Before the game today, we learned that Miles Mikolas would be lost for the season to surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his throwing arm. Jake Woodford was recalled from the Alternate Training Site and Giovanny Gallegos was activated to the roster to give the Cards a full complement of 30 players. You can check out my piece here to get caught up on the roster moves and understand why the Cards started the season a man short.
Carlos Martinez was starting his first game since July 30th, 2018, and it did not go well. He missed location on several of his pitches, his slider was a little flat, and he didn’t use his changeup until it was too late. The Twins, who arguably have one of the best offenses in the game, took full advantage. On the bright side, the Cards’ bullpen pitched 4.1 IP of relief without allowing a single baserunner.
Twins’ starter Homer Bailey got Kolten Wong to ground a 1-2 inside fastball to first for the first out of the game. After Tommy Edman worked a 3-2 walk, Paul Goldschmidt flied a hanging slider to short left and Paul DeJong flied an outside slider to the track in right to end the inning. Carlos Martinez is making his first MLB start since July 30th, 2018 against the Rockies. Max Kepler fouled out to third on a high fastball. Josh Donaldson squibbed a high-and-outside 95 mph four-seamer to the left of the mound. Both Martinez and Goldschmidt broke for the ball, and when Martinez reached for it, it bounced off his glove, with no one in the vicinity to either field the ball or cover first base. Donaldson was credited with an infield single. Jorge Polanco lined a 1-1 low sinker to center for a base hit to move Donaldson to 2nd. Before throwing a pitch to Nelson Cruz, Martinez tried to pick Donaldson off of 2nd base, but bounced the ball, which got past Wong and went into center field. Donaldson moved to 3rd base and Polanco moved to 2nd base on the throwing error. After Cruz popped a 2-0 center cut fastball to Goldschmidt in foul territory for the 2nd out, Mike Shildt ordered an intentional walk to lefty Eddie Rosario to load the bases and bring up the righty catcher Mitch Garver. Garver ended up grounding a 3-1 hanging slider to Edman to end the inning, and the Cards escaped unscathed.
Matt Carpenter got jammed on a 2-0 inside fastball and flied out to center to start the top of the 2nd. Yadier Molina struck out swinging at a 1-2 splitter that was right down the middle. After Dexter Fowler worked a 3-2 walk, O’Neill lined an outside slider right off of Bailey’s glove, and Bailey was able to throw O’Neill out at 1st to end the inning. Luis Arraez looped a low-and-in 3-2 slider for a base hit to right to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. Miguel Sano ripped a low-and-in sinker just inside the 3rd base line and off the sidewall for a double to move Arraez to 3rd base. Byron Buxton grounded a low sinker to DeJong at short, who decided to throw home, but Arraez, who was going on contact, beat the throw and scored to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. DeJong was playing rather deep for that situation, must have thought Arraez wasn’t as fast as he was, took too long to get rid of the ball, and also threw the ball too high. Now the Twins have runners at 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Kepler lined a hanging curve to center for a base hit. Bader’s throw home was both short and off-line and the slow Sano made it home to extend the Twins’ lead to 2-0. Buxton went to 3rd on the play. Kepler could easily have made it to 2nd base on Bader’s throw, but inexplicably stayed at 1st base. With runners at the corners, Donaldson lined an outside fastball to the gap in right-center that kept on carrying, but Fowler extended his glove out and nabbed it close to the track. Buxton scored on the SAC FLY to give the Twins a 3-0 lead. Polanco then crushed a middle-in sinker over the wall and onto the grass in right for a 2-run HR to extend the Twins’ lead to 5-0.
Home Bomba. #BombaSquad | #MNTwins pic.twitter.com/jaTeDkIaxu— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 29, 2020
Cruz grounded out to short. Rosario flied a 3-2 slider to center to mercifully end the inning. Martinez has already thrown 52 pitches.
Harrison Bader led off the top of the 3rd looking like he wanted to bunt. He pulled back the bunt and let a fastball go for a strike. He charged and failed to pull back the bat on a slider outside the zone for the second strike. He then swung through a low slider for strike three. Wong struck out swinging at a 1-2 low-and-in pitch that looked like a splitter. Edman sliced a 1-2 splitter towards the left field line for a base hit and his speed allowed him to slide into 2nd base safely with a double. But Edman was stranded there, as Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a 3-2 splitter to end the inning. Martinez shut the Twins down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 3rd. Garver struck out swinging at a 1-2 fastball above the zone. Arraez grounded out to 2nd, and Sano grounded to 1st for the 3-1 flip to end the inning.
After DeJong sharply grounded out to 2nd base into the shift (2nd baseman playing to the right side of the bag) to lead off the top of the 4th, Carpenter lined a 2-2 inside fastball to right for a base hit. But Molina broke his bat on a slider and grounded into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. Martinez struck Buxton out on a low changeup to start the bottom of the 4th, and followed that by getting Kepler to tap back to the mound on the first pitch. Donaldson launched a 1-0 center-cut sinker the opposite way and onto the grass over the wall in right for a solo HR to extend the Twins’ lead to 6-0.
Welcome to the #BombaSquad, @BringerOfRain20! ☔️ pic.twitter.com/y1iakGEe0c— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) July 29, 2020
Shildt had seen enough and brought in Austin Gomber to pitch to Polanco. Polanco smoked a high fastball to the track in left-center, but O’Neill caught it up against the wall to end the inning.
The #STLCards get out of the fourth thanks to a slick catch from Tyler O'Neill.— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 29, 2020
Stream: FSGO - https://t.co/sRbYwjl2rd pic.twitter.com/QbLagnniT4
Fowler lined a 3-1 fastball to right for a base hit to lead off the top of the 5th. O’Neill then crushed a 3-2 hanging slider into the bullpen into the deepest part of the park (just to the left part of the center field wall) for a 2-run HR to cut the Twins’ lead to 6-2.
438 FEET... are you serious, @toneill21?!#STLCards pic.twitter.com/03MKTgPQZp— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 29, 2020
Bader popped a first-pitch up-and-in fastball to first. Wong got jammed and grounded a fastball to 2nd. Edman grounded a 3-2 fastball to 2nd to end the inning. To start the bottom of the 5th, Cruz got jammed on an inside fastball and blooped it to center, but Bader made a running catch for the out. Rosario flied a very low curve to left. At this point, play paused for a moment of silence to honor the memory of George Floyd. The message was “One team, one territory, united for change.” Garver then came to the plate and Gomber was wild high, but got him to strike out swinging at a 3-2 hanging curve to end the inning. With Homer Bailey at 80 pitches, the Twins decided to bring righty Tyler Clippard into the game in relief. Goldschmidt flied a 3-2 change to center to lead off the top of the 6th. DeJong chased a high fastball out of the zone and popped it to 3rd in foul territory for the 2nd out. Carpenter softly lined a 2-2 inside change to right that dropped for a base hit. Kepler looked like he had no interest in diving for it, although he was in range. Molina flied a center-cut fastball to left-center to end the inning. With Gomber still out there to start the bottom of the 6th, Arraez sliced a fastball toward the line in left. O’Neill made the catch look harder than it was and rolled over after the grab. Shildt then brought in Giovanny Gallegos to make his season debut to pitch to the righty Sano, who grounded a hanging slider to 3rd for the 2nd out. Buxton lined a first-pitch inside fastball right to Fowler in right to end the inning.
Righty Cody Stashak came out to pitch the top of the 7th for the Twins. Fowler failed to check his swing on a 1-2 slider that was way down-and-in and struck out. O’Neill flied a high first-pitch hanging slider to right-center. Bader sharply grounded an up-and-in fastball just inside the 3rd base line, past the glove of the diving Donaldson and off the sidewall for a 2-out double and his first hit of the season. But he was stranded there, as Wong sliced a too-high fastball to 3rd to end the inning. The game then cut to a video of a member of the U.S. Army singing God Bless America, including the first stanza that I must admit I don’t recall ever hearing and did not know existed. Gallegos’ brief tune-up was over, and Shildt brought in Tyler Webb to pitch to the lefty Kepler, who sharply grounded an inside fastball down the 1st base line. Goldschmidt made a great diving stop, sprung up and threw to Webb, who covered first and barely beat Kepler to the bag for the out.
All that spring training PFP paying off. Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler Webb team up to rob Max Kepler of an infield hit. #STLCards— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 29, 2020
Stream: FSGO - https://t.co/sRbYwjl2rd pic.twitter.com/BJpfOFnrt0
Donaldson was completely fooled and struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball over his head for the 2nd out. Polanco flied a first-pitch outside fastball to right to end the inning.
Righty Trevor May came out for the top of the 8th for the Twins. Edman drove a high 1-2 96 mph fastball to the wall in center. Buxton got lined up and leaped for the catch, but the ball bounced off the heel of his glove and went over the wall for a solo HR to cut the Twins’ lead to 6-3.
ICYMI: Tommy Edman puts one juuuuuuuuuuuust over the center field wall for his first homer of the season. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/J3Q9lgKTVY— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 29, 2020
But that would be all the Cards would get, as Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a 3-2 low-and-away slider. DeJong struck out swinging at a slider in the dirt. And Carpenter struck out when he failed to check his swing on an elevated 2-2 fastball. John Gant came out to pitch the bottom of the 8th and got Cruz to ground an 0-2 fastball to Goldschmidt at first. Rosario grounded an 0-2 changeup to DeJong into the shift for the 2nd out. DeJong was playing on the right side of the 2nd base bag. Gant then struck out Garver looking at a fastball on the outside corner to end the inning.
Righty Sergio Romo, who threw a slider 60% of the time last year, came out to pitch the top of the 9th for the Twins. Molina drove a low slider to the gap in left-center, but Rosario ran it down. Fowler flied a first-pitch low slider to center. After Romo hit O’Neill on the left thigh with a slider that didn’t break, Bader struck out swinging at an outside 2-2 slider to end the game.
Martinez 3.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 IBB, 2 SO, 2 HR; Gomber (1 day rest, bottom 4, 2 out, bases empty, down 6-0) 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Gallegos (bottom 6, 1 out, bases empty, down 6-2) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Webb (2 days rest, bottom 7, down 6-2) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Gant (2 days rest, bottom 8, down 6-3) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO.
ODDS AND ENDS
As most of you probably know, the Miami Marlins find themselves in a world of hurt. Half of their 30-man roster has tested positive for COVID-19. Unless I am misunderstanding things, the prevailing theory is that someone got the virus during a flight involving the trip to Atlanta for an optional exhibition game. The Marlins have already claimed 3 pitchers off of outright assignment waivers from NL Central teams. Their season has been postponed through Sunday, August 2nd. Their next series is scheduled for August 4th against the Phillies, who I’m sure will be thrilled to be in Miami. This has caused a ripple effect of the Phillies’ games being postponed through Thursday, the Yankees and Orioles rescheduling games and at least the Nationals having to play the waiting game. It is unknown how or if these games will be made up. To add to the intrigue, the Marlins are quarantined in Philadelphia, and the mayor of Miami has said that when the Marlins return home, they will have to stay in quarantine for 14 days...Today’s start put Molina at 6th all time in games caught with 1,951, passing Tony Pena...The Cubs held off a late Reds rally last night to win 8-7. Cubs’ starter Jon Lester went 5 innings without giving up a hit. Reds’ starter Wade Miley did not get the job done, but rookie Tejay Antone, who did not even make the Reds’ opening day roster threw 4.1 IP of relief with 1 BB, 1 HR allowed and 5 SO. Today, the Cubs took their second in a row from the Reds 8-5. Javy Baez hit a solo homer and a 2-run shot. The Reds bullpen struggled again, giving up 6 out of the 8 runs. Michael Lorenzen might want to re-think his statement about wanting to pitch in all 60 games. He’s already given up 4 hits in 3 appearances, and 3 of them have been home runs. He allowed another 2 runs tonight, for a total of 5 ER and 3 HR in 2.2 IP...The Pirates were beating the Brewers last night 5-1 in the 9th until Michael Feliz and Kyle Crick gave up 4 runs to allow the Brewers to tie it. Then Eric Sogard logged an RBI double to lead off the 11th and get the Brewers the win. David Phelps pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief with 3 strikeouts to secure the victory. The Pirates, however, took their revenge tonight with an 8-6 victory. Starter Josh Lindblom had to leave the game early with back cramps. With the game tied 2-2, both clubs scored 4 runs in the 7th inning. The Brewers blew a 4-run lead. The Pirates got their winning runs in the 8th on a Cole Tucker double and a 2-run shot by Adam Frazier, both off of Brewers’ reliever Bobby Wahl. Hard-luck pitcher Nick Burdi picked up his first career save.