The Cards’ performance in Game 1 was not what the club had in mind. Lefty Brent Suter, who is the spot starter for doubleheaders outdueled Jack Flaherty. Flaherty did not pitch that poorly, allowing only 4 hits over 5 innings pitched. He walked an uncharacteristic 4 batters in this short game, with one of them coming around to score, and gave up a solo homer. But the story today was the Cards’ inability to hit Suter, who flummoxed the Cards with his mid 80s fastball and low 80s changeup. According to Statcast, the Cards did not hit the ball hard off of him once. Most of the Cards’ hits were bloop jobs and they couldn’t string anything together. They didn’t have a runner reach 2nd base until Goldschmidt doubled to lead off the 7th inning. To top things off, the Cards may have lost John Gant again to a groin injury. This loss made it more difficult for their postseason quest to not only get in, but get in without playing the doubleheader against the Tigers.
Jack Flaherty took the mound for the Cards. Avisail Garcia sharply grounded a 1-2 low-and-away slider towards the middle to lead off the game, but DeJong ran over, fielded it, spun around and fired to 1st for the out. Christian Yelich struck out swinging at a 3-2 nasty low curveball. Ryan Braun struck out swinging at a 2-2 low-and-away curve in the dirt to end the inning. Lefty Brent Suter took the mound for the Brewers. Kolten Wong squibbed a 1-2 center-cut sinker towards the left field line. The 3rd baseman Sogard hurried over, but bobbled the ball a bit on the transfer and Wong beat out the throw to 1st. It was ruled an infield base hit. Tommy Edman struck out chasing a high-and-outside 0-2 fastball. Paul Goldschmidt hit a 1-2 up-and-in fastball for a sinking liner to short. Orlando Arcia caught it near the dirt and fired to 1st base to double Edman off and end the inning.
After Daniel Vogelbach worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the top of the 2nd, Keston Hiura sharply grounded an 0-1 inside sinker up the middle for a base hit to move Vogelbach to 2nd. Jedd Gyorko chased a 1-2 low-and-away slider and tapped it to the left of the mound. Edman charged forward and threw across his body to get Gyorko at 1st, with the runners advancing to 2nd and 3rd. Eric Sogard lined an up-and-in 1-1 fastball to center for a base hit to score Vogelbach, move Hiura to 3rd and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
With runners at the corners, Orlando Arcia chopped a 3-2 low-and-away slider to Edman at 3rd. Hiura was running on contact and Edman concluded he wouldn’t make the play at the plate and decided to get the sure out at 1st. Hiura scored to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead, with Sogard moving to 2nd. Omar Narvaez popped an 0-2 inside fastball to Edman near the bag to end the inning. Paul DeJong struck out swinging at an elevated 2-2 fastball to lead off the bottom of the 2nd. Yadier Molina struck out when he failed to check his swing at an up-and-in 2-2 fastball. Dexter Fowler flied a 1-0 low-and-away change to Braun in right field in front of the track to end the inning.
Garcia struck out swinging at an 0-2 high-and-outside fastball to lead off the top of the 3rd. Flaherty fell down on the mound after an awkward landing when he delivered the 0-2 pitch to Yelich. He was grimacing in pain, and the staff immediately ran out to check on him. On the replay it looked like he rolled his left ankle. His arm was fine, and he hopped back up and threw a strike for a warmup throw. After a huge collective sigh of relief, he stayed in the game. Yelich, however, drove a low-and-away 3-2 backdoor slider to the opposite field over the left-center field wall for a solo HR to extend the Brewers’ lead to 3-0.
Ryan Braun grounded an outside 1-1 fastball to short. After Vogelbach worked a 3-2 walk, Hiura struck out swinging at an inside 1-2 fastball to end the inning. After Dylan Carlson walked on 5 pitches to lead off the bottom of the 3rd, Tyler O’Neill struck out swinging at an elevated 1-2 fastball. Harrison Bader tapped a low-and-away 0-1 change back to the mound. Suter turned around and tossed the ball to 2nd for the 1-4 force. The Brewers could not double up Bader, but he was stranded there when Wong popped a 3-2 up-and-in fastball to the 2nd baseman Hiura on the outfield grass to end the inning.
Gyorko grounded a low 1-2 slider towards the middle to lead off the top of the 4th, but DeJong fielded it and threw to 1st, where Goldschmidt tagged Gyorko for the out. Sogard lined a high 1-2 fastball for a base hit to left. Arcia drove a low 0-2 fastball to the gap in right-center, but Carlson made a running catch into the sun for the out.
Narvaez tapped a 1-1 outside change back to Flaherty on the mound to end the inning. Edman grounded a 2-1 up-and-in fastball to short to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Goldschmidt softly lined a 1-1 high fastball to 2nd. DeJong lined an outside 3-2 fastball to right for a 2-out base hit. But Molina grounded an up-and-in 2-1 fastball to Sogard at 3rd for the 5-4 force to end the inning.
After Garcia worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the top of the 5th, Yelich walked on 5 pitches. But Flaherty would get out of the inning unscathed. Braun grounded an up-and-in 1-0 sinker to short for a 6-4-3 double play. Vogelbach struck out swinging at an outside 2-2 fastball to end the inning. Righty Devin Williams came in to pitch for the Brewers in the bottom of the 5th. Fowler grounded a low 1-1 change to Gyorko at 1st to lead off the inning. Carlson grounded a low 1-1 change up the middle. Hiura fielded it and tried to make a jumping throw across his body, but Carlson beat it out for an infield it. Brad Miller pinch hit for O’Neill and grounded an outside 1-2 change sharply to Hiura at 2nd for an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
For the top of the 6th, Brad Miller stayed in the game in the #8 spot to play 3B, and Edman moved from 3B to LF. Flaherty’s afternoon was done after 95 pitches and John Gant came out to pitch for the Cards. After Hiura sliced a 2-2 middle-in sinker for a base hit to right, the training staff rushed out to check on Gant. The pitch to Hiura was only 89 miles an hour, and it looked like he stood up straight on his follow-through. Gant was removed from the game and no one was warming up in the bullpen. We later learned he aggravated his previous groin injury. Ryan Helsley had to come in to pitch and warm up on the mound. Gyorko struck out looking at an 0-2 high hanging cutter that caught the top of the zone. Sogard struck out swinging late at an outside 1-2 curve. Arcia flied a low-and-away 1-2 cutter to Bader in right-center to end the inning. Luis Urias replaced Hiura at 2nd base in the #5 spot for the bottom of the 6th. Bader fought off an inside 3-2 fastball and blooped it over the shortstop’s glove for a base hit to lead off the inning. But he was erased when Wong grounded a 1-1 center-cut fastball to Arcia at short, who stepped on the 2nd base bag and fired to 1st for a 6-3 double play. Edman struck out at an elevated 0-2 97 mph fastball to end the inning.
Tyler Webb came out to pitch for the Cards in the top of the 7th. Narvaez grounded a 1-1 hanging change to 2nd to lead off the inning. Garcia sharply grounded an 0-2 center-cut fastball on a hop to DeJong. It was hit 97 mph off of the bat, DeJong couldn’t come up with the hop with his backhand, and the ball bounced into left for a base hit. Yelich tapped a low-and-away 2-2 slider back to the mound. Webb fired to DeJong at short for an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play. Righty Josh Hader came out for the bottom of the 7th to try and close things out for the Brewers. Tyrone Taylor came out to play RF in the #3 spot to replace Braun, and Sogard and Urias switched positions in the infield. Goldschmidt lined a low-and-in 1-0 fastball to the gap in left that dropped, got by Yelich when he tried to field it on the bounce, and rolled to the wall. Goldschmidt was credited with a double. DeJong grounded a low 3-2 fastball to 3rd for the 1st out, with Goldschmidt staying put. Molina struck out swinging at a high-and-outside 3-2 fastball. Fowler struck out looking at a 3-2 center-cut 95 mph fastball to end the game, with Hader picking up his 12th save of the season. See you in about 40 minutes for Game 2.
Flaherty (4 days rest) 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR; Gant (4 days rest, top 6, down 3-0) 0 IP (pitched to 1 batter in the 6th), 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Helsley (2 days rest, top 6, nobody out, man on 1st, down 3-0) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO; Webb (3 days rest, top 7, down 3-0) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO.