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Cards Soar into First Place with a Season High 18 Hits and a 13-4 Win over Reds

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Cubs lost in walkoff fashion for the 2nd night in a row

St Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With the Cardinals losing 2-1 last night with only two hits and failing to take advantage of the Cubs’ loss to the Phillies on a walkoff grand slam, we were hopeful that the club could rebound tonight against Reds’ starter Luis Castillo. Most Cardinals had not hit Castillo well, who came into the game only allowing a .163 AVG against right-handed batters, but a .217 AVG against left-handers. Tommy Edman drew the start in right field tonight on the strength of his 2 for 3 career batting line against Castillo, and Mike Shildt proved tonight that we know nothing about player evaluation when Edman rewarded Shildt’s small sample size faith with a 3 for 5 day. Everything that happened today resulted from Edman’s setting the table for the entire lineup—the Cards hitting 4 home runs, the Cards exploding for 18 hits, their single-game high for the year, even Wainwright’s quality start with only 1 BB and 6 SO was all due to the inspiration the 24-year old switch-hitter provided in the #2 hole. Edman’s aura even wafted over to Pittsburgh, where the Pirates drew on Edman’s energy to hand the Cubs their second walkoff loss in as many days. Edman for MVP.

With 1 out in the top of the 1st, Edman got lucky when he wasn’t rung up looking on a 2-2 low-and-away fastball on the corner. He worked a 9-pitch at-bat before poking a low-and-away changeup into left-center for a base hit. Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a high fastball. Ahead in the count 3-0, Marcell Ozuna ripped a 3-2 hanging slider to left towards the line that went to the wall. Edman was running with the pitch and scored all the way from 1st to score and give the Cards a 1-0 lead.

Paul DeJong grounded a low changeup towards the 3rd base line, but Eugenio Suarez was playing right over the bag, grabbed it and made a strong throw to first to get DeJong by a step. Shildt loves good at-bats, and the 5 Cards hitters that inning forced Reds starter Luis Castillo to throw 31 pitches.

With 2 out in the top of the 2nd, Wong was jammed on an inside fastball, but sliced it off the handle in almost the same fashion he did last night, down the 3rd base line and opposite the shift for a base hit. He was held to a single this time. Adam Wainwright sharply grounded a center-cut fastball through the hole to left for a base hit. Dexter Fowler had the green light on 3-0 and he smoked a center-cut fastball into the seats over the 370 foot sign in right-center for a 3-run HR to extend the Cards’ lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Wainwright has struck out half of the 6 batters he has faced, and has allowed no hits. In the top of the 3rd with 1 out, Ozuna went down and softly grounded a low-and-away slider through the hole for a base hit. On the 0-1 pitch to DeJong, Castillo hung a high changeup and DeJong destroyed the pitch, lining it over the center field wall for a 2-run HR to extend the Cards’ lead to 6-0.

The Reds got their first runner in the bottom of the 3rd when Tucker Barnhart worked a 3-2 walk. He got lucky doing so, too, because the home plate umpire called 3 pitches balls that easily could have been called strikes, especially the last pitch, which was a cutter on the inside corner and should have been called a strike. Jose Iglesias popped a pitch to right in foul territory, but Edman dropped it while on the run. He was given an error on the play. On the next pitch, he poked an outside cutter through the hole to right for a base hit to move Barnhart to 2nd base. But Wainwright would escape damage with his old faithful curveball. The pitcher Castillo couldn’t get the sacrifice down and struck out on a foul bunt. Nick Senzel struck out looking at a high curveball, and Josh VanMeter flied a low curveball to left to end the inning.

Edman hit a center-cut fastball for a sinking liner to left with 1 out in the top of the 5th that Phillip Ervin charged and caught on one hop for a base hit, and Ervin was lucky it didn’t get by him for extra bases. After being behind in the count 0-2, Goldschmidt worked the count to 3-2 and absolutely torched a low-and-outside fastball for a 2-run HR into the seats in right-center field for a 2-run HR to extend the Cards’ lead to 8-0. As you can see, the ball went out of the park on a rocket in a hurry.

This is now the most runs that Castillo has allowed in a game in his career. After Ozuna grounded out, Reds’ manager David Bell decided he didn’t want Castillo facing DeJong again, so he brought former Card Matt Bowman, just recalled from AAA yesterday, in to pitch. He got DeJong on a grounder to short and struck Carpenter out on 3 pitches to end the inning. Barnhart sliced a cutter to left for a base hit with 1 out in the bottom of the 5th. But he was erased when Iglesias grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, with Goldschmidt making a spin tag at 1st after DeJong’s offline throw. Wainwright has cruised along with his low-velocity assortment and only 63 pitches.

Molina got jammed on a low-and-in sinker to lead off the top of the 6th, and squibbed it just past the mound out of the pitcher Bowman’s reach. The first baseman VanMeter went over to get it and looked to flip, but there was no one covering 1st. Second baseman Freddy Galvis ran over to receive the flip, but Molina slid into the bag feet first before Galvis could touch the base. The slide, of course, was completely unnecessary, and players just don’t accept that it’s never faster to slide in this situation than it is to just run. Nonetheless, Molina had an infield hit, and Wong sliced an outside sinker for a groundball through the hole to left for a base hit to move Molina to 2nd. Wainwright flied out to shallow right. Fowler softly lined a low-and-away sinker for a base hit to left-center to score Molina, move Wong to 3rd and extend the Cards’ lead to 9-0. Edman softly lined an 0-1 inside cutter for a jam shot base hit just over Galvis’s head to center for a base hit. Wong scored to give the Cards a 10-0 lead. Center fielder Nick Senzel made an off-balance throw to 3rd base, but not only did Fowler easily slide in safely, but the throw bounced, got away from Suarez at 3rd and went into the camera well. Fowler was awarded home plate to score on Senzel’s throwing error to make it 11-0 Cardinals, and Edman was also awarded third base. Suarez did a poor job in not blocking the ball, and Bowman did not cover 3rd base in time to stop the ball. Suarez also hurt his hand by getting tangled up with Fowler at 3rd base. After Kyle Farmer came out to replace Suarez at 3rd base, Goldschmidt grounded a 1-2 curveball through the hole to left with the infield in to score Edman and give the Cards a 12-0 lead, and there is still only 1 out. Ozuna got jammed, but still blooped an inside fastball for a base hit to left-center to move Goldschmidt to 2nd. DeJong struck out looking on 3 pitches to bring up Carpenter, the only Cardinal who has yet to get a hit, but he grounded out to 1st to end the inning.

For the bottom of the 6th, Shildt decided to give Ozuna a rest. Lane Thomas came into the game in Ozuna’s #4 spot. Edman shifted from RF to LF, so we can get him some experience in LF if we decide to rest Ozuna in the future. Fowler moved from CF to RF. With 1 out, Senzel grounded a fastball through the right side for a base hit. VanMeter smoked a low-and-in curveball to the right-center field gap. Thomas ran over, but whiffed on the sliding catch, deciding not to dive headfirst for it. It got by him to the wall for a double to score Senzel and the Cards’ lead was cut to 12-1. Farmer hit a hot shot for a grounder headed for the hole, but Carpenter made a nice running grab and spun around and threw him out at 1st. With 2 out and a runner at 3rd, Aristedes Aquino just bombed a low-and-away cutter into the left-center field seats for a 2-run HR to cut the Cards’ lead to 12-3. That was Aquino’s 10th HR in just his 55th career PA, and no one in baseball history has reached double digit home runs that fast. Galvis sharply grounded a center-cut fastball into right for a base hit that bounced off the edge of the glove of the diving Wong. Ervin popped a pitch towards the right field line. Both Wong and Fowler ran for it. Fowler called for it, but it dropped just under his glove and bounced into the stands. The umpires called it foul, but the Reds challenged. On review, it was clear that the ball bounced just inches foul, and the call on the field was upheld. Ervin grounded into a 6-4 force to end the inning.

The Reds brought in righty Joel Kuhnel to make his major league debut in the top of the 7th. Other defensive changes were Barnhart moving from C to 1B, VanMeter moving from 1B to 3B and Farmer moving from 3B to C. Kuhnel struck Molina out swinging at a 97 mph tailing fastball. But Wong welcomed the rookie to the big leagues by launching a low 98 mph over the right-center field wall for a solo HR to give the Cards a 13-3 lead.

Only at 80 pitches, Wainwright hit for himself and flied out to left. Fowler drove a center-cut fastball that one-hopped the right field wall for a double, and the Cardinals have now tied their season-high with 17 hits. Edman grounded to short to end the inning. Yairo Munoz replaced DeJong at SS for the bottom of the 7th. Barnhart lined a cutter into the right-field corner for a leadoff double. Iglesias grounded a curveball to 3rd for an out. The pitcher Kuhnel hit for himself and grounded out to 2nd to move Barnhart to 3rd. Senzel grounded a ball right to Carpenter at 3rd, but he moved his glove up before he had the ball, with the ball going right through his legs into left field. Barhnart scored to cut the Cards’ lead to 13-4 and Senzel reached first base. The tv crew said nothing at first, but according to Gameday, this play was scored a base hit for Senzel. The home scorer decides what is a hit and what is not, according to the official statistics, and whoever it was that scored that a hit needs to be fired immediately. There is no baseball league in the universe in which that play is a hit, whether it is T-ball, high school or the major leagues. The ball was a normal speed grounder hit right to Carpenter and went right through his legs. The scorer was so egregious on that play, that I don’t even need to cite the Official Rules to explain how egregious it was. Later on in the game, the scorer did change this to an error, so I’ll consent to the Reds’ scorer keeping the job for one more game, despite the fact that not scoring that an error immediately was still a fireable offense. Shildt had seen enough and brought in Brebbia to pitch to VanMeter, who popped a slider to Goldschmidt to end the inning.

Righty Kevin Gausman came out for the top of the 8th. Wieters pinch hit for Goldschmidt and struck out on 3 pitches. Randy Arozarena is now the only Cards’ position player left on the bench. Thomas worked a 3-2 walk. Munoz lined a pitch off of Gausman’s glove, but he recovered, picked it up and threw Munoz out, with Thomas advancing to 2nd. Carpenter worked a 3-2 walk. Molina grounded to short to end the inning. For the bottom of the 8th, Wieters stayed in the game to catch, with Molina moving to 1B. Brebbia came back out to pitch and retired the Reds in order with 2 strikeouts. The Reds decided to bring in a position player, Jose Peraza, to pitch the top of the 9th. Wong one-hopped a grounder to Barnhart towards the line, but Peraza didn’t cover the bag, and Wong raced to 1st for his 4th hit of the night. It’s a cheap way to get the Cards’ season-high 18th hit in a single game, but we’ll take it. Arozarena pinch hit for Brebbia and popped to Barnhart at first near the camera well. The Cards are now out of bench players, but will probably be fine, as Yairo Munoz is the emergency third catcher, although I’m sure Edman can do the job as well. Fowler decided to go up to the plate right-handed against the right-handed, sidearm-throwing Peraza, presumably because he was short a triple for the cycle, and thought it more likely he would hit a triple right-handed. He hit to shot to Barnhart at 1st. On the television angle showed at home, Barnhart’s back was facing the viewer, and we had no idea if it was a grounder or a catch for a lineout. Wong raced back to first, but Barnhart threw to Iglesias at short. The umpire signaled out. Fowler didn’t run to 1st, and when Iglesias fired back to Barnhart at 1st, the umpire signaled out again for a double play, with no arguments from the Cardinals.

Arozarena stayed in the game in the #9 spot to play RF, with Gallegos coming out for the bottom of the 9th to pitch in the #1 spot. Gallegos got the first 2 batters to pop to Molina at first base in foul territory. Michael Lorenzen, the Reds’ 2-way player, pinch hit for Iglesias. Lorenzen worked an 11-pitch at-bat, but finally struck out on a slider to end the game.

Odds and Ends

The Cubs went into the bottom of the 9th against the Pirates with a 2-1 lead, but lost in walkoff fashion for the second night in a row to fall one game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central Division. With 1 out, Kyle Ryan allowed an infield single to Bryan Reynolds. Joe Maddon brought in Brandon Kintzler, who last pitched on August 5th, and just came off of the 10-day IL today without having gone on a minor league rehab assignment. Starling Marte tapped a ball slowly back to the mound, which allowed Reynolds to move to 2nd base. Maddon went with the “Don’t let the best player on the other team beat you” school instead of “It’s bad to put the winning run on base on purpose” school and had Josh Bell intentionally walked to set up the double play. Erik Gonzalez ran for Bell. Trying to nibble low-and-away, Kintzler walked Colin Moran on 5 pitches. Cole Tucker pinch-hit for pitcher Keone Kela and worked a 3-2 walk on a low changeup to tie the game. Kevin Newman fouled off 4 pitches and worked the count to 3-2 before grounding a center-cut two-seamer up the middle for a walkoff base hit. I wouldn’t normally embed a video of an unrelated game, but I couldn’t resist in this case.

In the bottom of the 8th with the game tied 1-1, Brewers reliever Junior Guerra walked Trea Turner on a 3-2 pitch, and Anthony Rendon hit an RBI double to lead the Nationals to a 2-1 victory, which Sean Doolittle preserved with his 28th save. The Brewers’ loss dropped them to 2 games behind the Cards in the NL Central division...Harrison Bader went 2 for 3 with 2 doubles, Dylan Carlson went 2 for 4 with a SO and Andrew Knizner hit a 2-run shot in Memphis’ 8-2 victory over the Iowa Cubs. Although Jake Woodford walked 4, he only gave up 1 hit and allowed no runs...Springfield beat Arkansas 5-2 with all 5 runs coming on a 2-run HR by Johan Mieses, a 2-run HR by Rayder Ascanio and a solo shot from Elehuris Montero. Starter Angel Rondon threw 7 IP with 4 H, 1 BB and 7 SO...Palm Beach beat Daytona 6-2. Reliever Ramon Santos was charged with an earned run, but struck out 4 in 1.1 IP...Ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the 5th, Kane County hit 2 doubles, a single and a 2-run HR off of Peoria starter Michael Brettell, and the Chiefs lost 4-3.