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Six Run Second Inning Sparks Redbirds to 11-4 Victory

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Carpenter, Edman highlight seven run victory; division lead up to 2.5 games

MLB: Colorado Rockies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals busted out the brooms Sunday afternoon, earning a four-game series sweep over the Colorado Rockies with an 11-4 victory. Rain delayed the start time by over two hours. With the win, the Cardinals have now won 13 of their last 16 games and 27 of 41 since the All-Star break. Ryan Helsley (1-0) earned the victory, his career first, while Antonio Senzatela (8-8) took the loss for the Rockies. With the Washington Nationals completing a three-game sweep against the Chicago Cubs earlier in the day, the Cardinals’ lead over their division rival now stands at 2.5 games and 4.5 games over the third place Milwaukee Brewers.

The Rockies jumped on starting pitcher Michael Wacha in the first inning. Singles by Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado placed runners at the corners, setting the stage for Yonder Alonso’s two-out RBI single to put Colorado on top 1-0. Wacha struck out Tony Wolters to prevent further damage. An inning later, Garret Hampson drilled a solo home run over the left field fence on a fastball from Wacha. It was the only hit Wacha allowed in the inning, and it staked Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela to a 2-0 lead. It wouldn’t last long.

Marcell Ozuna answered with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the second inning, followed by a seven pitch walk to Paul DeJong.

One batter later, Yadier Molina hit a chopper to Senzatela, who caught Ozuna drifting between third base and home to erase the leadoff triple. It left the Cardinals with one out and runners on first and second. Fortunately, Matt Carpenter followed by slapping a fastball away to the opposite field to plate DeJong and shave the lead to 2-1. Harrison Bader followed with a strikeout, but Wacha kept the inning alive by smoking a line drive off the leg of Senzatela and running it out for an infield hit. It left the bases juiced for Fowler, whose walk knotted the game at 2-2. Then Tommy Edman lofted a flyball down the right field line that landed neatly in the corner for a two-run double and a 4-2 lead.

One batter later, Paul Goldschmidt mimicked Carpenter by slapping a pitch low and away to the opposite field for a single, scoring both Fowler and Edman and good for a 6-2 Redbird lead. It chased Senzatela from the game (1.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 K, 6 R/ER) as Jesus Tinoco replaced him. Tinoco walked Ozuna and allowed a single to DeJong to load the bases- keep in mind that this was the second time in the second inning that DeJong and Ozuna had been on base. Tinoco coaxed a blooper from Molina, which landed in Hampson’s sliding glove in center field to end the inning. When the smoke cleared, the Cardinals had batted around and scored six runs.

After a scoreless top of the third, Carpenter led off the bottom of the inning with a solo blast to extend the lead to 7-2, his 12th dinger of the season. Tinoco retired the next three batters with a lot of help from Arenado on out number three. To his credit, Wacha had settled in, yielding just one hit and one walk to the next twelve hitters he faced following the Hampson dinger in the second. That stretch ended when Arenado stung him for a two-out solo home run in the top of the fifth, shaving the lead to 7-3. Wacha’s night ended (4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) after a follow up walk of Ryan McMahon. Ryan Helsley relieved him and struck out Alonso swinging to snuff the rally.

In the bottom of the fifth with one out, Carpenter walked and Bader singled to place runners at the corners. Helsley hit for himself and struck out against reliever Wade Davis, but Fowler followed with a bloop... double? Is that a thing? in the Bermuda triangle between Arenado and left fielder Yonathan Daza, scoring both runners and expanding the lead to 9-3. Edman then singled, but Fowler was thrown out at the plate to end the fifth.

Helsley continued to spice up an increasingly boring (but fun blowout!) game by walking one, striking out two more Rockies in the top of the sixth, and doing this:

In the bottom half of the inning, Paul Goldschmidt doubled and scored on Molina’s single, pushing the lead back to a touchdown and extra point at 10-3 through six innings. The Rockies got the run back in the top of the seventh when Arenado doubled with two outs and scored on Bader’s extremely rare misplayed flyball.

Lane Thomas continued his small sample theater outburst with a pinch-hit solo home run to kick off the bottom of the seventh. It was his third pinch-hit bomb of the season in just 12 pinch-hit plate appearances, and restored the seven run lead at 11-4 headed to the eighth inning. John Brebbia relieved Helsley and worked around two walks leading off the inning to pitch a scoreless eighth mostly highlighted by this bit of beard chicanery:

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Brebbia came back out for the top of the ninth and retired the side in order to cinch the 11-4 win.

The Hardywood Brewing None of This Makes Sense Player of the Game is Matt Carpenter, who went 3-for-4 with a home run and deserves some love for being an awesome, charitable person who gives back to the city of St. Louis. Honorable mention goes to Ryan Helsley for chewing up and spitting out ten Rockies hitters and just generally pumping tasty 99 mph queso right through the heart of the zone.

The Cardinals open up a three game series in Milwaukee tomorrow when Adam Wainwright opposes Gio Gonzalez, a rematch of the fabled Kozma game that decided the 2012 NLDS. First pitch is slated for 6:05 pm CST. First Klement’s bratwurst at Miller Park is slated for the parking lot around 120 minutes before that, and first ballpark popcorn-with-real-butter chased by a Central Waters beer should happen around the 3rd inning.

Notes:

  • Scoring based on the author’s beverage:
    -Hardywood None of This Makes Sense (first can): 6-2, Cardinals
    -Hardywood None of This Makes Sense (second can): 3-1, Cardinals
    -Blue Mountain Full Nelson: 2-1, Cardinals
    -No beer: 0-0
  • Kolten Wong sat out the first of what will be many games after fouling a pitch off of his toe last night, requiring a hole to be drilled in his toenail to alleviate the pressure from the excess blood pooling underneath. If you survived that sentence and are still reading, Tommy Edman took his place at second base, hitting second in the order.
  • Per Dan McLaughlin, the Cardinals have won 14 of their 15 series against the Rockies in Busch Stadium III. In this particular four game series, the Cardinals outscored the Rockies 31-12.
  • The Player’s Weekend uniforms were dumb. To quote my wife, “They look like the sperm guys in the Woody Allen movie.” To verify how astute her observation was, these are absolutely the outfits from Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* But Were Afraid to Ask (1972).