Daniel Ponce de Leon took the hill in Sunday’s rubber match against Milwaukee’s Brett Anderson. Early struggles from Ponce, combined with a couple defensive miscues by the Cardinals, dug an early hole that the Cards just couldn’t get out of. Johan Oviedo, however, proved to be a bright spot in an otherwise unimpressive game for St. Louis, pitching 4.2 scoreless innings in the loss.
Lorenzo Cain led off for the Brew Crew and hit the first pitch he saw for a double off the left field fence. The ball was playable, but Austin Dean hesitated and decided to play the bounce off the wall. Daniel Vogelbach knocked Cain in with a grounder up the middle for a single, giving the Brewers an early 1-0 lead. Christian Yelich then flew out to shallow right on a 2-2 count for the first out of the inning. Avisail Garcia followed and ripped a no-doubt home run to left center, widening the deficit to 3-0.
Ponce then walked Travis Shaw on four pitches. Manny Pina hit a line drive to center, where Lane Thomas slid in attempt to make the catch. The ball got by him, and Shaw advanced to third while Pina took second. Jace Peterson popped out to shallow left, holding the runners in place to set up runners on second and third with two away. Luis Urias was intentionally walked, bringing up Brett Anderson in the pitcher spot with the bases loaded. Ponce fell behind 3-0, and eventually walked Anderson on a borderline 3-2 pitch at the knees, giving the Brewers a 4-0 lead. Cain came up for the second time in the inning, flying out to Dylan Carlson in right field and finally retiring the side.
Tommy Edman started things off for St. Louis with a base hit on a line drive to right field. Paul Goldschmidt hit a grounder to Urias at short, who kicked off a 6-4-3 double play. Nolan Arenado managed a base hit on a ground ball through the left side of the infield, securing a nine-game hitting streak to start the season. Yadier Molina grounded out to second to end the inning.
Vogelbach walked to lead off the second inning for Milwaukee. Yelich lined a 1-2 pitch to center for a base hit, giving the Brewers runners on first and second with no outs. Garcia followed and flew out to center on the first pitch of the at bat for out number one. Shaw ripped a 449-foot home run to deep right on a full count, knocking in three runs, extending the Brewers lead to 7-0, and ending Sunday’s outing for Ponce de Leon.
Recent call-up Johan Oviedo replaced Ponce de Leon, and gave up a grounder to Pina for a base hit through the left side of the infield. Peterson struck out on a 2-2 curveball from Oviedo for the second out, and Urias grounded out to Arenado, sending the game to the bottom of the second.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. replaced Yelich in left field in the bottom of the inning, who was pulled due to back tightness. Paul DeJong flew out to the warning track in center for the first out, and Carlson followed with a walk on a full count. Dean pushed a ground ball down the first base line, past a diving Vogelbach for a hit, resulting in Cards runners on first and second with one out. Lane Thomas then drew a walk to load the bases. Oviedo chopped a ball to second for a groundout, advancing the runners and scoring Carlson to bring the score to 7-1. Edman, coming to the plate with runners on second and third and two away, hit a 113 mph line drive straight at Shaw to end the inning.
Anderson began the inning for Milwaukee by grounding out to Edman at second. Cain followed by grounding out to short for out number two. Oviedo then struck out Vogelbach to retire the side in order.
Goldschmidt led off the third for the Cards and chopped a grounder to Shaw for the first out. Arenado flew out to the warning track in left before Yadi hit a line drive to the left-center gap for a two-out double. DeJong then grounded out to Shaw, stranding Yadi at second.
Bradley, Jr. started the inning by grounding out to second. Garcia struck out swinging on a 3-2 breaking ball and Shaw flew out to center, securing another clean inning from Oviedo.
Carlson led off the bottom of the fourth, golfing a low pitch to center for a flyout. Dean followed with a groundout to second before Thomas hit a two-out single to right field. Oviedo struck out looking to end the inning.
Oviedo returned in the fifth inning and gave up a leadoff walk to Pina. Peterson walked as well, giving the Brewers runners on first and second with no outs for Urias. Urias grounded out to DeJong, who threw to second for the force out, leaving runners at the corners with one away. Anderson, trying to advance the runners, bunted a ball immediately in front of the plate. Yadi jumped on it, throwing to second (and almost hitting Oviedo in the face with the throw) to initiate an inning-ending 2-6-4 double play as Edman covered first.
The top of the Cardinals order led off the bottom of the fifth and Edman grounded out to Shaw for the first out. Goldschmidt followed with a lineout to first, and Arenado lined out to center, putting the Cards down in order.
Cain came up first in the sixth, flying out to Dean in left for the first out. Vogelbach grounded out to Edman, and Bradley, Jr. lined a base hit to center field. Oviedo struck out Garcia with another nasty breaking ball to strand Bradley, Jr. at first and retire the side.
Daniel Robertson replaced Shaw at third in the sixth, and submarine pitcher Eric Yardley came in to pitch for Anderson. Molina led off, drawing a seven-pitch walk. DeJong followed, taking first on a HBP. Carlson came up next and dropped a flare into shallow left for a base hit. Dean, with the bases loaded, grounded a ball just inside the first base lane for a two-RBI double, closing the deficit to 7-3.
Thomas was the next to bat with runners at second and third and no outs. He chopped a ball back to the pitcher, who threw the ball to first for one out. Carlson stayed at third on the play, while Dean broke from second on contact. Dean, left with nowhere to go as third was occupied, got in a rundown and was tagged out for a double play. Carpenter pinch hit for Oviedo and flew out to right to end the inning.
Jordan Hicks came in to pitch the seventh for the Cardinals, facing Robertson, who grounded out to short. Pina followed with a swinging strikeout, and Peterson flew out to center for a clean inning from Hicks.
J.P. Geyereisen started the seventh for Milwaukee, getting Edman and Goldschmidt to fly out to right to start the inning. Arenado walked, bringing in Molina with one on and two outs, who flew out to center to retire the side.
Hicks returned for another inning of work, and walked Urias to lead things off. Billy McKinney pinch hit for Feyereisen and struck out on a ball in the dirt while Urias stole second. Cain followed McKinney, and the ball got away from Molina on the 2-0 pitch of the at bat, advancing Urias to third with one out. Cain drew a walk, resulting in runners at the corners.
Tyler Webb then replaced Hicks to face Vogelbach. Cain stole second on the first pitch, and while the throw looked to be on time, the tag from DeJong came in late as he fielded the throw well in front of the bag. Vogelbach struck out swinging for the second out, bringing in Bradley, Jr. with runners on second and third and two outs. Bradley, Jr. flew out to DeJong in shallow center to end the top of the inning, stranding Brewers at second and third.
Brad Boxberger pitched the eighth for the Crew, and got DeJong to pop out to Pina behind the plate. Carlson struck out swinging and Dean grounded out to third, resulting in another quiet inning for the Redbirds’ bats.
Genesis Cabrera faced the heart of Milwaukee’s order in the ninth. Garcia grounded the ball to shortstop, but the throw to first came in low and Goldschmidt couldn’t hang on, resulting in a throwing error for DeJong. Robertson grounded softly to second, and Goldschmidt was able to make the tag for the first out as Edman’s throw pulled him off the bag. Pina, with a runner on second and one away, crushed another home run to left field, extending the Brewers’ lead to 9-3. Peterson and Urias both struck out swinging for outs two and three.
Thomas started off the Cardinals’ ninth inning, facing Drew Rasmussen for Milwaukee, and struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch. Justin Williams pinch hit for Cabrera and dropped a base hit into left field. Edman flew out to left for the second out, and Paul Goldschmidt popped out to shallow left to end the game.
The Cardinals fall to 5-4 on the season after the loss as the Brewers improve to 5-4. The Cardinals host the Washington Nationals on Monday, with the first game of the series starting at 6:45 PM CT. John Gant is slated to start for St. Louis, facing off against Erick Fedde for the Nats.
The Cardinals made a few roster changes over the weekend. Tyler O’Neill was sent to the 10-day IL with a right groin strain and the Cards sent Jake Woodford down to the minor league training site. Lane Thomas and Johan Oviedo were called up to fill the roster spots.
Ponce de Leon was not fooling any Milwaukee hitters, as the average exit velocity against him on the day was 92 mph, per the Cardinals TV broadcast.
DeJong’s slump continued today, as he is now 0 for his last 24 at bats.
Some good news may be coming on the starting rotation front, as Kwang Hyun Kim completed a simulated game today and seems to be on track to rejoin the club in Philadelphia next weekend.
Final Pitching Lines
Ponce de Leon (L, 1-1): 1.1 IP / 6 H / 7 R / 7 ER / 4 BB / 0 K / 2 HR
Oviedo: 4.2 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / 0 HR
Hicks: 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 2 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Webb: 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1 IP / 1 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 1 HR
Anderson (W, 1-1): 5 IP / 5 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Yardley: 1 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Feyereisen: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Boxberger: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Rasmussen: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR