Other than one little bitty Ozuna play, this was probably the Cards' best game yet. Flaherty had his most efficient outing of the season with 8 strikeouts, and the bullpen only walked 1. Cards' hitters solved Kenta Maeda's changeups and got the insurance runs when they needed them.
The Dodgers were working the count deep on Flaherty in the 1st. Pederson sharply grounded a base hit through the right side past Goldschmidt’s glove. Seager struck out looking and Turner worked a 14-pitch plate appearance before grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. The other batters combined were only thrown 9 pitches combined for a total of 23 in the first inning. Maeda struck out both Goldschmidt and DeJong in the 1st, and both had a little trouble with his changeups. Flaherty struck out 2 more in the 2nd for 43 total pitches. The Cards took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd. Ozuna smoked an 0-2 high fastball over Pederson’s head in left that one-hopped the left-center field wall for a double. After Ozuna surprisingly stole 3rd on a great jump, Yadi drove him in on a slow grounder to 3rd with the infield back to give the Cards a 1-0 lead. Both Fowler and Wong struck out on changeups to end the inning. Each side allowed the leadoff man to reach in the 3rd, but had no other baserunners. For the Dodgers, Flaherty hit Barnes on the left hand. The Cards appealed to the 1st base umpire to see whether Barnes went around, but the umpire ruled he did not. Maeda couldn’t get the sacrifice and struck out on a foul bunt. Bader walked on 4 pitches and Flaherty sacrificed him to 2nd, but neither Carpenter nor Goldschmidt could bring him home. To this point, the Cards had only had 2 baserunners and 1 hit.
After Turner gave us a scare in the 4th by flying out to the wall at center, Bellinger hit a slider like a rocket right at Goldschmidt for an out and Flaherty blew a high fastball by Muncy for his 5th strikeout. Through 4, he was at 71 pitches. The Cards got going with 3 hits and an insurance run in their half of the 4th. DeJong dribbled a 2-1 outside slider towards short that Seager charged, but couldn’t come up with cleanly, and it was ruled a hit, which gave DeJong a career-high 11-game hitting streak. Ozuna poked an outside slider off the end of the bat for a bloop hit to right that moved DeJong to 3rd. Ozuna, however, was caught rounding the bag too far with no shot to go anywhere. Alex Verdugo in right threw it behind Ozuna to nab him at 1st. Ozuna tried to twirl and dive back to the bag, but fell short and was tagged out easily. After that terrible piece of baserunning, Molina flew out to short right, short enough that he couldn’t bring DeJong in. But Fowler softly—very softly—looped a base hit to right to score Molina and extend the Cards’ lead to 2-0. That was Fowler’s 6th hit of the year and 1st RBI. Wong grounded to 2nd on a great diving play to end the inning.
Flaherty continued his efficiency in the 5th by retiring the Dodgers in order with his 6th strikeout. It looked like he had at least 1 more inning in him, so Shildt let him bat in the Cards’ half of the 5th, but the Cards were retired in order on 11 pitches. Turner made a nice sliding play at 3rd to nab Bader’s grounder and retire him by a step. Flaherty struck out both pitcher Kenta Maeda and Corey Seager, but in between allowed a solo HR to Joc Pederson, who hit a high fastball into the Cards’ bullpen in right-center to cut the Cards lead to 2-1. That HR broke Flaherty’s streak of 10 retired in a row. Fowler misjudged it a little and looked like he was going to jump for it, but he was too far to the right to give it a shot. He almost certainly would not have been able to make the play regardless. The Cards exploded for 3 runs in their half of the 6th. Goldschmidt blooped an inside slider off his fists to center that the charging Taylor dove for, but couldn’t catch. DeJong softly flied a 1-0 slider to left that Pederson both ran and dove for, but he missed and it went all the way to the wall. Goldschmidt scored all the way from 1st to extend the Cards’ lead to 3-1, and DeJong had a stand-up triple. After Ozuna struck out badly, Molina hit the first pitch, a low-and-away outside slider just barely over the wall in left-center for a key 2-run HR to give the Cards a 5-1 lead. Lefty Scott Alexander came in to retire Fowler and Wong to end the inning.
With Flaherty done after 99 pitches, Tyler Webb came on in relief for his first big league appearance to pitch the 7th. With 1 out, Muncy hit a 3-2 89 mph center-cut fastball to left. Ozuna had a hard time locating it, spun around and jumped, but it went just barely over his glove and over the wall, just under the blue Athletico sign in left field for a solo HR to cut the Cards’ lead to 5-2. Although it was a HR, it was a very catchable ball if Ozuna had timed it correctly. After the Dodgers announced righty Enrique (Kike) Hernandez as a pinch-hitter for lefty Alex Verdugo, Shildt brought in Mayers on no rest, and he struck out both Hernandez and Taylor to retire the side. Righty Dennis Santana came out for the bottom of the 7th and allowed a 2-out bloop base hit to Carpenter, but no other baserunners. Brebbia came in with no rest to pitch the 8th, and other than allowing a 1-out walk to the pinch-hitter A.J. Pollock (after he had him in the hole 0-2), took only 5 pitches to get the other 3 outs.
Recalled yesterday from AAA, reliever JT Chargois came out to pitch the 8th for his second straight appearance against the Cards. DeJong lined a fastball to left-center for a leadoff base hit. Ozuna finally squared up a hanging slider, and this time smoked it to left field off the foul pole at the top of the 2nd deck for a 2-run HR to give the Cards a 7-2 lead. This one had an exit velocy of 110 mph. Chargois retired the rest of the side, and the Cards brought out Leone for the 9th to give Hicks another day of rest in a non-save situation. Although he allowed a 1-out base hit to Bellinger, he retired the rest of the side in the 9th, including a game-ending strikeout of Hernandez to give the Cards’ staff 11 strikeouts on the day against just 1 walk.
Odds and Ends: Yadi hit his 147th career HR tonight, which put him in sole possession of 13th place for HRs by a Cardinal all-time. He needs 5 more to catch Joe Medwick, who was the last NL player to win the triple crown in 1937...There are only 2 relievers in the NL that have yet to allow a run. One is Josh Hader, the other is John Brebbia...Hat tip to VEB user "mekonsruck", who pointed out that entering tonight's ballgame, the Cards' bullpen was running a .160 BABIP, were 24th in K rate and only 3 MLB bullpens allowed more walks. Let's hope we meet somewhere in the middle, and the right things regress to the mean at the right time...The Marlins were poised to beat the Reds, who only had 1 hit through 8, but then reliever Drew Steckenrider allowed solo HRs to SS Jose Iglesias and RF Jesse Winker to give the Reds the 2-1 victory...Yu Darvish allowed 2 more HRs today to help the Cubs lose 5-2 to the Pirates, and is sporting a nifty 7.50 ERA...The Brewers had won 8 out of 10 ballgames to start the season, but tonight the Angels completed a 3-game sweep with a 4-2 win. The Halos touched starter Brandon Woodruff for 2 walks and 3 straight singles in the 3rd for all the runs they would need...In case you were wondering and hadn't looked it up, the reason the players are all wearing MLB 150 patches is to recognize the Cincinnati Red Stockings, who formed in 1869 as the first baseball team, all the members of which were paid. The National League as we know it was not formed until 1876, and Retrosheet statistics only go as far back as 1871 for the National Association. So they're not recognizing the founding of "Organized Baseball" as it has come to be known, but the 150th anniversary of the first recognized professional team...40-man roster LHP Genesis Cabrera was credited with a loss and a blown save, as he lost a 2-1 lead by allowing back-to-back doubles in the 6th and 2 more runs after that. After John Nagowski narrowed San Antonio's lead to 4-3, Cabrera gave up a HR in the 8th. Memphis tied it 5-5 in the 9th on Nagowski's bases loaded walk and Edman's Sac Fly, but spring NRI Chris Beck lost it for the Redbirds in the bottom of the 9th on a double, walk, intentional walk and walk-off single...The Cards have been committed to giving Drew Robinson and Yairo Munoz playing time at Memphis, while Lane Thomas has been moved to LF and Edmundo Sosa has not played much lately...AA Springfield lost again tonight 12-6, and have started the season 0-7, with 3 of the losses by 1 run. The starting pitching is a major problem, and Cards spring NRI Williams Perez, who has MLB service time, was torched for 6 runs and 2 HR in 2.1 IP. For all of the discussion about the pitching depth in the Cards' organization, it is actually very thin once you get below AAA Memphis...Peoria extended their record to 5-2 behind the strong starting pitching of Alvaro Seijas and the 3-4 day from another kid to watch named Leandro Cedeno, who went 3 for 4.