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Wainwright Pitches a Complete Game on His 39th Birthday as Cards Beat Indians 7-2

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Cleveland Indians v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

I was prepared today to discuss infielders in the outfield, but after Adam Wainwright’s performance this afternoon, I can’t bring myself to do it. Although he got hit just as hard as Indians’ starter Aaron Civale, Waino provided the Cardinals exactly what they needed. On his 39th birthday with the bullpen tired, he provided the club much needed relief by throwing a complete game, his first in over 4 years. With a flurry of roster moves and the club using half of the bullpen in yesterday’s tough extra-inning loss, Waino’s gem could not have come at a better time. After all these years, hitters struggle squaring up his curveball, which he threw 38 percent of the time today. He seemed to get better as the game went on, getting out of the 6th through 8th innings in 10 pitches or less. When he came out for the 7th inning at 100 pitches with no one warming up in the bullpen, you could feel that he was going for the complete game. His fastball velocity at around 120 pitches had not dropped from earlier in the game. With the club almost certainly worn out with everything that has happened this year, hopefully this performance by one of the club’s elder statesman will help inspire the club to get through this tough year.

Both teams are wearing #42 for the third day in a row. Cesar Hernandez struck out looking at a 3-2 fastball to lead off the game. The pitch looked like it was a few inches outside. Jose Ramirez flied an outside change to left. Francisco Lindor flied an outside change to center, and Wainwright was out of the inning in 11 pitches. Righty Aaron Civale took the mound for the Indians. Kolten Wong flied a 1-0 hanging cutter to shallow center. Tommy Edman slowly rolled an outside 3-2 fastball towards 1st base. Carlos Santana tried to shovel the ball to Civale with his glove, but rolled it instead, and the hustling Edman would have beat any throw anyway, and was awarded a base hit. With Edman running on the 3-2 pitch, Paul Goldschmidt tapped an outside cutter slowly to the left side. Ramirez charged from 3rd across the diamond and threw Goldy out at 1st. Edman reached 2nd on the play. With the count 2-2 on Brad Miller, Edman tried to engage in a late steal of 3rd base. He didn’t start to go until the ball was almost in the catcher’s glove. He was ruled safe, but the Indians challenged the call and on review, the play was reversed because it was clear that Ramirez raced over to the bag from his position and slapped the tag on him before he reached the base.

Carlos Santana popped an inside 2-1 cutter foul to the left side of the mound. Carpenter ran in and made a sliding catch for the out. After Franmil Reyes walked on 5 pitches. Tyler Naquin smoked a 1-0 low-and-in cutter that looked like it landed just over the wall in right field and bounced off of a railing for a 2-run HR. It was initially called in play by the umpires, but it was reviewed and correctly called a 2-run HR to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

Jordan Luplow flied an 0-2 center-cut fastball to right towards the line, where Dexter Fowler made a running catch. Roberto Perez blooped a low-and-away 2-2 curve to right, but Fowler ran in and made a surprising sliding catch to end the inning.

Brad Miller grounded a low-and-away changeup up the middle, but into the shift for the shortstop Lindor to start the bottom of the 2nd. Paul DeJong lined a center-cut fastball to right for a base hit. Molina sliced an inside 1-2 fastball for a bloop base hit to right to move DeJong to 3rd. After Matt Carpenter walked on 5 pitches to load the bases, Fowler drove a first-pitch low-and-in curve down the right field line and into the corner for a double. DeJong and Molina scored to tie the game 2-2 and Carpenter went to 3rd on the play.

Dylan Carlson sharply grounded a 2-0 hanging cutter down the first base line for a base hit that went underneath the arm of the diving Santana. Both Carpenter and Fowler scored to give the Cards a 4-2 lead.

With the count 1-0 on Wong, Carlson tried to steal 2nd base, but was caught stealing by Perez. The throw from Perez bounced, but Lindor picked it out of the dirt and tagged Carlson’s foot a split second before he touched the base. Wong flied an outside 2-1 fastball just before the track in left to end the inning.

Delino DeShields blooped a low-and-away cutter to right-center for a base hit to lead off the top of the 3rd. Hernandez struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball that just caught the corner low-and-in. After Ramirez worked a 3-2 walk, Lindor drove an inside 1-1 fastball to right-center that Fowler caught at the track. The ball was deep enough for DeShields to tag up and move to 3rd. With runners at the corners and 2 out, the 3rd base umpire concluded that Santana failed to check his swing on a low-and-in 3-2 curve and Wainwright got out of the jam. Edman grounded an inside cutter to 2nd to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. Goldschmidt drove a high hanging cutter to left center. The left fielder Luplow lost the ball in the sun and it bounced off of the bullpen wall.

After Goldschmidt’s gift double, Brad Miller grounded a low-and-away change to move Goldschmidt to 3rd. With the count 2-2 on DeJong, Civale briefly flinched while his back foot was engaged with the rubber and before he came into the set position. He was called for a balk, which scored Goldschmidt to give the Cards a 5-2 lead.

DeJong grounded the next pitch to short to end the inning.

To lead off the top of the 4th, Reyes struck out looking at an outside 1-2 fastball that might have clipped the outside corner. Naquin flied a low-and-in 2-0 cutter to center, and Luplow struck out looking at an outside 1-2 fastball on the corner to end the inning. That was Waino’s 5th strikeout and he got out of the inning in 11 pitches. Molina grounded out to 3rd to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Carpenter flied an outside 2-2 change to center. Fowler struck out swinging at an outside 2-2 cutter to end the inning. Perez slowly grounded an outside cutter towards the middle, but DeJong charged and threw him out to start the top of the 5th. DeShields struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball that caught the low edge of the zone. Hernandez slide a low-and-away fastball to left towards the line. Edman took an unusual route to the ball and it bounced and went over the wall for a ground rule double. But he would be stranded there because Ramirez couldn’t lay off a 2-2 curve in the dirt and Wainwright escaped again. Carlson grounded out to 2nd to lead off the bottom of the 5th. Wong walked on 5 pitches, with the umpire not calling a couple of pitches that looked like they clipped the top of the zone. Edman lined a first-pitch middle-in fastball to right for a base hit to move Wong to 3rd. But the Cards couldn’t capitalize as Goldschmidt got jammed on an 0-1 inside fastball and grounded it to short for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

To lead off the top of the 6th, Lindor slapped a first-pitch outside fastball opposite the shift and grounded it for a base hit through the left side. Santana smoked a hanging cutter to left. Edman got confused, but turned around and made the play. Reyes grounded an 0-1 low cutter to short for an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Brad Miller struck out looking at an outside 1-2 back door cutter to lead off the bottom of the 6th. DeJong drove a high-and-outside cutter to left for a base hit towards the line. Luplow was playing DeJong far towards the middle, and that allowed DeJong to reach 2nd safely with a double. But the Cards couldn’t bring him in, as Molina popped out to 2nd and Carpenter struck out swinging at a hanging cutter to end the inning.

Wainwright went back out for the 7th inning at 90 pitches. Naquin popped an 0-1 inside fastball foul to 3rd to lead off the inning. Luplow fell down swinging at a low-and-away curve and popped it foul to Molina. Perez couldn’t hold up on an up-and-in 2-2 fastball, and Wainwright got out of the inning in 10 pitches to make it an even 100 pitches. Righty Cam Hill came out to pitch for the Indians. Fowler drove a low-and-away 0-1 fastball into the bullpen in right-center for a solo HR to extend the Cards’ lead to 6-2.

After Carlson and Wong both grounded out to 2nd, Edman popped a low slider to Lindor at short on the outfield grass to end the inning.

For the top of the 8th, Harrison Bader came out to play CF in the #7 spot, with Carlson moving from CF to LF and Edman moving from LF to 3B. Wainwright came back out for the top of the 8th. DeShields grounded an 0-1 curve to Goldschmidt for the 3-1 flip. Hernandez grounded a first-pitch outside fastball to 2nd. Ramirez struck out looking at a 2-2 curve on the outside corner. That’s 3 innings in a row now that Wainwright has gotten out of the inning in 10 pitches or less. Righty Adam Cimber came out to pitch the bottom of the 8th for the Indians. Goldschmidt grounded out to 3rd. Brad Miller flied out to right. With 2 out, DeJong drove a 1-0 middle-in fastball down the left field line that bounced on the track and went over the wall for a ground rule double. Molina grounded a first-pitch inside fastball through the hole to left for a base hit. Luplow’s throw from left was good, but DeJong barely slid in safely to score and extend the Cards’ lead to 7-2. Former Cardinal righty Dominic Leone came out to pitch to Bader. Bader struck out looking at a low-and-away 96 mph that was right on the corner low-and-away.

Wainwright came back out for the top of the 9th to face the heart of the Indians’ order and go for the complete game. Lindor lined a high-and-outside fastball to center, where Bader ran it down. Santana popped an inside 2-2 cutter foul in front of the plate. Edman called off Molina and made a sliding catch for the 2nd out. Reyes flied an 0-2 low-and-in curve to shallow left. Carlson came in and made a running catch. Wainwright threw a total of 122 pitches and got his first complete game victory since July 16th, 2016.

Wainwright (4 days rest) 9 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO, 1 HR.

ODDS AND ENDS

Yadier Molina passed Red Schoendienst in career hits as a Cardinal to take sole possession of 6th place all time. He also caught his 2,000th career game as a Cardinal today...The Cubs crushed the Reds 10-1. Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ian Happ each hit 2 home runs. The Cubs, however, will be looking to find another member of the rotation, as starter Tyler Chatwood left the game in the 3rd inning with right elbow discomfort after spiking a pitch. The Pirates are beating the Brewers 5-1 in the top of the 9th behind homers by Gregory Polanco and Josh Bell...The Cubs acquired Jose Martinez from the Rays for 2 players to be named later or cash. In a corresponding roster move, the Rays recalled Randy Arozarena to the big club...Matt Adams was DFAd by the Braves.