The Cardinals continued their homestand on Monday, playing the first of a three-game series against the Phillies. Adam Wainwright took the hill against Zack Wheeler and both pitchers threw absolute gems. Wainwright went the distance in a gutsy performance, throwing a complete game but taking the loss due to two mistakes to Rhys Hoskins, who hit both for solo home runs. Wheeler was just as impressive and one-hit the Cards through eight-plus innings, and was basically untouchable for the Cardinals’ hitters. The pace at which both pitchers worked and the contrast of pitching styles, mixed with how flat-out sharp each one’s pitches were, combined for a memorable pitching duel that the Cards fell on the wrong side of. (Unfortunately, couldn’t find any compilations of Wheeler’s night since both were fun to watch, but feel free to admire Waino’s CG below.)
Brad Miller led off the game for the Phillies and struck out swinging over the top of Wainwright’s signature curveball. Hoskins followed and was called out on strikes on a 2-2 four-seamer at the knees. Bryce Harper grounded an 0-1 fastball to shortstop, and Paul DeJong made the throw to first for the third out to retire the Phillies in order.
Tommy Edman went down looking at a fastball on the outside corner for the first out in the bottom of the inning. Dylan Carlson struck out as well, tipping a fastball into J.T. Realmuto’s glove. Paul Goldschmidt popped out to Hoskins at first for the final out of a clean inning for Wheeler.
Realmuto started things off for the Phils in the second inning, lacing a liner to center for a base hit. Didi Gregorius then hit a sharp grounder to Goldschmidt, who threw to DeJong at second to start a 3-6-3 double play.
Alec Bohm struck out looking at a fastball that went for a generous strike three to end the top of the inning.
Nolan Arenado lined out to left on the first pitch of the at-bat for the first out. Yadier Molina went down swinging on three pitches and DeJong grounded 2-2 slider back up the middle for the third out to close another quick inning for both teams.
Odubel Herrera started the third with a three-pitch strikeout, looking at a fastball high and inside in the zone. Nick Maton struck out waving at a 2-2 curveball. Wheeler grounded a curveball to second for the third out and Wainwright was cruising with just 31 pitches over the first three innings.
Tyler O’Neill struck out looking at a 99 mph fastball on the outside corner of the plate to lead off the bottom of the third. Justin Williams struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt for the second out. Wainwright hit a sharp line drive straight to Hoskins, and the third inning ended just 37 minutes after the scheduled start time for the game.
Miller took a 1-1 cutter to the opposite field in left for a leadoff single. Hoskins lined out sharply to Arenado, who threw to first to catch Miller off the bag for the double play. Harper sent the game to the bottom of the fourth, grounding out to shortstop on a 2-2 fastball.
Edman grounded out to first on a 2-2 fastball to start the Cards’ half of the fourth. Carlson went down swinging at a high fastball outside of the zone. Goldschmidt popped a flyball to shallow left for the final out, and both pitchers had faced the minimum number of batters through four innings.
Realmuto singled into left field on a 1-1 curveball to start the fifth. Gregorius hit a first-pitch popup to foul territory, which Arenado caught for out number one. Bohm grounded a 3-2 curveball to Arenado who threw to first for the second out. Realmuto was off on the pitch and advanced to second on the play. Herrera flew out to Williams in right on a 1-1 curveball, stranding Realmuto at second.
Arenado led off the bottom of the fifth for the Redbirds and struck out swinging at a 3-2 sinker low and in. Yadi flared a soft grounder to second on a 2-2 fastball for the second out. DeJong worked a nine-pitch at-bat before dropping a line drive in right for the Cardinals’ first hit. O’Neill then popped out to first to end the inning.
Maton started the sixth for Philadelphia and struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt for the first out. Wheeler grounded out back to Wainwright. Miller struck out looking at a fastball on the inside corner, making him Wainwright’s seventh strikeout victim through six innings.
Williams walked to lead things off in the bottom of the inning for St. Louis. Wainwright bunted a ball high on an 0-2 count. Wheeler let the ball drop and threw to second to initiate a 1-6-3 double play as Williams was left in no man's land on the basepaths. Edman struck out swinging at a slider to retire the Cardinals’ side.
Hoskins led off the seventh by launching a hanging curveball from Wainwright into Big Mac Land for a 1-0 Phillies lead.
Harper got a hold of a sinker on a 1-2 count but hit it to dead center, where Carlson made the catch at the wall. Realmuto singled to center on a 1-2 fastball. Gregorius pulled two balls foul that had home run distance but ultimately popped out to Arenado for the second out. Bohm then lined out to right on a tremendous diving catch by Williams to end the Phillies’ threat.
Carlson popped out to Gregorius on a 1-0 fastball. Goldschmidt followed with a groundout to third. Arenado worked a full count before drawing a walk on a breaking ball in the dirt. Yadi flew out to right, stranding Arenado and ending the inning.
Odubel Herrera flew out to deep left on the first pitch of the inning. Maton and Wheeler each grounded out to second for a quick eighth for Wainwright.
DeJong took a 2-0 pitch to the opposite field for a flyout to start the bottom of the eighth. O’Neill followed with a groundout to short. Williams struck out swinging on a 3-2 slider to send the game to the ninth.
Wainwright returned to pitch the ninth and got Miller to ground out on an 0-2 curveball. Hoskins flew a first-pitch cutter to left-center, where Carlson just missed robbing what turned out to be a home run that extended the Phillies’ lead to 2-0.
Harper went down swinging on a low curveball for the second out. Realmuto flew a 1-0 curveball to Williams in right for the final out and Wainwright received an ovation for a phenomenal outing.
The Phillies replaced Brad Miller with Scott Kingery in left field in the bottom of the inning. Matt Carpenter pinch-hit for Wainwright and drew a walk to get to the top of the Cards’ order. The Phillies pulled Wheeler, bringing in Hector Neris to close out the game. Edman ripped a first-pitch grounder off the glove of Maton for a base hit, putting runners on first and third with no outs for Carlson. Carlson grounded out to second, scoring Carpenter to cut the lead to 2-1 and moving Edman to second base. Goldschmidt popped out to Bohm in foul territory, who nearly overran the ball and had to nearly fall over backwards to make the catch. Arenado flew out to the warning track in left-center to cut the Cardinals’ comeback short.
With the loss, the Cardinals drop to .500 at 11-11, while the Phillies improved to the same record on the season. The series continues Tuesday at 6:45 PM CT, with Carlos Martinez scheduled to start against Zach Eflin for the Phillies.
According to the Cardinals’ TV broadcast, Miles Mikolas threw another simulated game in which he was able to throw breaking pitches. While the results were apparently encouraging, the timetable for his return is still in doubt as the Cards are being careful not to rush him back too quickly.
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright (L, 0-3): 9 IP / 6 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 8 K / 2 HR
Wheeler (W, 2-2): 8 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 3 BB / 9 K / 0 HR
Neris (S, 4): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR