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Gant and Company Allow Only Three Hits as Cards Blank the Reds 2-0

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s game was set to start at 1:15 p.m. Central time, but was delayed by rain for 2 hours and 20 minutes until 3:35. John Gant took the mound for the Cards. Jesse Winker flied a low 0-1 change to shallow left to start the game off. Nick Castellanos drew a 3-2 walk, but Gant struck out Joey Votto swinging at a 2-2 outside hanging backdoor slider and Eugenio Suarez looking at a low-and-away 0-2 sinker to end the inning. Lefty Wade Miley took the hill for the Reds, and the Cards got on the board quickly in the bottom of the 1st. Tommy Edman started the game by blooping an 0-1 low-and-in cutter into left-center for a base hit and Dylan Carlson moved him to 2nd with a lined base hit to right-center on a 1-2 low-and-in fastball. Paul Goldschmidt squibbed an 0-1 low-and-in cutter to 2nd base. Carlson stalled and prevented India from tagging him long enough to permit Edman to move to 3rd and Goldschmidt to reach 1st on the fielder’s choice. With runners at the corners, Nolan Arenado stuck his bat out at a 1-0 low-and-away change and softly lined it to right for a base hit to score Edman and give the Cards a 1-0 lead.

Goldschmidt moved to 2nd on the play. Paul DeJong squibbed a 1-1 low-and-away change up the first base line. The pitcher Miley fielded it and tagged DeJong out, but the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd. Tyler O’Neill torched a low-and-in 1-1 cutter, but hit it right to Winker in left to end the inning.

Gant only needed 9 pitches to get through the top of the 2nd. He got Tyler Naquin to fly a high sinker to shallow left. After Jonathan India grounded a 3-2 sinker up the middle for a base hit, Tucker Barnhart sharply grounded a first-pitch outside sinker to Edman for a nifty 4-6-3 inning-ending double play. Miley retired the Cards in order in the bottom half, getting Andrew Knizner to ground a 1-0 outside cutter to short, Justin Williams to line a 1-2 outside cutter to left, and Gant to strike out looking at a very close 1-2 low-and-away cutter that might have been a ball.

Gant retired the Reds in order again in the top of the 3rd, this time on 11 pitches. Kyle Farmer grounded a low-and-away 1-0 sinker to 2nd. Miley grounded a high 0-2 sinker to 3rd. Winker struck out when he failed to check his swing on a 1-2 slider in the dirt. After Edman flied a high 0-1 fastball to Castellanos in foul territory in right, Carlson blooped a 1-0 inside fastball to right for a base hit. But he was stranded when Goldschmidt struck out looking at a low-and-away 3-2 cutter, and Arenado popped a 2-2 inside fastball a mile high to India at 2nd to end the inning. Both the 3-1 and 3-2 pitches to Goldschmidt were arguably out of the zone.

After Gant struck Castellanos out looking at a 1-2 low-and-away sinker to start the top of the 4th, Votto walked on 5 pitches. Suarez scorched a 3-2 low-and-away sinker that bounced on the dirt and looked like it would be a clear base hit through the right side. But Edman made a fantastic diving stop to his left, and managed to throw Votto out at 2nd from his knees for the 4-6 force.

Naquin then flied an 0-1 low sinker to shallow left to end the inning. Paul DeJong got jammed on an 0-2 inside fastball and softly lined out to 2nd to lead off the bottom of the 4th. O’Neill hit a 1-2 low-and-away change on one hop to Farmer at 3rd, but he bobbled the ball. He caught it in the air off of the bobble, but that was far too late to get O’Neill, who reached 1st safely on the error. Knizner check-swung at a 2-1 low-and-away change and squibbed it slowly to Votto at 1st to allow O’Neill to move to 2nd. But after Williams drew a 3-2 walk, Gant grounded out to short to end the inning.

Gant continued his efficiency in the top of the 5th, retiring the Reds in order on 8 pitches. India flied a first-pitch low sinker to center, Barnhart struck out swinging at a high-and-outside 1-2 sinker and Farmer grounded a low-and-away 1-1 slider to 2nd to end the frame. Miley returned the favor in the bottom half, retiring Edman, Carlson and Goldschmidt all on groundouts. India made a fabulous play on Carlson’s grounder towards the middle, fielding it near the bag, and making a jump throw across his body for the out.

Miley hit for himself to lead off the top of the 6th, and tapped a 2-2 hanging slider to 2nd. Winker broke his bat on a 2-2 inside sinker and blooped it into right for a base hit. Castellanos grounded an inside 2-1 sinker through the hole to left for a bae hit to move Winker to 2nd, but it would only take Gant two more pitches to end the threat. Votto drove a high sinker deep to right-center, but Carlson, who was positioned far away, ran it down at the track. It was deep enough to allow Winker to move to 3rd. Suarez grounded a down-the-middle sinker deep in the hole at short for DeJong, who made a strong bounced throw that Goldschmidt scooped to end the inning. The Cards would add an insurance run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th. After Arenado grounded an outside 1-1 change to 2nd and DeJong flied a 1-0 inside cutter to left, O’Neill drew a 3-2 walk. Knizner then drove a low-and-in 1-1 cutter deep to left-center. Winker jumped for it at the bullpen wall, but misjudged it and missed, and the ball hit the top of the wall for a double to score O’Neill and give the Cards a 2-0 lead. Knizner missed a homer by inches.

Williams grounded an outside 3-1 cutter over the 2nd base bag for Suarez, but he handcuffed Votto with a bounced throw, an error which allowed Williams to reach safely and Knizner to move to 3rd. Austin Dean pinch hit for Gant, but grounded an up-and-in 1-0 cutter to 2nd to end the inning.

Gant’s night was done after 80 pitches, and Genesis Cabrera came in to retire the Reds in order in the top of the 7th. Naquin struck out looking at a 1-2 low-and-away 97 mph fastball near the corner. India grounded a 1-2 inside curve to short. Barnhart grounded a low 3-2 curve to Goldschmidt at 1st for the 3-1 flip to end the inning. Righty Sal Romano relieved Miley for the bottom of the 7th. Edman drove a low 0-1 sinker to the gap in left-center, but Naquin ran it down in front of the track. Carlson broke his bat on a low-and-in 1-1 sinker and blooped it to right-center for a base hit. With Carlson running on the 3-2 pitch, Goldschmidt smoked a low-and-in fastball for a grounder near the hole. Farmer dove to his left, but it was hit so hard that it bounced off of the end of his glove and into left for a base hit to move Carlson to 3rd. But the threat ended when Arenado tapped a low-and-away 2-2 slider to the mound. Romano turned and fired to 2nd for an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play.

Giovanny Gallegos came out to pitch the top of the 8th, and after hitting Farmer in the ribs with a 1-0 fastball, he retired the Reds in order. Mark Payton pinch hit for Romano and grounded a 1-2 low-and-away slider into the shift for Goldschmidt and a 3-6 force. Winker flied a 1-1 down-the-middle fastball to center. Castellanos smoked a hanging 1-2 slider, but lined it right to Arenado at 3rd to end the inning. Righty Heath Hembree pitched the bottom of the 8th for the Reds. DeJong grounded a high 0-2 slider to India at 2nd over the bag. O’Neill flied an outside 2-1 slider to shallow center. Knizner grounded a 2-2 outside slider to 2nd to end the inning.

Gallegos came back out for the top of the 9th and earned a 6-out save by retiring the Reds in order on 9 pitches. Votto grounded an inside 1-2 fastball to the right side into the shift for DeJong. Suarez flied a low-and-away 1-2 slider to center. Carlson initially broke back for the ball and had to hustle mightily forward to avoid having the ball drop. Naquin flied a first-pitch low fastball to deep left, but O’Neill caught it at the track to end the game.

Gant (5 days rest) 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 SO; Cabrera (no rest, top 7, ahead 2-0) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO; Gallegos (no rest, top 8, ahead 2-0) 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO, HBP.

ODDS AND ENDS

The Brewers broke a 2-2 tie with the Cubs in the top of the 7th when backup catcher Manny Pina hit a 2-run homer off of Andrew Chafin and went on to win 4-3. The Brewers will have to scramble to find another member of the rotation as both Brett Anderson and his planned replacement Josh Lindblom went on the injured list before the game. Pirates’ starter Trevor Cahill and the rest of the staff only allowed 3 hits to the Twins and won the game 6-2. Backup catcher Michael Perez went 3-3 with a double, homer and 3 RBIs.