranded 37 base-runners in the 3-game Pittsburgh series, 10 base-runners last night, and looked poised to be thwarted by that same ineffectiveness tonight. But Lopez lost a little bit of his feel in the 7th, and that was all the offense needed to pounce.
Paul DeJong, who looked caught in between fastballs and breaking balls for the last week, made some adjustments with his hands during his load, and it paid off with a series of well-struck balls, the last of which went for a HR that tied the game at 2. Then an inning later Matt Carpenter, who was 0-3 and threatening to end his 25-game on-base streak, launched a go-ahead HR to RF. It was all the bullpen needed.
Miles Mikolas: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 HR, 1 K, 0 BB, 67 GSc, 81 pitches.
Pablo López: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 HR, 5 K, 1 BB, 65 GSc, 108 pitches.
Pablo Lopez came out dealing. Gifted a generous strike zone both low and to his glove side, he fooled Carpenter with a 3-2 change up for a strikeout, got Yadi to roll over and ground out to 3B, and then got a bit of a gift called strike 3 on a 4-seam fastball to strike out Martinez. He threw 16 pitches in the scoreless frame.
The Marlins started out much like they did the night before. Derek Dietrich got things started by lining a 2-2 fastball into CF, and moved up to 2B on Anderson’s tap out back to Mikolas. Then, after Realmuto popped out to short RF, Justin Bour looped a 1-2 RBI single up the middle. Castro flew out to CF to end the frame on Mikolas’ 23rd pitch. 1-0 Marlins.
Again like last night, Marcell Ozuna was the only Cardinal to manage anything against the underwhelming Marlins starter. The Cardinal left fielder led off by BABIPing a soft single through the hole to the right side of the second baseman. Unfortunately, Gyorko flew out harmlessly to RF, DeJong followed with a fly out down the RF line, and Wong rolled over on a 3-2 fastball and grounded out to 2B. Lopez was up to 31 pitches.
Mikolas got a much-needed quick inning in the 2nd. He got Riddle out on a sharp come-backer with 2 pitches, Rojas to ground out to SS with 1 pitch, and then retired Sierra on 2 pitches with the help of a charging, barehanded play by Jedd Gyorko. Jedd slightly bobbled the ball and still got to the ball quickly enough, and got enough on the throw to nap the fleet former Cardinal. Mikolas was at 28 pitches.
The Cardinals couldn’t manage anything against Lopez again in the 3rd. Bader popped out to 3B before Miles Mikolas pulled a single through the hole in the left side of the infield. But Carpenter got brushed back and then frozen by a fastball over the heart of the plate, and Molina flew out to CF. Lopez was at 49 pitches.
Mikolas got a second consecutive expeditious inning in the 3rd. He got his counterpart to ground out to 2B on 2 pitches, surrendered another single up the middle to Dietrich on 4 pitches, and got Anderson to tap into another come-backer on 2 pitches. This one was converted into a brisk 1-6-3 double play. Mikolas was at just 36 pitches through 3.
Lopez kept mowing the Cardinals down. He got Martinez to shop out to 3B to start things, which took a good barehanded play by Rojas to convert. He then got Ozuna to ground out to 2B, and struck out Gyorko looking at a fastball. He was at 61 pitches.
Mikolas was also rolling. He got Realmuto to roll over on a fastball and ground out to 3B on the first pitch, Bour to ground out to SS, and Castro to strike out swinging at a slider low and off the plate. He was up to 46 pitches.
The Cardinals squandered an opportunity in the 5th. Paul DeJong led off the inning by guiding a double to LF, but was left stranded. Wong grounded out to SS, which advanced Paul to 3B, Bader flared out softly to SS, and Mikolas struck out swinging. U-G-L-Y. Lopez had thrown 74 pitches.
The Marlins turned around and rubbed the Cardinals’ nose in it. JT Riddle led of by ripping a triple down the RF line, and Miguel Rojas cashed him in by ripping an RBI single past a drawn in Gyorko. Mikolas recovered to get Sierra to ground into the first half of a double play (he’s fast,) Rojas to bunt him to 2B, and Dietrich to pop out to 1B. Mikolas was up to 63 pitches. 2-0 Marlins.
The heart of the Cardinals’ order was no match for Lopez. Carpenter rolled over on a 2-0 fastball and grounded out to 2B, Molina awkwardly swung at a 2-seamer thinking it was a cutter and grounded out to 3B, and Martinez did the same. The quick inning only bumped Lopez’s pitch count to 88.
Mikolas mowed down the heart of the Marlins’ lineup in turn. He got Anderson to chop a ground out to 1B, Realmuto to ground out to SS, and Bour to ground out to 2B. His pitch count was still just 71.
And just when it was looking like the Cardinals would never hit again... they did. Marcell Ozuna whetted the offense’s appetite by absolutely creaming a fastball and sending it deep to LF, only to fall just short of the wall and into Dietrich’s glove. Jedd Gyorko then worked the Cardinals’ first walk of the game, and Paul DeJong followed with a long line drive down the LF line that managed to clear the wall by a foot, and tie the game. Wong then grounded out to 2B, and Bader flew out to LF on Lopez’s 108th pitch. 2-2 Tie.
Mikolas kept cruising. Castro lined out to Martinez in RF (despite some interference from the weird lights in Marlins Park,) Riddle grounded out to SS, and Rojas popped out to DeJong in short LF. He was at just 81 pitches, but his spot in the lineup was coming due so his night was through.
Shildt and Mattingly jockeyed for match-ups to start the 8th, with Shildt deploying Yairo Munoz to pinch-hit for Mikolas, and Mattingly waiting for him to be announced before yanking his effective starter for Elieser Hernandez. Hernandez fell behind Munoz 2-0, but battled back to strike him out, bringing up Matt Carpenter. Carpenter worked a 3-1 count, and thought he had walked on a high fastball that was in the zone. He returned to the batter’s box and launched a towering fly ball to RF that cleared the wall and a leaping Brian Anderson by a couple feet. Yadi struck out swinging, and Martinez flew out to RF to end the inning. 3-2 Cardinals.
The stand-out Dakota Hudson entered to make the new lead stand up. Magnueris Sierra tried to test him with a bunt, but Yadier Molina did what he does best: he sprung from behind the plate like a man 10 years his junior, gobbled up the ball, and nailed Sierra by a step. Pinch-hitter Martin Prado then looped a ball a ball to short CF, but Harrison Bader did what he does best: he got a good read on it, charged it, dove, and made a spectacular catch. Then, after Dietrich ripped a single to CF, Hudson got an over-match Anderson to ground out to 3B.
Javy Guerra held the Cardinals in check in the 9th. Though Ozuna led off with a single through the left side of the infield, Gyorko flew out down the RF line, and DeJong struck out swinging. Kolten Wong put the pressure on by looping a single over SS, but Bader grounded out to 2B to cut the threat short.
Bud Norris closed this one out. He quickly got JT Realmuto to ground out to SS, then battled his command during a walk to Bour (who was pinch-run for by Yadiel Rivera,) and deep count to Castro (during which he uncorked a pitch wide of the plate on which Molina whiffed and saw go to the backstop.) But he was ultimately able to get Castro to ground out to 3B, and closed the door with a strike out of Riddle.
- Home plate umpire Chad Whitmore’s strike zone was a bit all over the place.
- The Cardinals really need to figure out these mediocre Marlins starters.
- I like this new Cardinal bullpen.
"Cardinals haven't had a 40+ HR season from a player since Pujols in 2010"— Tanner Puckett (@tannercpuckett) August 8, 2018
Matt Carpenter: "Hold my salsa"
The Cardinals look to win the series tomorrow, sending John Gant to face Trevor Richards. Game starts at 6:10 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.