The Redbirds continued the series at the Marlins on Tuesday, with Cards starter John Gant facing off against the Marlins’ Sandy Alcantara. The game went the opposite of how one would expect if looking at each pitcher’s performance in the early innings. Gant was constantly in trouble and yet found ways to wiggle out with minimal damage, while Alcantara completely shut down St. Louis until the sixth inning, ultimately yielding the lead.
Tommy Edman, starting in right field, led off for the Cardinals, and after working a full count, reached safely on a dribbler to no-man’s land between first and the pitcher’s mound. The flip by first baseman Garrett Cooper to Alcantara came in high, and Alcantara dropped it, earning an error on the play. Paul Goldschmidt popped out to right field on the first pitch he saw. Nolan Arenado struck out on a 2-2 fastball. Edman took off on the pitch, stealing second and giving the Cardinals a runner on second with two away. DeJong flew a 1-2 slider out to center field, retiring the side in 19 pitches from Alcantara.
Corey Dickerson led off for the Marlins in the bottom half of the inning and hit a base hit to left field on the first pitch he saw. Starling Marte followed and hit a line drive straight at Tyler O’Neill in left field. The ball carried and hit off the heel of O’Neill’s glove. After running the ball down, O’Neill threw to third in an attempt to nab Dickerson, but the throw was off, short-hopping past Arenado and rolling behind home. Dickerson scored on the throwing error to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead, and Marte advanced to second. O’Neill was charged with both a fielding and a throwing error on the play.
Cooper worked a full count before drawing a walk to put runners at first and second with no outs. Adam Duvall grounded to Arenado who charged the ball, stepped on third and threw to first for the 5-3 double play, leaving the Marlins with a runner on second and two outs.
Gant fell behind Brian Anderson 3-0, and walked him after working back to a 3-2 count. Jazz Chisholm, Jr. followed, who struck out on an 0-2 sinker that was tipped into Yadier Molina’s glove. Gant miraculously escaped the inning, giving up only one unearned run on 26 pitches.
Matt Carpenter led off for the Cardinals in the second, playing second base, and lined a 2-2 pitch straight to Dickerson in left for out number one. Molina struck out waving at 99 mph four-seamer that went by at eye level. Tyler O’Neill managed to take out a camera lens behind home plate, causing a stoppage of play while the glass that fell on the field was cleaned up. O’Neill then struck out on the next pitch, putting the Cards down in order.
Jorge Alfaro started it off for the Marlins in the bottom of the second, and worked a full count before hitting a grounder to DeJong, who, diving, managed to knock the ball down but didn’t field it cleanly enough to make the throw. Miguel Rojas hit a 1-0 sinker to Arenado, who threw to Carp to initiate a 5-4-3 double play. Alcantara got called out on strikes to end the inning.
Alcantara struck out the side in the top of the third on 12 pitches. Dylan Carlson went down on a check swing for out number one. Gant went down swinging as well, and Edman struck out looking to close out the inning for St. Louis.
Dickerson started off the inning for the Marlins and got hit by an 0-1 slider. Marte ripped a line drive on the first pitch he saw to left for a base hit, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Cooper then worked another full count before walking on a sinker that was called just low, loading the bases for Miami with no outs. Gant got a big strikeout against Duvall, who swung through a changeup for out number one. Anderson popped up the first pitch he saw for an infield fly and the second out of the inning. Chisholm, Jr. struck out swinging and Gant continued his Houdini impression, escaping the inning with no runs.
Goldschmidt struck out swinging to start the fourth inning, before Arenado ripped a first pitch grounder back to Alcantara. It hit off his leg and rolled to third, good for a single and the Cardinals first hit of the night. DeJong struck out swinging on a 1-2 changeup for out number two. Carp grounded out into the shift, bringing the game to the bottom of the fourth.
Alfaro led off for the Marlins, tapping a soft grounder back to Gant, who threw to first for out number one. Rojas lined a sinker to center field for a base hit. Alcantara was next, looking to bunt Rojas over to second. On the 2-1 pitch of the at bat, Rojas swiped second, getting into the base well before the throw from Yadi. Alcantara grounded out to Arenado, and the Marlins had a runner on second with two outs. Dickerson then worked the count full and lined out to Carp, ending the Marlins’ threat.
Yadi jumped on a first pitch slider from Alcantara and dropped it into center field for the Cardinals second hit of the night. O’Neill struck out swinging for the first out, leaving Carpenter as the only starter for the Cardinals who hadn’t struck out at that point. On the 1-1 pitch to Carlson, Alcantara threw a ball in the dirt which squirted past Alfaro, and Molina took second. Carlson then grounded a ball towards shortstop. Yadi, trying to advance to third, collided with Anderson and was called out on interference, leaving Carlson at first with two away. Justin Williams pinch hit for Gant, and went down chasing a 99 mph fastball off the outside edge of the plate for another Cardinals strikeout.
Ryan Helsley pitched the bottom of the fifth, facing Marte to lead off. Marte swung at the first pitch, flying out to Edman in right for the first out of the inning. Cooper followed, getting ahead 3-1 before drawing a his third walk of the game. Duvall hit a pitch up in the zone hard through the gap between third and short, placing runners on first and second with one away. Anderson followed with a single to left, loading the bases. Chisholm, Jr. hit a hard line drive to O’Neill, who made a nice diving catch. Cooper tagged up to score from third on the play, extending the Marlins lead to 2-0 and leaving runners on first and second with two outs. Alfaro fell behind Helsley 0-2 and struck out looking to end the inning.
The Cards returned to the top of the order in the sixth, and Edman reached on a seeing-eye grounder between first and second. Goldschmidt grounded another ball back at Alcantara who got hit by the ball again. Chisholm, Jr. tried to barehand it off Alcantara and bobbled it, resulting in runners on first and second for Arenado with no one out. Arenado worked a full count, and Alcantara spiked a changeup into the dirt for ball four, loading the bases for DeJong. The first pitch to DeJong was misplayed by Alfaro, and Edman came in to score while Goldschmidt and Arenado advanced to second and third, closing the Cardinals deficit to 2-1. DeJong grounded out to third, and Goldschmidt broke home on the throw to first, scoring the tying run as the throw home got past Alfaro.
Arenado advanced to third on the play, giving the Cardinals a runner on third with one down. Carp got ahead 3-0 and was intentionally walked, setting up a double play situation for Yadi. Molina flew out to Marte deep enough in center to score Arenado from third and give the Cards a 3-2 lead. O’Neill flew out to right to end the inning for St. Louis.
Helsley returned for more work in the sixth inning, facing Rojas, who flew out to center on a 1-1 pitch. Jon Berti pinch hit for Alcantara, and walked on five pitches. Genesis Cabrera came in to replace Helsley, setting up a lefty-lefty matchup against Dickerson, who popped out to DeJong for the second out. A 1-2 pitch on Marte got away from Yadi, and Berti advanced to second, putting the tying run in scoring position. Marte then popped out to Carpenter to end the Marlins’ half of the inning.
Dylan Floro replaced Alcantara in the seventh, facing Carlson, who struck out swinging on four pitches. John Nogowski pinch hit for Cabrera and drew a one out walk. Edman popped out to Dickerson in left, and Goldschmidt got under a 1-0 pitch and flew out to center, stranding Nogowski on first.
Giovanny Gallegos came in for the second night in a row to pitch the bottom of the inning and baffled Miami’s hitters. Cooper led off, falling behind 0-2 before striking out, frozen by a fastball. Duvall came up next, and also struck out looking for the second out. Anderson followed with yet another strikeout, watching a slider that painted the corner of the plate.
Yimi Garcia was called on to pitch the eighth for Miami, and got Arenado to pop out to Alfaro. DeJong followed with a one out walk. Carpenter saw seven pitches before flying out to the warning track in left center for a loud second out. Yadi pulled a ground ball through the gap between third and short for a base hit, giving the Cardinals runners on first and second with two outs for O’Neill, who brought the top of the inning to a close with a flyout to right.
Tyler Webb took the mound in the bottom of the eighth to face the bottom of the Marlins order. Chisholm, Jr. chopped a ball down the third baseline, beating the shift for a leadoff double. Alfaro struck out swinging on a high fastball out of the zone for the first out. Rojas swung at the first pitch and flew out to center to put two away. Jesus Aguilar was announced as the pinch hitter for Garcia, and the Cardinals reacted with a double switch, bringing in Alex Reyes to attempt the four out save. Austin Dean was brought in to play right field, and Edman replaced Carpenter at second, with the pitcher now batting fifth in the order.
Reyes walked Aguilar on a 3-1 fastball, at which point Magneuris Sierra was brought in to pinch run for him. Dickerson flew a first pitch fastball to center, where Carlson caught it to retire the side, stranding two baserunners for the Marlins.
Richard Bleier started the ninth for the Marlins, and Sierra remained in the game playing left field. Carlson led off the inning with a home run to left, providing St. Louis with an insurance run and a 4-2 lead.
Dean grounded out to Bleier for the first out, and Edman grounded out to third. Goldschmidt fouled off eight straight pitches before striking out on a twelve pitch at bat to retire the side.
Marte led off the ninth with Reyes looking to finish his second save in as many days. Marte flew out to Edman ranging back into shallow center to put one away. Cooper followed with a groundout to DeJong. Duvall struck out swinging on a 2-2 breaking ball, securing the save for Reyes and the win for the Cards.
The Cardinals moved up to 3-2 on the season, while the Marlins fell to 1-4. The series finale begins at 3:10 PM CDT on Wednesday, with Jack Flaherty pitching for St. Louis against Pablo Lopez for Miami.
The Cardinals found a way to win another game while striking out another twelve times. Luckily for the Cards’ hitters, ugly wins count for just as much in the standings as pretty ones do.
Cardinals starting pitchers have yet to survive longer than five innings in any start so far this season.
Final Pitching Lines
Gant: 4 IP / 4 H / 1 R / 0 ER / 3 BB / 4 K / 0 HR
Helsley (W, 1-0): 1.1 IP / 2 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Cabrera (H, 1): 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Gallegos (H, 2): 1.0 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 0 HR
Webb (H, 1): 0.2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Reyes (S, 2): 1.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Alcantara (L, 0-1): 6 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 10 K / 0 HR
Floro: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Garcia: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Bleier: 1 IP / 1 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 1 HR