The Cardinals won their opening series of the second half, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday 5-2 in front of 43,439 straw hat covered fans on Bastille Day. Adam Wainwright (6-7) earned the victory for the Cardinals with a brilliant performance, while D-Backs starter Zack Greinke (10-4) absorbed the loss. To my knowledge, this makes the Cardinals undefeated on straw hat giveaway days, which means they should give them away all the time.
Skipper Mike Shildt ran an interesting lineup out for the series finale. Andrew Knizner earned the start behind the plate, Yairo Muñoz hit second and played shortstop in place of Paul DeJong, and Tyler O’Neill- fresh off of singlehandedly winning Saturday’s game- hit clean-up. Adam Wainwright, Friday’s scheduled starter scratched due to back issues, was given the make-up start on the mound. Opposing him for the Snakes was Zack Greinke, whose velocity continues to decline even if his effectiveness has yet to do so.
Wainwright made efficient work of the Diamondbacks in the first inning, retiring the side with two strikeouts and a groundout on just 12 pitches. With two outs in the bottom half of the first, Paul Goldschmidt smacked a shattered-bat single to left field and came around to score on O’Neill’s drive down the third base line. The Dense Pillar of Meat’s double kicked around the left field corner, giving him five RBIs in his last five at-bats. The inning ended with the Cardinals up, 1-0, and O’Neill’s promise to Make-a-Wish kid Preston is officially fulfilled.
Tyler O'Neill drives in his 5th RBI of the last 24 hours! pic.twitter.com/4wRl1fkgNH— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 14, 2019
Waino continued to buzz through Arizona’s lineup in the second, fanning Adam Jones and Alex Avila after procuring a groundout from Christian Walker to lead off the inning. Kolten Wong led off the bottom half of the inning by spraying a single to the opposite field, but then TOOTBLAN’ed his way off the bases when Greinke picked him off of first. Greinke then struck out Knizner and retired Harrison Bader on a flyball to Jones.
Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed stroked a single leading off the third for the D-backs’ first hit of the day. He advanced to second on Ildemaro Vargas’ groundout to Goldschmidt, and third on Greinke’s groundout. Wainwright plunked leadoff hitter Tim Locastro, placing runners at the corners with two outs. Ketel Marte’s flyball to center fielder Harrison Bader ended the top half of the inning with the Cardinals still up, 1-0.
Wainwright led off the bottom of the third with a walk and advanced to third when Ahmed air-mailed a throw to first trying to double Wainwright off on Matt Carpenter’s line-out. Muñoz followed with a wet duck fart single past the glove of Vargas at second base, bringing Wainwright home for a 2-0 lead. The next batter, Goldschmidt, deposited Greinke’s second pitch of the at-bat just next to Big Mac Land to extend the lead to 4-0.
Paul Goldschmidt destroyed this baseball! pic.twitter.com/5RkXYJjRSc— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 14, 2019
Dexter Fowler and Wong racked up a few more base hits in the inning, but Knizner grounded out to end the threat. The inning ended with a walk, four hits, and three runs scored.
Arizona could only muster a two-out single by Adam Jones against Wainwright in the fourth. Bader started the Cardinals half of the inning with a double off of the right-centerfield wall. Wainwright bunted him to third, and Bader scored on Matt Carpenter’s sacrifice fly one batter later. Muñoz flied out to left field, ending the fourth inning with the Cardinals ahead 5-0.
Ahmed singled to lead off the fifth inning, but Wainwright erased him on a force out with Vargas at the plate. Then, he coaxed a double-play ball out of Greinke to end the inning. After a scoreless bottom of the fifth, the Diamondbacks put Wainwright in danger in the sixth with a leadoff single by Locastro and a walk by Marte. However, Waino danced around it, retiring the next three hitters. To Greinke’s credit, he retired the next nine Redbirds in order following Bader’s leadoff double in the fourth. Andrew Chafin relieved him after six innings. Greinke’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, and one homerun allowed.
Wainwright continued his turn back the clock moment in the seventh, retiring the Diamondbacks in order. His day ended when Tommy Edman pinch hit for him to lead off the bottom of half of the inning. Wainwright was brilliant, scattering four hits, one walk, and one hit batsman across seven shutout innings. He also racked up seven strikeouts, allowed just two hitters to reach scoring position, and reduced his 2019 ERA at Busch Stadium to 2.33.
Chafin and reliever Zack Godley combined to retire Edman, Carpenter, and Muñoz in order in the seventh. Wainwright’s replacement Dominic Leone was greeted with a leadoff single in the eighth inning by Domingo Leyba. Locastro hit a line drive that ricocheted off of Leone to Wong, who nearly turned it into a double play. The ricochet, a force out, left Locastro at first with one out. Ketel Marte followed with a walk. Leone escaped the jam by striking out Eduardo Escobar and Christian Walker. Godley allowed only a two-out single to Fowler in the bottom half of the inning, sending the game to the ninth with the Redbirds holding their 5-0 lead.
Leone gave way to John Brebbia to begin the ninth inning. Brebbia allowed a leadoff single to Jones, a one-out walk to Ahmed, a two-out single to Leyba plating Jones, and an infield single to Locastro that scored Ahmed. Brebbia departed with two outs and the lead diminished to 5-2, giving way to closer Carlos Martínez. Ketel Marte greeted Martinez with a walk to load the bases for Eduardo Escobar. Fortunately, Martínez drew a flyball out from Escobar to cinch the game.
Adam Wainwright’s vintage performance makes him the Blue Mountain Full Nelson Player of the Game, with honorable mention going to Goldschmidt for his two-run homerun. The Cardinals (46-45) begin a three game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at 7:15 CST tomorrow night at Busch Stadium.
- Scoring based on the author’s beverage:
-Blue Mountain Full Nelson (first bottle): 1-0, Cardinals
-Blue Mountain Full Nelson (second bottle): 4-0, Cardinals
-New Glarus Spotted Cow: 0-0
-Hardywood Richmond Lager: 0-2, Diamondbacks
- Andrew Knizner needs to play more in Yadier Molina’s absence. We know what Matt Wieters is, we know what that ceiling looks like, and it’s limited to serviceable backup catcher at this stage of his career. Knizner, however, has so much more helium.
- Today is both Bastille Day and Ingmar Bergman’s birthday, or what I think of as “Bergstille Day” in honor of two events near and dear to my heart. If you’d like to celebrate, enjoy some ratatouille and brie, crank up La Marseillaise, and play a board game with the personification of Death.
- You had to love Dan McLaughlin’s story about Adam Jones answering every single piece of fan mail at the behest of his mother. Jones is truly a fan favorite regardless of his on-field results and I’m glad more National League fans are seeing what Baltimore got to see up close for so long.
- Get well soon, Bob Gibson