The Cards went back on the road to Great American Ball Park, where the neither the Reds nor the mics are hot. Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani just came off the Paternity List, so he came in sleep-deprived and with numb fingers from diaper-changing. FanGraphs felt sorry for him, so they set their Win Expectancy at 53.6% for the Reds ad 46.4% for the Cards.
But the Cards packed their hittin’ shoes notched runs in the first four innings, including a grand slam by DeJong in the 4th, and the new daddy got a spankin’ by giving up 7 runs.
Dakota stayed away from the big inning that often dooms him, as he walked no one and gave up no dingers, giving up just single runs in the first and 6th over his 7 full innings of work.
Michael Lorenzen did big duty for the Reds, throwing 4 innings of shut-out relief to reduce their bullpen workload.
The bullpen almost coughed it up late. Austin Gomber threw an inning of relief in the 8th and gave up a lead-off single in the 9th Jake Woodford, meant to finish off a happy, wide-margin win, suddenly made it a game by giving up a double and a 3-run homer to make it 7-5.
Giovanni Gallegos then entered with the now-Save situation. converting it to send the Cards home happy and Woodford owing Gio dinner.
Hot Baseball Action In Every Inning Through 4
Quick Double-Double Trouble Trouble - The Cards got off to a fast start, making it 1-0 before Reds fans could dump their first pound of shredded cheddar on their Skyline Chili. Edman knocked a 1-out ground-rule double to right on a 1-1 slider down and in to give Paul Goldschmidt the night’s first RISP shot.
Tommy Edman double in the 1st #stlcards pic.twitter.com/gqG83XQi76— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) August 31, 2020
Goldy cashed in, inside-outing a low, down-and-in sinker to right for the “to-back” part to the “back-to-back” double thing to make it 1-0 Cards already!
Stay hot, Goldy! The #STLCards are on the board early.— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) August 31, 2020
Stream: FSGO - https://t.co/fQ0vpOP0NM pic.twitter.com/ZJ78tnDaEj
However, both Miller and DeJong, then produced back-to-back backward Ks. Miller’s was a close call, an up-and-in fastball a tick above the zone; DeJon’gs was a sinker way wide of the zone.
Back to Square One - The lead was short-lived, as Joey Votto reached on an infield single to DeJong’s backhand, then a back-up slider to next batter Nick Castellanos went off Yadi’s mitt, and to the backstop, allowing Votto to advance to second. That was key, as with 2 outs, Eugenio Suarez hit a sinking liner off the end of the bat to center. Dylan Carlson, playing CF, charged, but had no chance, as it fell for a hit and scored Votto to knot it at 1-1.
A Second in the Second - The Cards scored another tally in the second, leveraging a one-out walk on 4 pitches by Matt Carpenter and 2 seeing-eye hits. After the free pass, Dexter Fowler jammed one to center (77 mph EV) for a bloop single that Carpenter read well, chugging to third to make it first and third, one out. Dylan struck out looking, but Kolten Wong picked him up, singling against the shift, grounding it just firmly enough (87 mph EV) to left to score Carpenter to make it 2-1.
Wong on the 0-2 count goes opposite and finds a hole— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) August 31, 2020
scoring matty c#stlcards on top 2-1 pic.twitter.com/GvCdd8ngCu
Leveraging the Gold Market - After a lead-off strikeout, Wong ranged far to his right to snag a grounder and threw a tough-hop toss to Goldy, who dug it out to get Shogo Akiyama for out 2. Wong took care of out 3 as well, fielding a grounder off the bat of Freddy Galvis to make it a clean inning for Dakota.
FUNdamentals - After Goldy got plunked on his elbow armor to lead off the third, Miller flew out deeply to right, backing Castellanos to the track for out 1. DeJong sent a grounder to shortstop Galvis, who attempted a backhand, but it skipped by him into left, scored a single, as Goldy advanced to second with one out. On an 0-1 count to Yadi, the Cards busted out the double steal. The Reds pitched out, but the ball was way up and in, instead of up and away, so both runners advanced easily.
With the infield in, Yadi sent a deep fly to left 351 ft), easily plating the Big Fundamental on the sac fly to make it 3-1, and also advancing DeJong to third, as Winker’s throw into third was off the mark. With 2 out, Carpenter drew his second walk to keep the inning alive. Dex flew out to left, unable to bring in the runner from third. Maybe that was greedy.
3 Up, 3 Down, 3 Ks - Dakota fanned the side in the 4th, first coming back from 3-0 against first batter but 9th-place hitter Tucker Barnhart to strike him out swinging on the only 4-seamer of the count (the 6 others were sinkers). It took 7 pitches against next hitter Votto, but Dak got him to swing through a 3-2 curve. Hudson was more economical against Castellonos, whiffing him swinging on a 1-2 slider off the outside edge and low.
Wong shot a one-out liner up the middle for a single, his second hit of the night.
Kolten Wong singles up the middle in the 4th #stlcards pic.twitter.com/NNibvU0WlO— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) September 1, 2020
Cheap Drinks! A Grand Idea, Yo! - After a first-pitch foul tip, Goldy walked due to the next four being not-strikes, to make it first and second, one out. After Edman couldn’t advance the runners on a fly-out to left, the Reds obliged, as on the first pitch to Miller, a passed ball (on a failed framing attempt by Barnhart or cross-up) bumped the runners to second and third. DeSclafani then walked Miller to load the bases for DeJong with 2 outs.
With the count full, Pauly D busted out the whuppin’ stick, kuh-BOOMing a center-cut sinker deep to center that one-hopped the black batters’ background for a graaaand slaaaam!!! 7-1 Cards!!! (Statcast: 409 ft, 104 mph EV, 24-degree LA.)
For the first time in his @MLB career...— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 1, 2020
GRAND SLAMMA @RealPaulDeJong pic.twitter.com/oDmyaQmemS
In the Reds’ 4th, Hudson worked around a lead-off single by Winker (that Dex cut off nicely) by getting a fly-out to right and a 6-4-3 double play.
The Second “Half”
First Quiet Inning - Both the Cards and the Reds went 3 up, 3 down in the 5th for the Cards’ first appearance of a 0 on their half of the scoreboard.
Reds Won the 6th Inning - In the 6th, after a Kolten ground-out to Votto, Edman shattered his bat, but traded it for an infield single, as it rolled to shortstop Galvis, who couldn’t complete the transaction to first in time. Goldy followed by singling solidly to center for his 4th time on base (2B, HBP, BB, 1B), making it first and second. After a Miller strikeout kept the runners stagnant, DeJong struck out on a 1-2 change-up.
Lane Train Sighting - Tucker Barnhart doubled to right on the first pitch he saw in the 6th, as new right fielder Lane Thomas had just entered the game, replacing Dex. (The baseball will find you.) Votto grounded out to Goldy who tossed to a covering Dakota as Tucker trucked to third with one out.
Castellanos grounded to Carpenter, who went across the diamond for out 2, allowing Tucker to score to make it 7-2. On a sharp grounder up the middle by Winker (102 mph EV ), Pauly D ranged to his left from his shift position to snare it in front of Wong and hurl it to Goldy to end the inning,
Yadi and Carpenter began the 7th with back-to-back ground-outs to Suarez at third and Votto at first, respectively. Lane Thomas then walked in a 7-pitch at-bat, but Dylan got jammed badly on an up-and-in cutter, flaring one to Moustakas at second, who forced Thomas at 2nd for the final out.
Dakota Finished Strong - Dylan moved to left field as Bader came to play center. Edman moved from left to third base to send Carpenter to the bench. Suarez started the 7th by grounding out to new third baseman Edman (the ball will find you), who charged it and gloved it clearly but threw a one-hopper to first. Goldy dug it out, however, for the first out. Moustakas then grounded out right back to Dakota, who blocked it with his foot. After a trainer visit, he was given a clean bill of health to continue.
Dakota put an exclamation point on his night by then striking out big man Aquino on a tight, diving slider down and away for out 3.
Pauly Stayed Gold - Wong and Edman started the 8th by grounding out against Lorenzen. Then the Reds brought in hard-throwing righty Nate Jones to face Goldschmidt. Goldy remained perfect, as he earned an infield single (going 3-3, on base 5 times) by grounding one off the shoe of Jones, as it rolled to Moustakas, who had no play. Miller struck out to end the frame, however.
The 8th Took a Left Onto the Gomber Street Bridge - Lefty Austin Gomber entered to serve as a span between the 7th and 9th. He got Akiyama to fly out to Dylan in left, Galvis to strike out swinging on surprise! a fastball; and Barnhart to ground out to Goldschmidt.
Shaky Ninth - The Cards went quietly in their half, with a Pauly D strikeout swinging, a Yadi fly-out to left, and a Bader sizzling ground-out (97 mph EV) to third. Bader was initially called safe, but a review over-turned the call to end the inning.
Gomber did come out to start the 9th just because lefty Votto was up first. Votto lined a single to left, then Shildt brought in young righty fireballer Jake Woodford, who was waiting in Reserve.
Jake got his first man, Castellanos, striking him out on a 2-2 slider, the third of those in a row for the forward-K out one. Winker followed by ripping a liner to right-center that Bader raced over and prevented from rolling to the wall, holding Votto at third and more importantly, Winker at first to keep the DP in order.
That didn’t matter, though, as Woodford made a mistake 0-1 pitch, leaving a fastball up, and even though it was a bit beyond the zone, Suarez reached out and banged it to center for a 3-run homer, suddenly making it 7-5 Cards.
Giovanni Gallegos entered to stop the nonsense. He whiffed Moustakas swinging on a 2-2 slider in the dirt for a big second out. Gio stayed with all sliders against mountain of a man Aquino, a good strategy, as he K’d him on three of ‘em to end the game!
Cards won, 7-5!!!
The Bottom Line
- The Dodge Dakota key to the game: Dak had just one fly-ball out in 7 innings.
- Dakota’s outing was so gratifying to see, his line deserved a picture:
Dakota was on the attack! pic.twitter.com/rITsYfMnPb— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 1, 2020
- Paul DeJong’s salami was his first-career grand slam.
- The Cards came in having won 17 of their last 23 games at GABP. Now 18 of 24.
- Goldy’s 5-on-base night was the 21st time he’s done that.
- The Cards were 3-10 with RISP; the Reds were 2-6.
- Cards pitchers gave up no walks(!) for just the 2nd time this season.
The first time? Game 1 on July 24 vs. the Pirates.
- Big WPA Contributors: DeJong (.195); Goldschmidt (.152); Dakota (.102)
- DeJong’s 4th-inning slam to make it 7-1 gave the Cards a 93.7% Win Expectancy.
Even when Suarez’ 9th-Inning homer made it 7-5, it was still at 95% .