After the excruciating 2-1 loss in 12 to Cleveland last Saturday, the Cards have taken it upon themselves to bankrupt participating St. Louis-area Mobile On the Run convenience stores, scoring 7, 7, and 16 runs in their last three contests, all victories, thank goodness.
That streak ended tonight, as the Cards could only muster 3 runs on 6 hits. But hey, the Reds only had 4 hits but got theirs at the right time in the end.
As expected with young hurlers, Oviedo’s outing was uneven, complete with quick, clean innings exhibiting early strikes in counts, and bloated pitch counts and big hits. The Reds nicked him for one run in the second, a 28-pitch frame. But his only big mistake was giving up a 2-run homer in the 5th to the Reds’ ninth-place hitter, catcher Tucker Barnhart, which knotted the score at 3.
Through 8 innings, the combatants tonight mirrored each other’s offensive production, as they each scored a single run in the second and two each in the fifth.
The Cards had 2 homers, but they were solo shots, as each lead off innings one in the 2nd by Brad Miller and one in the 5th by Yadi. After the 5th, Mahle seemed to become a different pitcher, attacking the Cards and keeping them off the bases.
The Reds threatened in the 7th with first and second two out, but they came up empty, as Gant struck out the dangerous Winker to end the inning unscathed. The Cards didn’t have a base runner until a 2-out single by Edman in the 8th (which was off Amir Garrett, who had entered in relief of Mahle).
The 9th was a knife to the heart as the Cards totally blew their chance at going ahead. They had: first and second, nobody out; second and third, one out; and bases loaded, one out. Back-to-back- strikeouts by O’Neill and Thomas deflated the golden opportunities.
The Reds didn’t squander their chance in the bottom of the 9th. Giovanni Gallegos started the inning and came out firing, striking out the first batter Jose Garcia on three pitches. Then he suddenly lost all control, giving up back-to-back walks to the 8th-place hitter Shogo Akiyama and pinch-hitting catcher Curt Casali.
That brought the top of the lineup back up in Votto, who singled cleanly to right to plate the game-winner.
1st: Six Up, Six Down
For the first time this series, the Cards went down 1-2-3 in the first inning. After just hooking one foul down the first-base line on a 1-2 count, Kolten Wong flew out to left, Edman fouled out to third baseman Eugenio Suarez in foul territory. Paul Goldschmidt got great wood on an 0-2 mistake middle-in 94 mph fastball not in enough, driving it at 96 mph EV, but right at left fielder Shogo Akiyama.
Johan Oviedo applied a mix of mostly fastballs and sliders, using 15 pitches to get three outs on the ground. He first dispatched Joey Votto on a 78 mph 1-2 curve, a beauty that was over but just kissed the bottom of the zone, that Joey grounded to Goldy for out 1. Nick Castellanos hit a 1-2 slider kinda sharply (92 mph EV), but it was pounded into the ground right to third baseman Matt Carpenter for the second out.
Lefty-swinging Jesse Winker echoed his teammates’ batted-ball result, also hitting a grounder. His was fielded by Kolten Wong, playing mini-me right field, for the final out.
2nd: Enough of that Shut-Out, Man (Unfortunately, for Both Teams)
Brad Miller enjoyed last night’s offensive barrage too much to watch the Cards’ scoreboard still have a zero all the way into the second inning. So, he promptly cranked a 3-1 hitter’s count 93 mph fastball right down central, sending it right back up and out of the middle of Great American Ballpark (423 ft, 104 mph EV) for a 1-0 Cards lead!
We are running out of captions for Brad Miller home runs. pic.twitter.com/OvRShczopW— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 2, 2020
After getting down 0-2, Paul DeJong battled back and re-started things by walking on 8 pitches. Mahle then retired the next three batters, all on fly balls, using a different outfielder for each. On a 3-2 count, Yadier Molina lifted a deep fly to the left-field corner (315 ft), but Akiyama tracked it down at the track as DeJong remained at first. Carpenter then flew out to center and Canadian Strongman Tyler O’Neill to right.
After needing just 15 pitches in the first, Johan ran into trouble in the second, requiring 28 to retire the side. Johan got behind clean-up man Eugenio Suarez 3-1 and came in with a 92 mph fastball only slightly down and away, and Suarez banged it into left-center, short-hopping the wall for a lead-off double.
With Mike Moustakas up, Oviedo flung a wild, wild pitch high and outside (a change-up that slipped out of his hand) that Nuke Laloosh might’ve used to nail the mascot. So wild, it hit the screen on a fly and bounced back so far, that Oviedo grabbed it toward the first-base line as Suarez chugged to third.
Oviedo threw three-straight balls after that to walk Moose. But he came back to notch back-to-back strikeouts. After getting behind 2-0 to Brian Goodwin, Johan came back to strike him out looking at a 96 mph down-and-in fastball. He then K’d Jose Garcia swinging on a tight 3-2 slider.
Johan was unable to get out of the inning unscathed, however, as lefty Akiyama dropped the barrel on a down-and-in fastball, singling on a line to center, scoring Suarez and sending Moustakas to third.
Akiyama then put himself in scoring position by stealing with no throw from Yadi. The youngster got out of the inning by getting Tucker Barnhart to pop out to third.
3rd: Don’t Blink
As lengthy as the previous inning was, the third went by as fast as a hummingbird through a wind tunnel.
Ninth-place hitter Lane Thomas and lead-off man Wong both grounded out to short, each doing so on their second pitch. Tommy followed by popping out to Votto in foul territory.
The Reds’ lineup turned over for Oviedo, and he bested the first two hitters on strikeouts. He got Joey Votto swinging on a 2-2 95 mph fastball, and Castellanos looking. Here’s the latter:
Winker then grounded out to Pauly D, who gloved it on the first-base side of second, flinging it to Pauly G for the final out.
4th: Another Pair of Zeros with Little Action, but That Was Okay
Paul Goldschmidt started the 4th by popping out to second baseman Moustakas, getting jammed badly. Inciting fear wherever he treads, Cards’ Crusher Brad Miller was walked on 5 pitches, with the second one the only pitch in the zone. But that runner was erased next, as DeJong grounded a tailor-made DP grounder to Suarez, who turned the 5-4-3 twin killing.
Suarez knocked a stiff grounder that bounded right over the bag at third that Carpenter backhanded and flung to first that Goldy dug out (as usual) for a first out. In a 7-pitch at-bat against Moustakas, Oviedo won the battle by getting the lefty to waive over a down-and-in slider for out 2.
Brian Goodwin nailed a 1-1 fastball on a line to center (107 mph EV), but it carried out to Lane but no farther (327 ft) for the third out.
5th: Ambushed! And More! (And Too Much More.)
As he often does, Yadi swung at pitch one, which was cool this time, as he cranked a solo homer to left on a hanging slider to make it 2-1 Cards! It happened so fast, the KMOX broadcast barely communicated it after coming back from commercial.
Carpenter flew out to short left field but Tyler smacked a double to center on a 1-2 slider(!) to give Lane Thomas a RISP.
Thomas didn’t pull his hands in quickly enough on a 0-1 fastball that ran in on him enough, as he got under it and flew out to left as O’Neill had to remain at second.
Kolten picked up a sweet 2-out RISP run by slicing a down-and-away splitter into left-center to trade places with Tyler and bump up the lead to 3-1!
The Reds were saved from another run, as Moustakas jumped and snagged a high, soft liner off the bat of Edman that was otherwise headed to the outfield.
Garcia led off the inning by lining out softly to Tommy in right. Oviedo net hit Akiyama with a 77 mph curve. Looking for an inning-ending double play off the bat of 9th-place hitter, catcher Barnhart, Johan got the complete opposite, as Tucker cranked a 2-run homer to center off a 1-0 over and not-low-enough 94 mph fastball to tie the game at 3.
While the bullpen stirred, Oviedo came back to jam Votto, getting a grounder to the only infielder on the left side, Carpenter at third. Johan couldn’t finish the inning, however, as he next brushed Castellanos’ elbow on an up-and-in 94 mph fastball.
Shildt then came out to pull the young hurler and swap him with lefty Genesis Cabrera. Genesis had his last outing Saturday shortened due to a cracked nail on his pitching hand. They put a fake nail on it, but they had to wait to use him again until the soreness went away. Cabrera was efficient as you can be, using one pitch to retire Winker, who grounded out firmly to Wong to end the inning.
6th: Cards’ Big Bats Went Quietly; Reds’ Meh Bats Did Too
Goldy started off the 6th by popping out to his counterpart Votto at first. Mahle then made quick work of Miller and DeJong, striking both out on high hard ones at 95 & 96 mph for a quick end to the frame.
Cabrera got first hitter Suarez to ground out on pitch one to DeJong, but then I guess wanted to get more pitches in, as he next walked Moustakas on four-straight balls: one curve and three fastballs. Those were enough, I guess, as Genesis retired Goodwin on three strikes, the last one a 97 mph heater.
Jose Garcia then sent left fielder O’Neill to the track, but no further, as TON gloved it for the final out.
7th: Close, but No Cigar for Yadi (Votto, Too)
Yadi made a bid for his second homer of the night, sending an 0-2 95 mph fastball to left, but Akiyama made a nice catch up against the wall for out one. Carpenter followed by striking out swinging on the third pitch of the at-bat, a down-and-in slider. The inning ended on a nice play by shortstop Garcia, who went in the hole to backhand a grounder off the bat of O’Neill, whipping his throw to nick the speedster at first.
With Cabrera still in, likely because 2 of the net 3 hitters were lefties, Akiyama lined the second pitch he saw, but it flew right to O’Neill in left for the first out. Genesis then walked Tucker Barnhart in an 8-pitch at-bat. Joey Votto followed by sending a curve ball on a fly to left that drove Tyler to the track (339 ft, 96 mph EV), but he gloved it there for out 2.
Shildt then pulled Cabrera, bringing in righty Gant to face righty-swinging Castellanos. On a 3-2 count and Tucker trucking to second, Castellanos took ball 4 to bring up Winker, he of 10 home runs this season. Aristides Aquino came in to pinch-run for Barnhart at second.
Gant went to a full-count again to Winker, so with the runners moving again, Gant fired a down-and-in 95 mph sinker, perfectly darted to the lower-left corner of the zone for a huge, inning-ending strikeout to keep the score knotted.
8th: More Zeros with Birdo Warning Track Power and Nothing from the Reds
Lefty Amir Garrett relieved Mahle. Lane Thomas just missed one leading off, sending a deep fly to left (334 ft, 91 mph EV) that Akiyama gloved on the track for out 1. After Wong struck out, Edman kept the inning alive by dumping a bloop single to right (69 mph EV).
Righty Raisel Iglesias then was called on to face Goldy, who flew out to left to end the inning.
Gant stayed in just to face first batter Suarez, which made Shildt look genius, as John downed him on a three-pitch strikeout. Lefty Austin Gomber came in to face lefty Moustakas. He got ahead of him 0-2, got jobbed on a strike-not-called a strike 1-1 pitch, then on 2-2, induced a grounder to Wong’s backhand, who threw off-balance but on-target to first for out 2. Gomber then notched a K by getting pinch-hitter, righty Matt Davidson, to whiff on a 3-2 fastball to end the frame.
9th: Cards Blew Great Shots; Reds Cashed in On Theirs
Brad Miller started the ninth by singling off new reliever righty Michael Lorenzen on a line drive to center.
cookin in the 9th thanks to this dude pic.twitter.com/2IYhJ4SeCL— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) September 3, 2020
DeJong fell behind 0-2 and on a 2-2 count, and got a break by not getting rung up on a check swing that seemed to be a strike 3. Taking advantage of that gift, Pauly walked on the next pitch.
Righty Raisel Iglesias entered for the Reds. Now with first and second and nobody out, Yadi attempted to bunt but missed it for strike 1. With the corner infielders not completely charging, Molina bunted it toward third. Lorenzen fielded it toward the line and took the out at first to make it second and third, one out.
The Reds gave Carpenter an IBB to load the bases for Tyler O’Neill. After missing an 0-1 good fastball to hit, on 0-2, TON chased a high 95 mph fastball, striking out.
That gave young Lane Thomas a 2-out RISP shot, but he was over-powered on a 2-2 98 mph fastball up and away.
Righty Giovanni Gallegos entered to keep the score tied. He retired first batter Garcia, striking him out on three pitches: fastball, slider, slider. Face-palm, though, as he suddenly couldn’t find the zone, walking the next two batters: Akiyama on four pitches and walked pinch-hitter Curt Casali.
Now with first and second nobody out and a fast runner on second, the outfielders played in a bit for a potential play at the plate. The Reds’ top of the lineup came to the plate in the person of Votto. Despite getting the veteran down 0-2, Gio allowed his third pitch to catch too much of the zone, as Votto reached out and pulled a slider not far enough down nor far enough away into right for a single. Edman’s throw to the plate was not in time.
Reds won, 4-3.
The Cards get a much, much, MUCH-needed day off tomorrow—one of their two this month!—then they’re back in the gauntlet, starting with a 5-game series in Wrigley (which natch includes a double-header Saturday).
The Bottom Line
- Johan Oviedo was oh, so close to continuing his streak of lasting through 5 innings.
He went 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 5 SO, 1 BB.
- The Cards offense had just 6 Ks and did walk 4 times and hit 2 dingers.
And while they slightly out-hit the Reds 6-4, Cincy capitalized better.
- Cards were only 1-5 with RISP; Reds were 2-6. Ballgame.
- Miller’s first-inning homer was his 5th on the season and third in the past two days.
- Yadi’s homer was his 25th dinger vs. the Reds in his career.
- Yadi’s sac bunt in the 9th was his first since May 5, 2017.
- Cards just couldn’t get the big hit