After a disappointing, premature end to last night’s game with the Brewers, the Cardinals were looking to rebound tonight in the first game of a 4-game series with the Colorado Rockies with Miles Mikolas on the mound. The Cubs beat the Giants 1-0 earlier this afternoon to take a 1-game lead in the National League Central Division, which turned up the heat even more, although the Cards did start today with the lead for the 2nd wild card spot.
Mikolas’s last 2 starts had not gone well, with him allowing 14 hits and 4 HRs in just 10 IP. Although the Cards also hit the ball hard off of Rockies’ starter German Marquez, Mikolas allowed 8 hits and 5 ER in 6 IP, and hung a curveball to give up a critical 3-run HR. But this time, the Cards’ bullpen and bats bailed him out to give the Cards a come-from-behind victory, with the 5 walks allowed by the Rockies being a major contributor.
The game was scheduled to start at 6:45 p.m., but rain delayed the start until 7:35 central time. With 1 out in the bottom of the 1st, Kolten Wong lined a high fastball to center for a base hit. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a lined base hit to left to move Wong to 2nd. Marcell Ozuna blooped an up-and-in fastball that was in the air for a long time before dropping in front of center fielder Raimel Tapia. Wong handled the baserunning well, going half-way, then advancing to third when he was sure it was going to drop. Goldschmidt, on the other hand, did not fare so well. He went half way, then decided to retreat a few steps to back to first base. When the ball dropped, Tapia threw Goldschmidt out at 2nd base on a rare 8-6 force play. Paul DeJong flied out to deep right-center field to end the inning, and the Cardinals couldn’t get a run in.
Daniel Murphy sliced a low fastball to left for a base hit to lead off the top of the 2nd. Tapia grounded an inside slider through the hole on the right side to right field for a base hit to move Murphy to 2nd. Ryan McMahon grounded an outside fastball up the middle for a base hit at 103 mph off the bat. Murphy scored to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead and Tapia went to 3rd. When Harrison Bader threw the ball in to 2nd base, he one-hopped his throw to DeJong, and the ball got away for a throwing error to allow McMahon to move to 2nd base. Although Bader’s throw was not the best, as it appeared to handcuff DeJong a bit on a short-hop, DeJong has to use his body to block that ball to avoid allowing a 2nd runner to move into scoring position. After Ian Desmond struck out, play was delayed for a couple of minutes while a fan ran onto the field. Tony Wolters flied a fastball to medium center field for a Sac Fly to extend the Rockies’ lead to 2-0. The pitcher German Marquez fouled off the first pitch from Mikolas, and his backswing caught Yadier Molina on the wrist area of his glove hand. Shildt and the trainer came out to check on him, but he said he was okay to continue. Marquez tapped the next pitch back to the mound for the final out of the inning. Marquez then retired the Cards in order in the bottom half of the 2nd, including strikeouts of Tommy Edman and Bader on 7 total pitches.
Charlie Blackmon smoked an outside curveball from Mikolas to Wong’s right at 2nd base. Wong made a sensational play to stop the ball on one hop. But when he spun around to his right, his throw to Goldschmidt at 1st base was off-balance and bounced. The bounced throw was right to Goldschmidt, but Goldschmidt didn’t catch it, and the ball went by him, allowing Blackmon to move to 2nd base. Wong was charged with a throwing error. Maybe that’s unfair, and maybe when Danny Mac said that Wong should not have been the one to get the error on that play, he meant it would be unfair to do so. But according to the Offical Rules of Major League Baseball, specifically the Comment to Rule 9.12(a)(1), the official scorer did not have a choice in this case. That provision requires the scorer to charge the player who made a throw with an error when the throw strikes the ground if a runner reaches base that otherwise would have been put out by that throw. Fair or not, charging Goldschmit with an error was not an option. More good defense from the Cards, however, ensured that no damage was done. Trevor Story grounded to 3rd base with the runner not advancing. Nolan Arenado softly lined an outside curveball towards DeJong at short. DeJong leaped and caught the ball at the top of his jump, then flipped the ball to Wong at 2nd base to just barely double Blackmon off the bag.
The best middle infield in baseball is at it again! pic.twitter.com/X60nT42XZE— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 23, 2019
Daniel Murphy sliced a high hanging curveball through the hole to left for a base hit to lead off the top of the 4th. But he was stranded when Tapia hit a ball off of his fists for a 6-4 force, McMahon struck out on a curveball that dropped in the dirt, and Desmond ended the inning with a 6-4 force of his own. Goldschmidt led off the bottom half of the 4th by smoking a hanging slider past 3rd base down the line for a base hit that bounced off the sidewall, holding him to a single. Ozuna torched a hanging curveball into the 3rd deck into the seats in left next to Big Mac Land for a 2-run HR to tie the game 2-2.
DeJong chopped a low-and-away slider towards the hole on the left side. Both Arenado and Story charged for it. Arenado got a little too close to Story, distracting him, and it bounced off the heel of his glove, allowing DeJong to reach 1st base. The scorer decided that a clean fielding play would have retired DeJong, as Story was charged with a fielding error. Molina erased that runner when he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Edman sliced a tailing fastball to left for a base hit, but Bader grounded to short to end the inning.
With 1 out in the top of the 5th, the pitcher Marquez ripped a high 3-2 fastball down the line in right field into the corner for a double. Blackmon softly lined a low slider for a base hit to left. Marquez should have scored on the play, but he stopped and made a bad read, advancing only to 3rd base. Story popped out to 2nd for the 2nd out, but Mikolas hung a curveball to Arenado, who smoked it into the bullpen in left-center for a 3-run HR to give the Rockies a 5-2 lead.
After Marquez retired the Cards in order in the bottom of the 5th (including a strikeout of Mikolas), McMahon sharply grounded a base hit past the glove of the diving Wong with 1 out in the top of the 6th. But he was stranded when Desmond struck out and Wolters flied to Bader in deep left center, with Mikolas getting out of that half-inning on 9 pitches.
The Cards got back in the game in the bottom of the 6th. After Ozuna walked on 4 pitches with 1 out, DeJong laced an outside hanging 0-1 slider over the left-center field wall for a 2-run HR to cut the Rockies’ lead to 5-4.
No signs were destroyed in the making of this home run! pic.twitter.com/SFzPGYr14N— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 23, 2019
Molina worked a 3-2 walk. Edman sliced a fastball to left towards the line, but Desmond made a diving catch to rob him of a hit. Bader popped out to short to end the innning. Dominic Leone, just recalled from AAA Memphis this afternoon, came out to pitch the top of the 7th and retired the Rockies in order on 5 pitches. Righty Yency Almonte pitched the bottom of the 7th. It had been a long time since Matt Carpenter was healthy and sat the bench with a right-hander on the mound for the other team, but he came off the bench to pinch hit for Leone and worked a 3-2 walk. He fouled off 3 pitches before taking ball 4. Fowler then smacked a center-cut 97 mph fastball into the bullpen in right-center for a 2-run HR to give the Cards a 6-5 lead.
After Giovanny Gallegos came out for the top of the 8th and retired Arenado on a fly to center, Mike Shildt made another pitching change to bring in Andrew Miller to pitch to lefty Daniel Murphy. I was a little nervous about this call, as Miller had one day of rest yesterday after pitching 3 days in a row, while Gallegos pitches great against left-handers and had 2 days of rest. But it worked fine, as Miller got Murphy to ground to 2nd and struck Tapia out swinging on a sweeping slider out of the zone to end the inning. Righty DJ Johnson pitched the bottom of the 8th. Molina worked a 3-2 walk with 1 out. Edman lined a low-and-in fastball down the right field line and into the corner for a double. Almost any other runner on the Cards but Molina would have scored, but Molina could only make it to 3rd base. Bader walked on a 3-2 inside fastball to load the bases. Lane Thomas pinch hit for Miller and grounded a low 1-2 fastball to short for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, and the Cards could pick up no further insurance runs.
Carlos Martinez came out for the top of the 9th. After the umpire called a real close slider on the outside corner a ball, McMahon struck out swinging at a changeup in the dirt. Desmond worked a 3-2 walk after being down in the count 0-2 and took a real good changeup that was just inside for ball 4. Wolters walked on 4 pitches to put the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base. Lefty Yonder Alonso pinch hit for Johnson and struck out swinging at a nasty 2-2 changeup. Blackmon grounded a first-pitch changeup to short to end the game, and Martinez picked up his 15th save.
Odds and Ends
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