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Cards Almost Blow Four Run Lead in the Ninth, but Hang On to Beat Reds 5-4

KK pitched a beauty and struck out 8, a career high

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

Kwang Hyun Kim took the mound for the Cards. Jesse Winker led off by poking a high 2-1 fastball just to the left of the 2nd base bag and through the middle of the infield for a base hit. That is probably not a hit in a non-shifted defense. Nick Castellanos grounded an inside 2-1 fastball deep into the hole at short. Paul DeJong drifted over to his right and was able to make a throw across his body for a 6-4 force. Eugenio Suarez struck out swinging at a low-and-in 2-2 slider, and Joey Votto struck out swinging at a low-and-away 3-2 slider to end the inning. Righty Sonny Gray took the hill for the Reds. Tommy Edman grounded a low 2-2 fastball down the 1st base line for Votto and a 3-1 flip to start the bottom half. Dylan Carlson, batting in a new spot in the order, struck out looking at a 3-2 backdoor curveball on the edge of the outside corner. It looked like it was a bit outside, but home plate umpire Joe West gave Gray the same pitch earlier in the plate appearance. Paul Goldschmidt struck out looking at a low-and-away 1-2 fastball to end the inning.

Alex Blandino flied an inside 3-1 fastball deep to left-center, but it stalled at the track for Justin Williams for the first out of the top of the 2nd. Nick Senzel lined a first-pitch low curve down the left field line. Williams cut it off before it reached the corner, but Senzel still slid in safely with a double. The Reds could not take advantage. Jonathan India grounded an outside 1-1 change to short and Senzel had to stay put. Tyler Stephenson flied a hanging 0-1 hanging slider to right for Edman on the track near the corner to end the inning. Nolan Arenado flied a low-and-away 2-2 fastball to right-center for the first out of the bottom of the 2nd. Yadier Molina turned on an inside 0-1 fastball and yanked it down the left field line inside the foul pole and into the seats for a solo homer to give the Cards a 1-0 lead.

After Paul DeJong struck out chasing a low-and-away 2-2 slow curve, Matt Carpenter walked on 4 straight pitches. Justin Williams must have been looking for another pitch, because he simply watched a 2-2 fastball go by right down the middle and struck out to end the inning.

Kim retired the Reds in order on 12 pitches in the top of the 3rd. After Gray struck out looking at a low-and-in 3-2 fastball to lead off the inning, Winker flied a 1-0 inside fastball to left. Castellanos struck out chasing a 1-2 low-and-in slider to end the frame. After Kim looked at an 0-2 low fastball that could have been called a strike, he squibbed a 1-2 low-and-in curve off of the plate and down the 3rd base line. Gray tried to hustle to his right from the mound and and grab it, but his off-balance throw was too late, and Kim had an infield hit to start the bottom of the 3rd, the first hit of his MLB career.

Edman grounded a first-pitch hanging curve to 2nd for the 4-6 force. Carlson tomahawked a high 1-2 fastball and blooped it to center for a base hit to move Edman to 2nd. Goldschmidt ripped a low-and-in 1-2 curve down the left field line and into the corner for a double. Edman scored, and Carlson raced around all the way from 1st to score as well, giving the Cards a 3-0 lead.

Arenado lined a low 3-2 fastball to right-center for a base hit to score Goldschmidt and extend the Cards’ lead to 4-0.

Gray hung a first-pitch curve to Molina, and Yadi drove it to the gap in right-center, all the way to the wall for a double to score Arenado from 1st to give the Cards a 5-0 lead.

DeJong grounded a low-and-away 1-0 curve to 3rd for the 2nd out. Carpenter sharply grounded an outside 0-1 curve down the line for Votto and a 3-1 flip to end the inning.

Both Kim and Hembree retired the side in order in the 5th inning. Stephenson lined a first-pitch high-and-outside slider to center, where Carlson made a jumping catch to start the top of the 5th. The pitcher Hembree hit for himself and struck out on three pitches, and that’s a new career-high for Kim. Winker struck out chasing a low-and-away 1-2 slider to end the inning. Molina led off the bottom of the 5th, and when he swung and missed at a 1-1 inside fastball, he looked like he rolled his ankle over and limped when the swing was over. He clearly looked affected by it during his plate appearance and hobbled when he struck out swinging at a 3-2 high-and-outside fastball.

After DeJong flied a first-pitch outside slider to center, Carpenter struck out swinging at an outside 2-2 fastball to end the inning.

Andrew Knizner took over at catcher for Molina for the top of the 6th, and Kim, who was at 70 pitches, went back to the mound. Castellanos drove a 2-2 low-and-in slider into the seats in left-center for a solo HR to cut the Cards’ lead to 5-1.

After Suarez flied a 3-2 high-and-outside fastball deep to the track in right-center and Votto tapped a 1-2 outside slider to the mound, the Cards made a double switch. Ryan Helsley came in to pitch in the #7 spot. Tyler O’Neill was inserted into the #9 spot to play LF, with Williams moving from LF to RF, Edman moving from RF to 2B and Carpenter exiting the game. Helsley struck Blandino out when he failed to check his swing on a 1-2 cutter low-and-away and out of the zone to end the inning. Righty Ryan Hendrix came out to pitch the bottom of the 6th. This was his major league debut, and he only has 16 games above the Class-A Advanced level at AA in his professional career. He retired the Cards in order, striking out Williams chasing a low 1-2 slider, getting O’Neill to fly a 2-1 outside slider to right and striking out Edman chasing a 2-2 low-and-in slider.

After Helsley retired Senzel (grounding a 1-2 hanging cutter to 3rd ) and India (flying a 2-0 inside fastball to right) on 5 pitches, Stephenson grounded a high-and-outside 1-2 fastball inside the right field line for a base hit. When the Reds announced lefty Mark Payton as a pinch hitter for the pitcher Hendrix, Shildt countered with Genesis Cabrera. Reds Manager David Bell then called Payton back and had righty Kyle Farmer pinch hit instead. That’s two out of the Reds’ four bench players burned in one plate appearance. Cabrera struck Farmer out chasing a bounced backdoor 2-2 curve in the dirt to end the inning. Righty Jose De Leon, who started the season in the rotation but gave way to Sonny Gray, came out to pitch the bottom of the 7th. He retired the Cards in order, getting Carlson to ground a low 0-1 sinker to 1st, and then striking out both Goldschmidt (chasing a low-and-in 2-2 change) and Arenado (swinging at a hanging inside 2-2 slider) to end the inning.

Winker smoked a first-pitch inside sinker right off of the bottom of Cabrera’s right foot that deflected past Arenado into the outfield for a base hit to lead off the top of the 8th. The medical staff came out to check on Cabrera, but he was fine. After Castellanos flied a 1-0 hanging change to the track near the right field corner, Shildt brought in Giovanny Gallegos to pitch, and he struck out both Suarez (chasing on 0-2 low-and-away slider) and Votto (swinging at an elevated 1-2 fastball) to end the inning. Lefty Amir Garrett came out to pitch the bottom of the 8th for the Reds, and retired the Cards in order. Knizner flied a low 1-1 fastball to right. DeJong was ahead in the count 3-0, but popped a high 3-1 fastball to Blandino in foul territory. Austin Dean pinch hit for Gallegos and flied an outside 2-1 fastball to center. Senzel got a poor jump on the ball and got confused, but dove forward to make the catch at the last second.

It was at this point that things got interesting. Shildt brought Jordan Hicks in on 5 days of rest to start the top of the 9th. Blandino walked on 4 straight pitches, with the second pitch called a ball when it should have been a high strike. Senzel slowly chopped a first-pitch low-and-in 100 mph sinker to 3rd that moved Blandino to 2nd. India hit an up-and-in 2-2 100 mph sinker for a lazy fly ball to right-center. Williams was close and about to settle under it, when Carlson came racing over for the ball. Williams noticed him at the last second, and to avoid crashing into him, side-stepped him and put his hands up. The ball dropped and rolled past Williams. Blandino scored all the way from 1st and India was given a gift triple.

Tucker Barnhart pinch hit for Stephenson and walked on 5 pitches. The 2-1 pitch was close to the inside corner, but Hicks didn’t get the call. Tyler Naquin was announced as a pinch hitter for Garrett, and the Reds are now out of bench players. Shildt then decided to bring in Alex Reyes. Naquin drew a 3-2 walk to load the bases. Winker also drew a 3-2 walk to score India to cut the Cards’ lead to 5-3. The 0-1 pitch to Winker was very close to the corner low-and-away, but Joe West didn’t give Reyes the call. Castellanos struck out chasing a bounced 2-2 slider in the dirt. Knizner shifted to his left in an attempt to block it, but the ball bounced off of the heel of his mitt and got away to his right and toward the backstop. Knizner didn’t realize immediately where the ball went and got turned around, and in the interim, Barnhart scored on the wild pitch and the other runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Despite the third strike that was not caught, Castellanos was still out and did not become a runner under Official Rule 5.05(a)(2) because first base was occupied and there were fewer than two outs. Suarez, who had already struck out 3 times, was ahead in the count 3-0, but watched a 3-2 hanging slider go right down the middle to strike out and end the game.

Kim (5 days rest) 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 1 HR; Helsley (1 day rest, top 6, 2 out, bases empty, ahead 5-1) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Cabrera (3 days rest, top 7, 2 out, man on 1st, ahead 5-1) .2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Gallegos (2 days rest, top 8, 1 out, man on 1st, ahead 5-1) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO; Hicks (5 days rest, top 9, ahead 5-1) .1 IP, 1 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO; Reyes (1 day rest, top 9, 1 out, men on 1st and 3rd, ahead 5-2) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 SO, allowed 2 out of 2 inherited runners to score.


It turns out that Molina left the game with right foot soreness. That was not the foot that rolled over that appeared to cause the limp. Shildt said after the game that Molina will go for imaging tonight...Brewers starter Brett Anderson had to leave his start against the Cubs with right knee soreness in the bottom of the 1st after facing four batters and only recording one out. The Cubs scored 6 runs in that inning off of him and reliever Josh Lindblom and went on to bomb the Brewers 15-2 with 4 homers, 5 doubles and a triple...Pirates’ starter J.T. Brubaker pitched 7 innings of 5-hit ball against the Twins, but that was all the Twins needed as 2 of the hits were solo homers. The Pirates only got 1 hit all night and lost 2-0.