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The Darvish and Contreras Show Beat Cards 4-1 in First of Five

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The moral of the story tonight was that the Cards just couldn’t hit Cubs’ starter Yu Darvish. He had a perfect game until Carpenter’s homer in the top of the 6th. Darvish could put any pitch anywhere he wanted at any time in the count. He struck out 11 out of the 22 batters he faced and walked none.

Everyone in the Cards lineup struck out at least once. Edman, Miller and Carpenter struck out twice and O’Neill had the hat trick. The Cards only had 2 hits all night. Meanwhile, Jack Flaherty got knocked out in the 3rd inning after 69 pitches, which was precipitated by his throwing 43 pitches in the 1st inning.

The cited numbers against the Cubs are skewed and a tad unfair because Flaherty only lasted 1.1 IP against the Cubs in his first start back after the Cardinals’ 16-day layoff. But the Cardinals were surely hoping that with 7 games in 5 days, Flaherty could have gone longer than 2.2 IP. But you have to give the Cubs credit. They were patient, spoiled some tough pitches and made Flaherty work. And Darvish showed tonight why he’s one of the best starters in baseball right now.

Kolten Wong struck out swinging at an 0-2 splitter low-and-away and out of the zone from Cubs starter Yu Darvish to lead off the game. Tommy Edman struck out looking at a 2-2 middle-in fastball while expecting another pitch. Paul Goldschmidt grounded a low 3-2 cutter through the mound and towards the middle, but 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis was stationed right over the 2nd base bag and threw Goldy out to end the inning. Jack Flaherty took the mound for the Cards. Kyle Schwarber struck out swinging at an outside 3-2 tailing fastball to lead off the bottom half. Kris Bryant ripped a center-cut 90 mph 1-1 fastball down the left field line and into the corner for a double. After Anthony Rizzo walked on 5 pitches, Javier Baez struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball up-and-in. Jason Heyward then worked a 3-2 walk to bring up Willson Contreras. That was an 8-pitch plate appearance. On the 9th pitch of his plate appearance, Contreras softly lined a middle-in 3-2 fastball to center for a base hit. Both Bryant and Rizzo scored to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead, with Heyward moving to 3rd.

Victor Caratini grounded a 2-2 hanging slider right to Goldschmidt on the 1st line and he stepped on the bag to end the inning. Flaherty hasn’t been able to get his slider over, the Cubs hitters aren’t biting and he’s already thrown 43 pitches.

Brad Miller grounded an 0-2 low-and-in splitter to Baez into the shift near where the 2nd baseman would normally stand to lead off the top of the 2nd. Paul DeJong flied a 2-2 hanging slider to the track in left. Yadier Molina chased a low-and-away 2-2 cutter and grounded it to 3rd to end the inning. Cameron Maybin struck out swinging at an 0-2 slider low-and-away and out of the zone to start the bottom of the 2nd. Jason Kipnis struck out on a 1-2 slider that Flaherty buried low-and-in. Schwarber grounded a first-pitch low slider to 2nd to end the inning. Flaherty got out of that inning in 9 pitches.

Matt Carpenter struck out looking at a 2-2 back door slider to lead off the top of the 3rd. Tyler O’Neill chased a 1-2 slider about a foot outside to strike out. Dylan Carlson ripped a low 1-2 splitter hard up the middle, but Baez happened to be stationed right over the bag and caught it to end the inning. Kris Bryant flied a low-and-in 1-0 slider to the track in center for the first out of the bottom of the 3rd. After Flaherty hit Rizzo with 1 -0 fastball on the right elbow, Baez grounded a hanging slider deep into the hole at short. DeJong made a great stretch and grab, then made a turn-around jump throw to Wong, who made a good stretch to ensure the force out. Heyward lined a 2-2 center-cut fastball to center for a base hit to move Baez to 3rd. With runners at the corners now, Contreras did it again, sharply grounding a 2-2 outside slider through the right side for a base hit to score Baez, move Heyward to 2nd and extend the Cubs’ lead to 3-0. Jake Woodford had already warmed up for the 2nd time, and after 69 pitches Shildt concluded that Flaherty’s night was over. Woodford came in to pitch to Caratini, who grounded a low 3-2 slider to short to end the inning. Goldschmidt had to scoop DeJong’s throw out of the dirt.

Wong sliced an inside 1-0 fastball to shallow left, but Schwarber made a running catch for the first out of the top of the 4th. Edman struck out looking at a filthy 2-2 low-and-in sinker that tailed over the plate. Goldschmidt chased an inside 2-2 splitter and grounded it to 3rd to end the inning. Cameron Maybin grounded an outside 0-1 slider up the middle for a base hit to lead off the bottom of the 4th. Kipnis blooped a high 1-1 fastball to center. Carlson got a late break on the ball. DeJong went out for the ball, but it looked like Carlson called him off and the ball dropped between them. Fortunately for the Cards, they were able to get your basic 8-4 force to throw Maybin out at 2nd base. Schwarber then sharply grounded an outside 1-1 fastball towards the middle, but DeJong was stationed just to the left of the bag. He fielded the ball, stepped on 2nd and fired to 1st for an inning-ending 6-3 double play.

Brad Miller struck out looking at a 3-2 outside back door curve that just clipped the corner to lead off the top of the 5th. Miller was furious at the call, but at least according to Gameday and the television box, it was a strike. DeJong struck out swinging at a hanging 1-2 splitter. Molina struck out swinging at a 2-2 low-and-away slider to end the inning. Bryant flied a high 2-2 fastball to right to lead off the bottom of the 5th. Rizzo popped a 1-1 up-and-in curve to DeJong on the right side of the diamond. Baez grounded a 2-2 low curve to 3rd to end the inning.

To lead off the top of the 6th, Carpenter worked a 9-pitch plate appearance and drove a low-and-away 3-2 slider that kept carrying and went just over the right-center field wall and into the basket for a solo HR.

That homer ended Darvish’s perfect game and cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-1. O’Neill basically had the same plate appearance as last time—he chased a 1-2 slider about a foot outside and struck out. Carlson grounded a 3-2 hanging cutter to 2nd. Wong grounded a first-pitch inside cutter to short to end the inning. Heyward grounded an inside 2-1 slider to lead off the bottom of the 6th. Contreras then lined a first-pitch hanging slider over the left field wall for a solo HR to extend the Cubs’ lead to 4-1. He’s got every one of the Cubs’ 4 RBIs.

Caratini grounded a low-and-in 3-2 slider to Goldschmidt guarding the line for the 3-1 flip. Maybin smoked a 1-1 inside fastball for a grounded base hit to left past the glove of the diving Carpenter. Shildt then brought in Tyler Webb to pitch. Jose Martinez pinch hit for Kipnis. Webb’s 1-2 pitch was a change in the dirt that bounced and got away to Molina’s left for a wild pitch that allowed Maybin to move to 2nd base. But Martinez couldn’t lay off a 2-2 high-and-outside fastball and failed to check his swing, striking out to end the inning.

Nico Hoerner came out to play 2B in the #9 spot for the top of the 7th. Edman flied a first-pitch hanging curve to left-center. Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a 1-2 up-and-in 97 mph fastball. Darvish then blew Brad Miller away with a 1-2 outside 97 mph fastball to end the inning. To lead off the bottom of the 7th, Schwarber sliced an outside fastball that O’Neill caught up against the sidewall. Bryant lined an 0-1 center-cut fastball to left, where O’Neill made a running catch. Rizzo popped a hanging 1-1 curve in front of the mound. Webb tried to make the catch, but he misjudged the popup and the ball bounced off of the heel of his glove. Rizzo reached on the fielding error. Shildt then brought in Alex Reyes to pitch to Baez, who sharply grounded a low-and-in 1-2 curve through the hole to left past the glove of the diving Carpenter for a base hit to move Rizzo to 2nd. Heyward drove a high-and-outside first-pitch fastball to the track in left-center that Carlson caught after almost tripping over his own feet.

Darvish’s night was done after 101 pitches, and the Cubs brought in righty Rowan Wick to pitch the top of the 8th. DeJong drove a low-and-in 2-1 fastball to the track in center that Maybin caught with his back up against the ivy. Molina lined an outside 1-1 fastball to center for a base hit. Carpenter struck out swinging at a 1-2 elevated 96 mph fastball. O’Neill struck out swinging at a middle-in 3-2 fastball to end the inning. Contreras grounded a first-pitch up-and-in fastball to short to start the bottom of the 8th. After Caratini worked a 3-2 walk, Maybin struck out swinging at a 1-2 slider in the dirt. Hoerner sharply grounded a 1-2 outside slider through the right side for a base hit to move Caratini to 2nd. Schwarber grounded a low 2-1 fastball towards the mound and off of Reyes’s glove. The ball deflected to the right side, where DeJong was positioned in the shift, and he threw Schwarber out to end the inning.

Righty Jeremy Jeffress came out to try to close things out in the top of the 9th. Carlson struck out looking at a 3-2 splitter that just barely caught the bottom of the zone. After Wong walked on 4 pitches, Edman grounded an outside fastball up the middle. Baez, who was stationed right there, fielded the ball, slipped and then tagged the base with the ball and got up and fired to first for a game-ending 6-3 double play.

Flaherty (5 days rest) 2.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, HBP; Woodford (3 days rest, bottom 3, 2 out, men on 1st and 2nd, down 3-0) 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR; Webb (2 days rest, bottom 6, 2 out, man on 1st, down 4-1) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Reyes (5 days rest, bottom 7, 2 out, man on 1st, down 4-1) 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO.

ODDS AND ENDS

Daniel Ponce de Leon will not be added as the 29th man for the doubleheader tomorrow as we were originally told, instead throwing a side session today. Although Mike Shildt had announced earlier that Ponce would appear, when asked about Ponce’s appearing in the doubleheader today, he said “he didn’t get the memo.” There’s a strong likelihood that Andrew Miller will be activated from the 10-day IL tomorrow afternoon as the 29th man and that someone else will be optioned to the ATS after the doubleheader is over. Carlos Martinez is very tentatively scheduled to appear in the doubleheader against the Twins on Tuesday, September 8th...The Reds and Pirates split their doubleheader. The Reds won Game 1 4-2 behind Luis Castillo’s 6 innings pitched and he finally picked up his first win of the season. Raisel Iglesias picked up his 5th save in that game. But the Pirates won the 2nd game 4-3. Trevor Bauer got hit with a hard-luck loss. He had a 2-0 lead in the 4th, but after an error and a single, he gave up a game-tying triple to Anthony Alford, then threw a wild pitch to give the Pirates the lead. After Mike Moustakas tied the game up with a solo homer in the bottom of the 4th, the Pirates scored the winning run on a double play after two singles. Richard Rodriguez picked up his 3rd save for the Pirates...The Brewers beat the Indians 7-1 after busting out for 4 runs in the top of the 7th with the help of the Indians defense to break a 1-1 tie. Brewers’ starter Corbin Burnes went 6 innings, walked 2, gave up only 3 hits and struck out 7.