Final game in the pressure cooker of Marlins Stadium and its 412 spectators.
Adolis Garcia, making his major leag——you know what, just read the tweet.
There was only one Fox Sports Keys to the Game™ today. As Tim McCarver intoned gravely: “This is the Cardinals September. [long pause] Even though it’s August.” Tim went on to explain that the Cardinals’ hearts were ringing in the keys their souls were singing.
The Cardinals got on the board right off the bat as Yadier Molina put up his 15th HR of the year - his 9th since coming back from the general rearrangement of his tiddlywinks on June 5th. Note to Tyler O’Neill: power after a well-publicized crotch injury IS possible.
In the 2nd inning, the Marlins would even up the score as Miguel Rojas drove in Starlin Castro (who reached base on a walk, despite his career 5% BB%). However, the Marlins stranded two more as Magneuris Sierra (hey, it’s that guy!) and Trevor Richards made two quick outs on three total pitches.
Kolten Wong made a heck of a play to end the 4th inning, robbing Martin Prado of a hit.
The sixth inning provided some great highlights, courtesy of Matt Carpenter, of course. Carpenter hit his 31st home run of the season, a solo shot that pushed him to 3rd on the MLB leaderboard, just ahead of some rando named Mike Trout. I would like to put forth a theory: perhaps we were all having a collective hallucination when we thought Matt Carpenter had such an abysmal start to the season. Maybe through the first 25 games of the season he DIDN’T have .579 OPS and 65 wRC+. Perhaps we IMAGINED that he had fewer HRs through the first 9 weeks of the season than he’s had since August began. Or maybe this is the hallucination, where we’re making up a happy ending of the season for Matt Carpenter because we can’t bear to face how so many turned their backs on him early in the season, like our own Cardinal-themed version of Atonement.
The Cardinals would also score another run in the 6th off the bat of Marcell Ozuna, whose double drove home Jose Martinez, gangly legs flailing akimbo to power him to score from first.
Taking somewhat of a backseat to this (because DINGERZZ), John Gant was having a sneaky great game. Throwing 6 IP on a mere 63 pitches, Gant gave up only 2 hits and 1 walk, with 4 straight 1-2-3 innings.
In the 7th inning, the Marlins turned to RP Kyle Barraclough (hey, it’s that guy!), who hit Yadi in the upper arm/back region with a fastball, but was able to pick him off first base. Jose Martinez hit a bloopy single to right, but despite his sneaky speed displayed in the sixth inning, he was lifted for Harrison Bader (and his frickin’ gazelle speed out there). A brief injury delayed the game when Bader’s helmet popped off while stealing second and thwacked him in the face. Despite a little blood, Bader stayed in the game. An intentional walk to Marcell Ozuna brought in Paul DeJong, who delivered with a 2 run double to put the Cardinals up 5-1.
Dakota Hudson continued Gant’s strategy of completely shutting down the Marlins offense by getting 5 quick consecutive outs across the 7th and 8th, including an out on a fantastic lineout grab by DeJong. (Forgive me, I neglected to mention the contribution of Shasen Chreve, getting the out in between Gant and Hudson’s appearances.)
In the 9th inning, the Marlins got wise to Matt Carpenter’s whole “I’m slugging .920 over the last 7 days” business and intentionally walked him. This strategy, similar to the one earlier in the game, backfired, as Yadier Molina hit one past RF Brian Anderson, allowing Carpenter and Wong to easily stroll home. Cardinals up 7-1.
With a 6 run lead, the warming Jordan Hicks sat back down and Mike Mayers was brought in to mostly uneventfully finish out the game.
Off day tomorrow, then the Cards pick back up in Kansas City against the Royals at 7:15 Friday.