Game 8 recap notes--Cards lose 6-4 amidst a boatload of walks and a bullpen meltdown

The Padres threw another rookie at us for Game 2 of the series in the form of changeup artist Chris Paddack who made his major league debut on March 31, and had never pitched in AAA. Michael Wacha was hoping to provide us with his second quality start. He did so, but walked 8 and the bullpen blew his 1-run lead.

The Padres got on the board right away in the 1st inning. With 1 out, Hosmer walked and Machado fought off a 1-2 up-and-in fastball for a base hit grounded through the right side to move Hosmer to 3rd. Renfroe jerked a fastball down the middle for a double down the right field line to score Hosmer, move Machado to 3rd and give the Padres 1-0 lead. Wacha had Cordero in the hole 0-2, but lost him to a walk to load the bases for Myers. Fortunately, Myers hit a center-cut fastball on the first pitch right to DeJong for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to end the threat. Wacha got away with 2 walks in the 2nd inning when the pitcher couldn’t sacrifice Tatis to 2nd and Hosmer lined out to center with runners on 1st and 2nd and 2 out.

In the 2nd, Yadi got us our first hit by lining a low 3-2 changeup through the middle for a base hit. Fowler grounded a ball towards Kinsler at 2nd base that could have been a double play ball, but it went under his glove. It could have gone either way, but it was ruled an error and Yadi went to 3rd. Unfortunately, Fowler got caught rounding the bases on the throw and he was tagged out after getting into a rundown. Wong hit a Sac Fly to left to score Yadi and tie the score 1-1.

Wacha started the 3rd by issuing his 5th walk of the afternoon to Machado, and he got a running lead to steal 2nd base. Wacha then issued a career high walk #6 to Renfroe to put runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody out. He was, however, able to pitch around it, retiring Cordero, Myers and Tatis with 2 strikeouts on changeups. Wacha settled down in the 4th, retiring the side on 11 pitches and 3 groundouts, but still had 74 pitches thrown through 4 IP.

With 2 out in the bottom of the 4th, Fowler and Wong worked back-to-back walks, forcing Paddack to throw 15 pitches between them. Pads’ manager Andy Green had seen enough after 89 pitches and brought in Robert Stock to pitch to Bader, but he walked him on 4 pitches to load the bases. With a chance to strike, Shildt let Wacha hit with the bases loaded, and he struck out. He apparently felt that Wacha had earned another inning with his quick work in the 4th, and thus far he has demonstrated that he does not want to go to his bullpen to start the 5th. It was still a curious decision, given that Gant and Mayers have had 2 days of rest. Wacha came out to pitch the 5th and issued his 7th walk to Renfroe with 2 outs, but otherwise retired the Padres.

As of the bottom of the 5th, the two respective pitching staffs had given up 3 hits and 12 walks. Carpenter got us our 2nd hit of the game by lining a ball through the right side to beat the shift. Goldschmidt flew to right deep enough for Carpenter to alertly and aggressively tag up and advance to 2nd base. After DeJong struck out, Ozuna waited on a 3-2 hanging slider from Strock and torched it into Big Mac Land in left field for a 2-run HR to give the Cards a 3-1 lead. Surprisingly, Wacha came out to pitch the top of the 6th, having given up 7 walks and thrown 98 pitches. But after getting behind Myers 3-0, Wacha was able to strike him out with the next 3 pitches. Tatis laced a double down the left field line on the first pitch, but Shildt left him out there. On pitch # 112 and a 3-2 count, Wacha struck out Hedges looking on a high changeup that could have gone either way. Franmil Reyes pinch hit for the reliever Strock, and Wacha walked him on a 3-2 count with pitch # 119, which tied a career high in pitches thrown for him. Shildt finally made a double switch to bring in Gant to pitch to Kinsler and Tyler O’Neill to play LF and bat in the # 9 spot. Gant got behind Kinsler 3-0, but settled down to get him to 3-2 and then used a high fastball to get him to pop to 1st in foul territory to stop the threat.

Fowler led off the bottom of the 6th by smoking a double down the right field line off of reliever Matt Wisler. Bader sacrificed him to 3rd with 1 out, but O’Neill stranded him at 3rd with a popout to short. Hosmer cut the Cards’ lead to 3-2 in the top of the 7th by slicing Gant’s 1-1 hanging changeup for a HR over the left field wall. The Cards had a chance to get some insurance in the 7th. Carpenter worked a 3-2 walk despite luckily not getting rung up on a check swing on the 2-2 pitch. With 1 out, DeJong smoked a base hit to left that ate up Tatis at short and bounced over his glove. J. Martinez pinch hit for Gant in the # 4 spot with runners on 1st and 2nd and grounded softly to the pitcher. With the runners going on the 3-2 pitch, they were able to advance to 2nd and 3rd for Molina, who grounded out to 3rd to end the inning.

Shildt brought out Miller to pitch the top of the 8th despite no lefties being on the menu. Tatis took him to 3-2 before working a leadoff walk. Hedges also worked Miller to 3-2 before lining a center-cut fastball into the left-center field bullpen for a 2-run HR to give the Padres a 4-3 lead. After the pinch-hitter Mejia grounded out, Miller, who had no fastball command, walked Kinsler. Goldschmidt got himself turned around and dropped a foul popup for an error. Then Miller had Kinsler picked off first base, but DeJong dropped Goldschmidt’s throw to 2nd, and he was credited with a stolen base. With 2 out, Machado then went down and lined a low slider for a 2-run HR to left that hit the Central Bank sign just over the top of the green wall. With the Padres up 6-3 now, Miller was done and Mayers came in to pitch and gave up a double to Renfroe before retiring Margot—who had pinch hit for Cordero in the 5th—on a popout to 1st. Bader dove for the Renfroe drive to left-center, and nailed his own face on his arm while breaking his glasses. It took him a while to get up, but he appears not to have been injured.

Craig Stammen came out for the Pads to pitch the bottom of the 8th. Fowler roped a base hit to left-center, then Wong lined a double down the right field line that went to the sidewall in foul territory and was picked up by a fan. The fan interference likely did not affect the result of runners being at 2nd and 3rd. After Bader struck out, O’Neill nibbled a ball toward 3rd, but the charging Machado couldn’t throw O’Neill out in time. The infield single scored Fowler to cut the lead to 6-4, but Wong stayed at 2nd base. But the Cards could do no further damage, as Carpenter struck out looking on an inside fastball and Goldschmidt chased ball 4 outside to ground to 2nd base. After Mayers escaped the 9th without allowing a run, Pads closer Kirby Yates retired DeJong and our pinch hitter Gyorko quickly before allowing a 2-out base hit to Molina, who took 2nd on defensive indifference. But Fowler struck out badly on a split-finger down the middle to end the game.

Odds and Ends: Brett Cecil had surgery to deal with his carpal tunnel syndrome on April 1st, and there's a good chance he might be done for the year, if not for the Cards for good...If Wacha's lead had held up, he would have been the first Cards' pitcher to win a game with 8 walks since Jerry Reuss on July 24, 1971 at Montreal. The last Cards pitcher to do it while allowing 1 ER or less like Wacha had was Bob Gibson on August 18, 1962 against the Mets, when he pitched a 10-0 complete game, 3-hit shutout...The 1-6 Cubs have allowed an astonishing 59 runs through 7 games, with another 13 last night. The hard luck Reds are 1-7, losing 6-5 to the Pirates in 10 innings today. Before today's game, they were the first team since the 1905 Cleveland Naps to get shut out in 4 of their first 7 ballgames.