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Bullpen Allows Five Homers and Blows 6-2 Lead, as Cards lose 11-9 in Game 2

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Wild Card Round - St Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres - Game Two Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Welp. At least the Cards have Jack Flaherty going tomorrow, and the Padres don’t know who they have. The Cards were winning this game 6-2 going into the bottom of the 6th, and by the time the inning was over, the game was tied 6-6. If the homers would have stopped there, the Cards won the game. But the bullpen ended up allowing 5 total home runs, which is a Cardinal playoff record. I won’t entirely spoil the 4 hour and 19 minute extravaganza in this opening paragraph, but if there is any silver lining in the loss, one can point to two things. The Cardinal offense has been alive during the series, and even after the club lost the lead in Game 2, the offense refused to quit. And again, the Cardinals have Jack Flaherty pitching tomorrow. The Padres have not even announced a starter yet, used 9 pitchers in this game and 8 pitchers in Game 1. The candidates that were previously thought to have a shot to start Game 3, Garret Richards and Adrian Morejon, both pitched in this game, and Richards has pitched in both. Six Padre relievers have pitched in both games, including Drew Pomeranz and Trevor Rosenthal, who looked shaky in this game. Dan Altavilla, Tim Hill and Luis Patino are the only Padre pitchers who haven’t taken the mound yet in the series, and the Padres are probably going to try and cobble together a bullpen game with baling wire. Hopefully Jack can give the Cards enough innings that at most the Cards need either Andrew Miller or Alex Reyes in relief, as Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley have already pitched in both games for the Cards. And hopefully, the offense continues their fight to score Jack enough runs to win.

Righty Zach Davies took the hill for the Padres. Kolten Wong grounded an outside 2-2 change to Eric Hosmer at first for the 3-1 flip to lead off the game. Tommy Edman grounded a low-and-away 2-2 change up the middle for a base hit. Paul Goldschmidt smoked a 3-2 inside change for a grounder towards the 3rd base line. Third baseman Manny Machado fired to 2nd base, but Edman was running on the 3-2 pitch and slid in safely to beat the throw. Jake Cronenworth threw to 1st base to get Goldschmidt and the Cards avoided the double play. With a runner on 2nd and 2 outs, Dylan Carlson worked a 3-2 walk, laying off some enticing low-and-away changeups. With 1st baseman Eric Hosmer playing off the line, Yadier Molina sharply grounded a low-and-away 1-2 sinker to Hosmer’s left and through the right side for a base hit. Edman scored to give the Cards a 1-0 lead and Carlson moved to 3rd base.

Paul DeJong grounded a low-change to 3rd for the 5-4 force to end the inning. Adam Wainwright took the mound for the Cards. Trent Grisham smoked an low-and-in 1-2 curve down the 1st base line that was headed for extra bases, but Goldschmidt made a great diving stop, hopped up and beat Grisham to the bag for the out to start the bottom of the 1st. Fernando Tatis, Jr. grounded a low-and-away 2-2 curve through the hole to left for a base hit. Manny Machado grounded an outside 0-1 sinker to the right side. Wong drifted to his left, fielded the ball, spun to his left, and fired to DeJong at short for a nifty inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.

To lead off the top of the 2nd, Matt Carpenter ripped an outside 3-2 change down the right field line and into the corner for a double. Dexter Fowler struck out swinging at a low-and-in 1-2 change almost in the dirt. Harrison Bader sharply grounded an outside 2-2 sinker up the middle for a base hit to score Carpenter and give the Cards a 2-0 lead. The center fielder Grisham fired the ball home over the cutoff man and indeed over the catcher’s head and the ball went back to the backstop. This mistake allowed Bader to move to 2nd base. Wong then drove an inside and elevated 2-0 sinker well over the right field wall for a 2-run HR to extend the Cards’ lead to 4-0.

Edman struck out chasing a low-and-away 1-2 change. Goldschmidt struck out looking at an 0-2 sinker to end the inning that was low-and-in and clearly off of the plate. To lead off the bottom of the 2nd, Eric Hosmer popped a first-pitch inside sinker to Wong over the 2nd base bag on the grass in shallow center. Tommy Pham squibbed a low-and-in 2-2 sinker a slight bit down the 3rd base line in front of the mound. Wainwright came off the mound, but realized he had no play and ate the ball and Pham had an infield base hit. Mitch Moreland drove an 0-1 outside curve deep to left, but Carlson spun around and caught it at the track. Wil Myers dribbled a 3-2 low-and-away curve for a grounder to the right side. Wong raced far to his left, and knowing he didn’t have time to get the ball in his glove, flipped the ball to Goldschmidt at 1st with the glove itself to barely nip Myers at 1st base and end the inning.

Carlson struck out swinging at a 2-2 hanging cutter to lead off the top of the 3rd. Molina flied an outside 0-2 cutter to right-center for Myers in front of the track. DeJong struck out chasing a 2-2 cutter low-and-away and out of the zone to end the inning. To lead off the bottom of the 3rd, Austin Nola struck out looking at a 2-2 curve that might have clipped the inside corner. Jake Cronenworth grounded an inside 0-1 curve through the right side for a base hit past the glove of the diving Wong, who was positioned on the outfield grass in the shift. Grisham walked on 4 pitches, and at least one of those pitches was inconsistent with the zone this umpire has established earlier in the game. The 2-0 pitch was clearly a strike without any expansion. Wainwright, however, would shut down this threat. Tatis struck out in strange fashion on the 2-2 pitch. The pitch was a sinker running inside that clipped the barrel of the bat of Tatis as he tried to check his swing and landed in Molina’s mitt.

Machado struck out looking at a 2-2 sinker that caught the low edge of the zone to end the inning.

Lefty Adrian Morejon came out to pitch for the Padres in the top of the 4th. Carpenter flied a low-and-away 1-2 slider to shallow left-center for Grisham to lead off the inning. Fowler grounded a 2-2 outside change to short. Bader chased an outside 1-2 change and flied out to shallow center to end the inning. Hosmer sliced an up-and-in 1-2 sinker inside the 3rd base line and into left for a base hit to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Pham then lined a first-pitch inside sinker up the middle to center for a base hit to move Hosmer to 2nd. Moreland ripped a 2-2 center-cut fastball to right-center for a base hit to load the bases with nobody out. Myers smoked a low-and-away 0-1 curve towards the 3rd base line. Edman made a great diving stop to save an extra-base hit and stepped on the 3rd base bag for one out. He fired to 1st base after that, but Myers beat out the throw to reach on the fielder’s choice. Hosmer scored to cut the Cards’ lead to 4-1 and Moreland advanced to 2nd base. At least one more run would have scored if Edman had not made that stop. Wainwright’s 2-2 pitch to Nola was a curve in the dirt that bounced off of Molina’s chest protector and got away to his left for a wild pitch that allowed Moreland to advance to 3rd base. Inexplicably, Myers stayed put at 1st and did not move to 2nd. On the 10th pitch of the plate appearance, Nola worked a 3-2 walk to load the bases again with only 1 out. Shildt then pulled Wainwright, who was at 73 pitches, and brought in Austin Gomber to pitch to the lefty Cronenworth, who worked a 3-2 walk after being behind in the count 0-2. Moreland scored to cut the Cards’ lead to 4-2. Grisham struck out swinging at a 3-2 94 mph fastball on the outside corner. Tatis struck out swinging at a high 0-2 95 mph fastball to strand the bases loaded and end the inning.

Wong sliced an outside 2-2 fastball and flied it to left towards the line for Pham, but he just flat missed it. The ball eluded Pham’s glove and bounced off of his throwing hand to the ground for an error that allowed Wong to reach 2nd base. Edman lined a 2-0 low-and-in curve to left-center, but Pham made a running catch for the out this time. Righty Austin Adams then came out to pitch to Goldschmidt, who flied a 2-1 high-and-outside slider to left-center, deep enough to allow Wong to tag up and advance to 3rd base. Adams then hit Carlson on the right foot with a 1-1 slider and the ball deflected from his foot and hit him under the chin. Molina grounded a low 1-1 slider to short. The throw from Tatis bounced to first, and although Hosmer’s picking the ball from the dirt took his momentum off of the bag, he was able to recover and tag the base in time to beat Molina to 1st and end the inning.

To lead off the bottom of the 5th, Machado grounded a low-and-away 0-1 change to short. But DeJong’s throw was too high and forced Goldschmidt to jump, pulling him off the base. Goldschmidt tried to make a swipe tag, but missed. The Cards challenged the play, apparently arguing Goldschmidt did tag Hosmer, but the ruling on the field was upheld with the replay showing that it wasn’t even close. I’m not sure who told Shildt to challenge that call, but it was a wasted challenge. Machado reached on DeJong’s error, but he was erased when Hosmer grounded a 1-0 high slider to Wong for another spinning throw to 2nd and a 4-6-3 double play. Pham hit an inside 3-2 fastball for a bloop to right field that dropped in front of Fowler for a base hit. Jurickson Profar pinch hit for the lefty Moreland and hit a first-pitch low curve for a sinking liner that dropped in front of Bader for a base hit to move Pham to 2nd base. Shildt then brought in Ryan Helsley on no rest to pitch to Myers, who struck out looking at a 1-2 low-and-in 99 mph fastball to end the inning.

After DeJong worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the top of the 6th, the Padres made another pitching change and brought in lefty Matt Strahm to pitch to Carpenter, who also worked a 3-2 walk. He could easily have been punched out on the 2-2 pitch, a fastball that looked like it might have clipped the top of the zone, but was called a ball. Fowler sliced an 0-2 high-and-outside fastball to the opposite field for a liner that one-hopped the right field wall for a double. DeJong scored to extend the Cards’ lead to 5-2 and Carpenter moved to 3rd base. On the 10th pitch of the plate appearance, Bader struck out swinging at an up-and-in 2-2 slider. Wong slowly rolled an outside 1-2 slider up the 1st base line. Strahm raced over, fielded the ball and flipped it to 1st to nip Wong for the 2nd out. Carpenter scored to give the Cards a 6-2 lead, with Fowler moving to 3rd base. The Padres then brought in righty Garrett Richards to pitch to Edman, who grounded a low-and-in 0-2 curve to 2nd to end the inning.

Shildt brought in Genesis Cabrera, also on no rest, to pitch for the Cards in the bottom of the 6th. Nola walked on 5 pitches to lead off the inning, and Cabrera was wild high. Cronenworth then worked a 3-2 walk. Grisham struck out looking at an 0-2 low-and-away curve. Shildt then brought in Giovanny Gallegos, again on no rest, to pitch to Tatis, who smoked a low 2-2 low slider over the left field wall for a 3-run HR to cut the Cards’ lead to 6-5. Gallegos threw the same pitch the pitch before, and this time Tatis burned him.

Machado then launched a high 3-2 fastball over the left field wall for a solo HR to tie the game 6-6.

Hosmer grounded a first-pitch low slider to Goldschmidt at 1st for the 2nd out. Pham drove a center-cut 1-1 fastball off of the left-center field wall for a double. Profar struck out swinging at an up-and-in 1-2 fastball to end the inning.

Righty Emilio Pagan came out to pitch for the Padres in the top of the 7th. Goldschmidt crushed a first-pitch outside fastball to deep center field. Grisham raced back and looked like he might have had a great leaping catch while crashing against the wall. But the ball bounced off of the heel of Grisham’s glove and bounced off the wall. Goldschmidt ended standing up safely with a double. But the Cards could not take advantage. Carlson popped an inside 0-1 fastball to Tatis, who ran all the way to the outfield grass in left to get it. Molina grounded an 0-2 outside cutter towards the middle. Tatis drifted to his his left and fielded out on the outfield grass for the out. Goldschmidt moved to 3rd on the play. DeJong struck out swinging at an outside 1-2 fastball to end the inning. Daniel Ponce de Leon came out to pitch for the Cards in the bottom of the 7th on 5 days of rest. Myers crushed a 1-2 up-and-in cutter over the left field wall and off of the brick just inside the foul pole for a solo HR to give the Padres a 7-6 lead, their first lead of the series.

After Nola worked a 3-2 walk, Cronenworth struck out swinging at a low-and-away 2-2 fastball. Grisham struck out swinging at an outside 0-2 fastball. Tatis drove an outside 3-2 fastball over the right-center field wall for a 2-run HR to extend the Padres’ lead to 9-6, with a bat flip for good measure.

Machado popped a high 0-1 curve to DeJong on the outfield grass to end the inning.

Lefty Drew Pomeranz came out to pitch for the Padres in the top of the 8th and hit Carpenter on what looked like the side of his back with a 2-1 fastball. Fowler grounded a low 1-1 fastball to the hole on the left side. Tatis made a diving stop, but when he tried to throw Carpenter out at 2nd, he threw the ball wide to the right of Cronenworth. The ball rolled all the way to the right field line, which allowed Carpenter to move to 3rd and Fowler to advance to 2nd. The play was ruled a single for Fowler and a throwing error on Tatis. Bader flied an outside 2-2 fastball deep to right-center for Grisham. Carpenter scored on the Sac Fly to cut the Padres’ lead to 9-7 and Goldschmidt tagged up and went to 3rd. Wong drove a high 1-0 fastball deep to left-center, but Grisham ran over for the catch. Fowler scored on the Sac Fly to cut the Padres’ lead to 9-8. Edman struck out chasing a 2-2 curve in the dirt to end the inning.

Tyler Webb came out to pitch the bottom of the 8th. Hosmer popped an 0-2 low change foul to Molina behind the plate. Pham sharply grounded an 0-1 outside change to 3rd. Profar grounded an up-and-in 0-2 fastball through the hole to left for a base hit. Shildt then brought in Kodi Whitley to pitch to Myers, who drove a center-cut 2-1 fastball over the center field wall for a 2-run HR to extend the Padres’ lead to 11-8.

Nola sharply grounded a low 1-2 change towards the 3rd base line. Edman made a nice play behind the bag at the edge of the outfield grass and make a strong throw to 1st to end the inning.

Righty Trevor Rosenthal came out to try to close the Cards out in the top of the 9th. Profar, who had become the DH when he pinch hit for Moreland in the 5th, moved from DH to LF. Rosenthal was required to be placed in the order in the #5 spot vacated by Pham, and the Padres forfeited the DH. To lead off the inning, Goldschmidt drove an outside 0-1 99 mph fastball over the left-center field wall for a solo HR to cut the Padres’ lead to 11-9. After Carlson walked on 4 pitches, Molina grounded a low-and-away 1-2 slider through the right side for a base hit to move Carlson to 2nd. That was Molina’s 100th career hit in the postseason, which is 5th all-time.

Tyler O’Neill ran for Molina. But the Cards ran out of magic. DeJong popped a 2-2 hanging slider to 2nd. Carpenter was ahead in the count 3-1. Rosenthal dropped a 3-1 slider on the edge of the outside corner for strike 2. Carpenter then chased a 3-2 slider in the dirt and struck out. Fowler grounded a first-pitch low-and-in slider to Hosmer at 1st, who stepped on the bag to end the game.

The Cards play the Padres tomorrow night (actually tonight now) at 6:08 p.m. Central time on ESPN in a winner-take-all Game 3 with Jack Flaherty on the mound.

Wainwright (4 days rest) 3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO; Gomber (3 days rest, bottom 4, 1 out, based loaded, ahead 4-1) 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, allowed 1 out of 3 inherited runners to score; Helsley (no rest, bottom 5, 2 out, men on 1st and 2nd, ahead 4-2) .1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Cabrera (no rest, bottom 6, ahead 6-2) .1 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 2 ER (both actually allowed by Gallegos) 2 BB, 1 SO; Gallegos (no rest, bottom 6, 1 out, men on 1st and 2nd, ahead 6-2) .2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 2 HR, allowed 2 out of 2 inherited runners to score; Ponce de Leon (5 days rest, bottom 7, tied 6-6) 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR; Webb (4 days rest, bottom 8, down 9-8) .2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Whitley (5 days rest, bottom 8, 2 out, man on 1st, down 9-8) .1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR.

ODDS AND ENDS

Yadier Molina played in his 100th postseason game, which is 6th all-time...Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Will Myers joined elite company in this game. The only other time in MLB postseason history that teammates have had a multi-HR game was in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series, when Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit 2 homers off of Chicago Cubs’ starter Charlie Root. That was the game in which Babe Ruth supposedly “called his shot.” Whether Ruth actually called his shot has been hotly disputed, but this article points out there is a newly discovered and previously unheard audio clip from Lou Gehrig, where Gehrig claims that Ruth indeed did call it...This was only the 2nd time in Cardinal postseason history that the club has blown a game in which it had a 4-run lead. The other time was Game 4 of the 1982 World Series when the Cards were ahead 5-1, but the Brewers scored 6 runs in the bottom of the 7th to win the game 7-5. The Cards would turn out to win 2 out of the next 3 games to win the series 4 games to 3...It turns out that the 5 home runs the pitching staff allowed in this game is not a Cardinal postseason record. That distinction goes to the staff in Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS against the Cubs, which allowed 6 homers. Michael Wacha allowed 3 home runs and Adam Wainwright, Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton allowed 1 each...This was only the 4th time in Cardinals postseason history that the pitching staff has allowed 4 or more homers in a playoff game. Other than Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS, the other 2 times were in Game 4 of the 1928 World Series when the Yankees hit 5, and in Game 6 of the 1967 World Series when the Red Sox hit 4 homers off of starter Dick Hughes...This was the only time in Cardinal postseason history that the bullpen has allowed more than 3 homers. The only other times a Cardinal bullpen has even allowed as many as 3 homers were Game 3 of the 2015 NLDS, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series (Rangers hit 2 off of Lance Lynn and 1 off of Jason Motte in an 11-inning game) and Game 7 of the 1996 NLCS (Braves hit 1 each off of Andy Benes, Mark Petkovsek and Rick Honeycutt)...Giovanny Gallegos and Daniel Ponce de Leon joined an elite club of Cardinal relievers that have allowed 2 homers in a single postseason game. That list includes Grover Cleveland Alexander (Game 4 of the 1928 World Series), Syl Johnson (Game 6 of the 1930 World Series), Bob Forsch (Game 1 of the 1987 World Series), Mike James (Game 1 of the 2000 NLCS), Lance Lynn twice (Game 6 of the 2011 World Series and Game 2 of the 2012 NLDS), Kevin Siegrist (Game 4 of the 2015 NLDS) and Carlos Martinez (Game 1 of the 2019 NLDS). There have been Cardinal starters that have allowed 3 or more homers in a postseason game, but no individual reliever has allowed 3...The American League playoff field is set. The ALDS is #1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. #5 New York Yankees and #2 Oakland Athletics vs. #6 Houston Astros. Oakland beat the White Sox 6-4 in Game 3 of the only American League Wild Card Series that did not result in a sweep. The White Sox were ruined by 9 walks, an early hook and a pitching injury in the deciding game...After blowing several chances to take the lead in Game 1, the Reds were shut out again by the Braves 5-0 in Game 2. They are the only club in MLB history not to score at all in a postseason series, and their 22 innings without a run broke the record set by the 1921 New York Giants, who started the first 20 innings of the 1921 World Series against the Yankees without scoring...The game between the Cubs and Marlins was postponed due to inclement weather, and Game 2 of their series will be played at 1:00 p.m. on ABC. Other than the Cardinals/Padres series, the Cubs/Marlins series is the only series that has yet to be resolved. Clayton Kershaw pitched 8 innings of 3 hit ball with 1 walk and 13 strikeouts, as he led the Dodgers to a 3-0 victory and sweep of the Brewers. By Game Score, this was Kershaw’s best every postseason start. This was only the 3rd time in Los Angeles Dodgers postseason history that a pitcher has pitched at least 8 innings with 13 strikeouts. The other times were Carl Erskine in Game 3 of the 1953 World Series and Sandy Koufax in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. Kershaw joined Cliff Lee (2010 ALCS Game 3) as the only left-handed starters in the history of the MLB postseason to strike out 13 men while allowing no runs.