The Cards were looking to get back over .500 as they came in at 19-19. The pitcher assigned to help do that was Dakota Hudson.
Dakota came into tonight having pitched twice against Cincy this season, on August 21st, and August 31st, pitching 4.1 and 7 innings, respectively. He pitched p good in the earlier start giving up no runs and 4 hits, striking out 6 and walking 2. His more recent start went even better, a “gem” by today’s standards, as he lasted 7 innings, giving up just 1 earned run on 4 hits, striking out 7 and walking none.
The Reds’ starter, righty Tejay Antone, came in having one appearance against the Cards in 2020, an August 22nd relief appearance, but Cards hitters did nothing against him. He hurled 2.1 innings, giving up no runs, no hits, walked 1 and struck out 3.
Manger Mike Shildt was counting on Dakota’s sinker working. While super defender Harrison Bader anchored center, around him was Austin Dean in left and Tommy Edman in right.
The Bird’s-Eye View
For nearly two-thirds of this game, it looked like it had all the earmarks of a low-scoring affair with little offense from either side. In fact, Dakota had a no-hitter going through two outs in the 6th (until broken up on a double by Joey Votto). Now, during that time, however, Dakota also had given up 4 walks, so the Reds did have base runners. And to be fair, the Reds hit 5 balls hard off of him (over 95 mph EV) that all went for outs. You need some luck in this game, though.
The Cards had a man on second in each of the first two innings, but there were 2 outs each time, and they couldn’t get the clutch hit. The expected number of runs in those situations is just .305, but the Cards couldn’t even get a third of one.
To add to the low scoring both squads squandered early bases loaded, nobody out scenarios. Expected runs in those situations are 2.28. Each squad got just one, however.
The Reds were un-clutch in the third, when they loaded the bases without needing any contact, as Dakota suddenly couldn’t find the plate, walking the first three batters of the inning, the 7, 8, and 9 hitters. Ugh.
So the Cards were lucky to escape the inning giving up just one run, as while the Reds scratched across one on a fielder’s choice ground-out, Dakota got a double play to escape the jam just down 1-0.
The game took a turn for the better in the 4th, as the Cards got on the board as GOB intended, with a solo lead-off homer from Brad Miller. Then the Cards got their own bases loaded, nobody out largess due to a walk, single, and ‘nuther walk. But despite sending 8 hitters up to the plate over the inning, they got one run on a ground-out, but couldn’t cash in any further, just like the Reds.
After walking the bases loaded in the third, Dakota righted his strike-throwing ship, walking just one more batter in his final three innings. When Votto got his double in the sixth, Dakota’s night was done.
The big fun for the Cards got all bunched together in the sixth, when they slammed 3 homers, 2 solos by Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt. But those book-ended the big punch landed by Bader, who launched a 3-run homer off of lefty reliever Amir Garrett, with Bader the first batter he faced. But hey, Garrett came in to tonight having fanned 12 right-handed batters and 21 overall in just 14 innings in 2020.
Genesis Cabrera intended to relieve Hudson in the 7th, but instead, he made another appearance just to remind everyone he has a fingernail issue, coming out after throwing pitch 1. Instead, it was Webb, then Miller, and Kaminsky who finished off the final 3 innings without incident in a comfy, cheap-drink Cards’ win.
The Flight Path
Top of 1st - 66.6666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666% of the 3 outs were on ground balls in a 3-up, 3-down, inning. You know how many ground balls that was?
Shogo Akiyama rolled a grounder up the middle, but Paul DeJong ranged to his left, gloved it nicely and got his man for out 1. Nick Castellanos likewise grounded out, his going to Matt Carpenter at third for the second out. Dakota pitched backward to Joey Votto, starting him with a curve over and just above the bottom of the zone. The veteran barreled it to center (102 mph EV), but it was merely a hard-hit fly-out to Harrison to end the inning.
Bottom of 1st - A 1-out single and 2-out stolen base became 0 runs after 3 outs. Baseball is really all about the math.
Kolten Wong totally did not set the table leading off; more like left the table without finishing his green beans, as he struck out swinging on a 2-2 curve that dove down and in. Eat your veggies, Kolten.
Instead, Tommy got things going with an assist from pitcher Antone’s leg, as Edman banged a grounder off the hurler, who couldn’t corral it in time as Tommy reached safely. After Paul Goldschmidt flew out just inside the line in right an an 0-2 down-and-away sinker, Brad Miller got his chance.
On a 1-2 pitch, Tommy took off, and the throw was off the mark, as he slid in safely, gifting Miller with a RISP chance. Miller must not accept gifts if they’re stolen, as he grounded out to second to end the inning.
Top of 2nd - Dakota notched his first two strikeouts, which were the last 2 batters of this clean inning.
Clean-up hitter Eugenio Suarez got down 0-2 on a pair of sinkers then was retired on a 1-2 four-seamer he skied to center for the first out. Dakota repeated that get ahead strategy, as Brian Goodwin faced an 0-2 hole. Then on a 1-2 pitch, Dakota sunk Goodwin with his bread-and-butter sinker (that actually stayed up middle-middle), getting away with one, as Goodwin swung through it for out 2.
Freddy Galvis got himself a 2-0 count that went full on the 7th pitch. But pitch number 8 was a well inside-and-under-the-zone curve that Freddy couldn’t resist, waiving over it for strike 3.
Bottom of 2nd - Another 2-out RISP chance was not parlayed into run. Maybe the third time will be the charm. Surely there will be at least a third time. You’ll have to read on to find out.
DeJong gave a 0-1 slider a ride deep to center, but it was flagged by Goodwin for just a long out at 384 feet. Matt Carpenter only saw 2 pitches as well, as he became a quick second out, grounding out to Votto.
Welcome to the party, Austin. Dean stepped in for his first start of 2020, just his second at-bat of the year. Trying to make up for lost time, Dean had an extended, 10-pitch Professional At Bat™, which was totally worth it, as he banged a hanging slider into left-center for a double.
Now Matt Wieters got the second 2-out with RISP shot of the night for the Cards. With first base open and Bader up next, the Reds decided to give Matt an unintentional intentional walk.
Tots received a mix of sinkers, slider, and curves, the last one a hook on 2-2 he watched loop into the bottom-left quadrant of the zone for a called strike 3.
Top of 3rd (In Play, Run(s)) - Hudson’s control suddenly disappeared, as he walked the bases loaded. Thanks to an inning-saving double play, the Reds just got 1.
Bid dude Aristides Aquino (6’ 4” 220), swung the bat just twice in a 6-pitch at-bat and made it to first. Can you guess how? (It was due to Dakota’s first walk of the night.)
Going 2-0 to next batter Tucker Barnhart made it 5-straight not-strikes from Dakota. He stopped doing that, zipping a strike right down the middle and slightly up that Tucker let go by for a 2-1 count. On a 3-2 count, the Reds sent the runner, but it didn’t matter, as Barnhart walked, as Dakota mis-located a sinker too far inside.
Now with first and second and no outs and no contact made, Dakota went to 2-0 to 9th-place hitter Kyle Farmer, which brought an annoyed Mike Maddux out of the dugout and to the mound to tell Hudson to get a freakin’ double play already or at least start throwin’ strikes. Dakota must not have been able to hear Mike clearly through his mask and thought he said “Walk him on four,” because that’s what he did.
Now with the bases loaded and nobody out, Akiyama seemed to be fine with keeping his bat on his shoulder until getting a strike. He did on the first pitch, then also watched the third pitch, both called strikes to make it 1-2. Then on a full count, Shogo grounded to Carpenter, who threw to second for the force-out, but the grounder was not hit hard, and the Cards couldn’t turn it. Aquino scored to put the Reds on the board 1-0.
Dangerous Castellanos then stepped in looking to cause danger. On another full count, Dakota’s sinker saved him, inducing Nick to ground to Carpenter, who went around the horn for a 5-4-3 double play to escape the inning.
Bottom of 3rd - This inning had the qualities of a good cat burglar; i.e., one who steals cats: quick and quiet.
The lineup turned over, with Wong grounding to Suarez, who double-pumped, but still nicked Kolten in a close play but an out nonetheless. The Cards did not challenge. Edman got down 0-2 and also grounded out, his going to the opposite corner of the diamond to Votto, who tossed to covering pitcher Antone.
Pitching carefully now to Goldschmidt, Tejay went to 3-0 but then got two called strikes to make it full. Goldy was taking on the first strike and didn’t like the second one, down and away and framed into a called strike 2. Antone then broke off a full-count curve down and in that Pauly G didn’t make contact with, striking out.
Top of 4th - With more time to talk to Dakota between the innings, Maddux instructed Dakota to pitch better, which he did.
Joey Votto led off the inning, flying out to center for the second time tonight. He actually shoulda walked, as a 3-1 inside, off the plate fastball was called a strike, much to Joey’s dismay.
Dakota then got another no-grounder out, but we’ll take it, as Suarez also flew out, his going to right fielder Edman for the second out.
Goodwin followed by not hitting any fly balls or any balls as he struck out on a 1-2 92 mph four-seamer up and in, K’ing for the second time on the night.
Bottom of 4th (In Play, Run(s)) - Brad Miller tied the game with one swing without anyone on! The Cards then got the maximum runners on base with nobody out but could only get one run out of it.
Brad Miller wasn’t going to wait for any 2-out RISP instance, instead putting a charge into a 1-1 change-up that was over, but a good pitch, as it barely kissed the bottom of the zone, sending it deep into center and over the fence (107 mph EV, 446 ft) to tie the game 1-1!
Brad, baby! pic.twitter.com/3HmkligjCx— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 13, 2020
Perhaps that rattled Antone, as he walked next batter Paul DeJong on 5 pitches. Carpenter then rattled a high “sinker” that totally didn’t, as it stayed above the zone, and Matt smacked it the other way into left, bumping DeJong to second.
Now with first and second, nobody out, Dean exhibited patience, taking the first 3 pitches for balls. Then taking a strike, he watched another ball go by well beyond the outside corner to load the bases!
That brought Reds manager David Bell slowwwly out of the dugout to change pitchers and give his reliever a bit more time to get in more warm-up pitches in. That pitcher was righty Lucas Sims to face Wieters.
Wieters sent a grounder up the middle that shortstop Kyle Farmer dove, gloved, popped up, and threw out the old, slow catcher out at first. But hey! He put the ball in play and scored DeJong to put the Cards on top 2-1.
Now with second and third one out, Bader re-loaded the bases, taking a walk on 5 pitches. Now with the top of the order up again, Wong hit a fly ball to center but not deep enough, as Carpenter bluffed running home, but stayed put as the throw came home from Goodwin.
It was up to Edman to take advantage of the ducks on the pond before this frame ended. On a 2-0 pitch, the Reds got a gift call, as the third pitch was well inside but called a strike. A 2-1 count is a lot different than 3-0. Sims went back inside with his second 94 mph fastball, and Tommy couldn’t get around on it, flying out
Top of 5th - A two-out walk didn’t hurt.
Dakota retired first batter Freddy Galvis on a grounder to Goldy, and he even covered first, taking the toss for out 1. Aquino then got nothing for his troubles in his at bat except fire wood, as he got sawed off on a first-pitch sinker that bore in on his hands, producing a weak pop-out to Wong.
Hudson dirtied the clean inning by next walking 8th-place batter Barnhart on 5 pitches, only one of the four called balls even close to the zone. Two sinkers later however, ended the inning, as Farmer plowed a grounder to DeJong for the final out.
Bottom of 5th - You’d think an inning with the 3, 4, 5 hitters up would be full of hot run-scoring action. It was not. (But Pauly G got jobbed.)
Goldy, the only batter not to hit in the 4th, started this frame off by grounding a high 1-1 curve at the top of the zone to short for an out. Sims tried to get home-run hitter Miller to chase, but he laid off the first 3 to get a 3-0 count. Taking the next strike, Miller got anxious, whiffing through a high heater at 95. Then he got fooled on a 3-2 curve that he watched drop right through the zone for a called strike 3.
The inning ended with no base runners, but the Cards shoulda had at least one, as the ump totally blew a 3-2 call, declaring a fastball well outside was actually a strike.
Top of 6th - A 2-out double stayed put.
The Reds’ top of the lineup re-appeared. Dakota dispatched Akiyama quickly, getting a ground-out to DeJong on a pitch 2 sinker. Castellanos then whiffed on three-straight pitches: sinker, slider, slider.
Votto then notched the Reds’ first hit of the night, slapping a double down the left-field line. I think he’s done that before. Dakota then got away with a 2-2 mis-placed sinker that stayed up, but it was in just enough, as Suarez didn’t get all of it, flying out to left for the third out.
Bottom of 6th (In Play, Run(s)) - Fireworks! Three times!!!
Matt Carpenter, remembering what he used to do, especially as a lead-off hitter, started the frame by getting around on
Carpenter to the 'pen! pic.twitter.com/uzhJyGMMm4— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 13, 2020
an 0-2 94 mph up and away fastball, sending it just over the wall in right-center (99 mph EV, 380 ft, 32 deg LA) to make it 3-1 Cards!
Austin Dean re-started things by walking on 7 pitches. Then Wieters worked the count full. The Cards started Dean running, but didn’t need to, as Matt got plunked to make it first and second, nobody out.
The Reds switched out Sims for lefty reliever Amir Garrett to face Bader. Tots has a career .337 OBP and .845 OPS against lefties, (.315 OBP and .668 OPS vs righties). Bader played to the math, taking a 2-0 93 mph fastball on the outside corner deep to right for a big 3-run homer to suddenly make it 6-1 Cards! Seriously!!!
Forget tacos, we're having tots! pic.twitter.com/qH9gnVpiMY— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 13, 2020
Kolten, up for the fourth time, singled to center to re-start a rally. With Edman up, Kolten stole second on a 3-1 count. Tommy then lined the next pitch right to the second baseman, and Kolten was running for some reason, and got doubled up for a groaner of a double play.
That hurt a little more as Goldy followed by launching a line-drive homer to right (104 mph EV, 378 ft, 26 deg LA) to give the Cards a lucky 7-1 lead!
It's a home run party‼️ pic.twitter.com/xl3tfSBHnV— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 13, 2020
Brad Miller, feeling bad for the Reds, struck out on purpose on three pitches to move things along.
Top of 7th - Genesis Cabrera entered, but during warm-ups, he had a return of his recurring problem of a cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his pitching hand. He came off the field, replaced with Tyler Webb. Amazingly, the 6-run lead remained intact!!!
Brian Goodwin lined the first pitch from Webb into Center, but Bader snagged it, turning his ankle a bit in the process. He remained in, signaling he was fine.
Webb then powered up, yo, striking out Freddy Galvis swinging on an 89 mph “fastball” and Aquino looking at a 90 mph heater.
Bottom of 7th - The Reds brought in their third reliever, righty Jose De Leon to face the 4-5-6 hitters.
DeJong struck out swinging on a change-up in the dirt down and away. Carpenter followed by flying out to center on a 3-2 pitch. Austin Dean, however, kept the inning alive, walking on four-straight pitches, earning a free pass for the third time tonight.
Things ended there, though, as Weiters grounded out to the shortstop, who gloved it on the second base side of the bag to record the last out.
Top of 8th - Webb stayed in. Tyler O’Neill came into left, removing Dean. Edman went from right to 3B, replacing Carpenter.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson grounded out to DeJong, with the throw scooped by Goldy for out 1. Kyle Farmer, however, singled on a 2-1 fastball, planting a seed of a rally for the Reds. Shildt then pulled Webb, bringing another lefty, Andrew Miller.
Miller retired Akiyama via a forward-K strikeout on a 1-2 slider. Castellanos sizzled a grounder that took a bad hop toward the line at third. But Tommy was playing “no-doubles” defense near the line and made a slick play to back-hand it and throw across the diamond to end the inning. Defense matters.
Bottom of 8th - De Leon remained in for the Reds. Tyler Stephenson stayed in to catch him. The Cards decided they had enough runs.
Bader, distracted reminiscing about his 3-run homer earlier struck out swinging on a 1-2 change-up. Wong grounded out to Votto. Edman didn’t want things to end that quickly, however, so he singed on a liner to left. Goldy, however, ended the inning soon thereafter, popping out to second on his second pitch.
Top of 9th - Young lefty Rob Kaminsky came in to get some work in and preserve the 6-run lead.
Votto stepped in first and got rung up on a 2-2 slider that bit just on the inside corner. Votto protested, and got tossed for expressing his emotions. Suarez was dispatched quickly next, grounding the first pitch he saw hard, but directly at Goldy, for the unassisted out 2.
Pinch-hitter Jose Garcia replaced Brian Goodwin and ruined the flow of the inning by slamming a sharp liner into left for a single.
On defensive indifference, Garcia took second. No matter, as next batter Freddy Galvis lined out to O’Neill in left for the final (loud) out (at 98 mph EV).
Cards won 7-1!!!
Bottom of 9th
The Bottom Line
- Dakota really just had the one ugly 3-walk bases-loaded inning; he was great the other 6:
7 IP, 1 ER, 1 H (a double), 4 SO, 4 BB
- Every Cards hitter reached base with at least a walk.
DeJong and Wieters were the only ones not to reach via hit.
- Cards out-hit the Reds 9-3.
- Dean celebrated his 100th Major League Game (he entered the league in 2018) with a perfect night at the plate, going 1-1 (double) and 3 walks.
- Sometimes stats are mis-leading: the Cards were just 1-7 with RISP.
The one was Bader’s 3-run homer. The other scoring was produced by a ground-out and 3 solo homers. LOL
- Boring, boring, boring, EXCITING!!!
- The Cards next play 5 games in 3 days in Milwaukee; then play 5 games in 4 days in Pittsburgh.