The Cardinals started a series with the Colorado Rockies on Friday, with Jack Flaherty starting the first game against former Cardinals prospect Austin Gomber. Flaherty pitched a great game in the win, fanning six over seven innings while contributing a home run on the offensive side of the ball. Gomber looked sharp early and struck out seven but ended up getting tagged for five earned and two home runs over five innings.
Raimel Tapia led off the game for the Rockies, shooting a comebacker to Flaherty on an 0-1 fastball for the first out of the game. Trevor Story followed and struck out looking at a fastball that painted the inside corner. Ryan McMahon kept the inning alive for Colorado by dropping a soft line drive into left for a base hit. Charlie Blackmon ripped a 1-1 four-seamer over the shift for another hit, bringing up Garrett Hampson with two on and two out. Hampson grounded a ball into the gap at short for an infield hit, but Blackmon rounded second thinking McMahon was going home, and Paul DeJong threw behind him, nabbing him on a tag from Tommy Edman to end the Rockies’ threat.
Edman began the bottom of the frame for the Cards, striking out looking on a curveball that dropped close enough to the zone to satisfy the home-plate umpire for the first out. Dylan Carlson struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt. Paul Goldschmidt popped a 1-1 changeup to shortstop for the final out.
Former Cardinal Matt Adams struck out swinging at a low 2-2 slider to kick off the second inning. Josh Fuentes lined another 1-1 slider that carried to Harrison Bader in center for the second out. Dom Nunez lifted a ball down the left field line where Tyler O’Neill closed on it and made a great diving catch to put the Rockies down in order.
Nolan Arenado hit a 2-1 fastball deep down the right field line that dropped and bounced into the seats for a ground-rule double. DeJong struck out swinging through a fastball for the first out and O’Neill went down taking a hack at a curveball at the bottom of the zone. Bader got a 2-2 curveball that was belt high and lined it just over the wall in left-center for a two-run bomb, putting the Cardinals ahead 2-0.
Knizner swung at the first pitch and popped out to second to finish the inning.
Gomber popped out on a 1-0 slider to begin the third inning. Tapia then lifted a 1-1 change to left for the second out. Story walked on a 3-2 fastball that missed wide to extend the inning. McMahon worked a full count but grounded a slider to second to bring the Rockies’ half of the frame to a close.
Flaherty crushed a 3-1 fastball over the visiting bullpen for a solo shot, much to the delight of Wainwright, stretching the lead to 3-0 for St. Louis.
Edman followed the homer and lined out to first for the first out. Carlson grounded a ball to third, but the throw from Fuentes was in the dirt, allowing Carlson to reach on a throwing error. Goldschmidt saw nine pitches in his at-bat but finally struck out swinging over a slider. Arenado struck out chasing a curveball in the dirt, the sixth strikeout victim for Gomber through three innings.
Blackmon started the fourth with a groundout to first on a 1-0 changeup. Hampson struck out swinging at a 2-2 slider and Adams grounded out into the shift to end the top of the fourth.
DeJong grounded an 0-1 change to short for the first out. O’Neill went down chasing another big curveball from Gomber. Bader got under a slider up in the zone, popping it to right for a one-two-three inning.
Fuentes led off the fifth with a flyout to center and Nunez grounded out to second, both on sliders from Flaherty. Gomber struck out swinging through a fastball to sit the Rockies down in order for the second straight inning.
Knizner flared a line drive to right for a leadoff single. Flaherty tried to bunt him over but popped out to Nunez behind the plate.
Edman threaded a single through the left side to bring up Carlson with two on and one away. Carlson took a slider back up the middle, scoring Knizner on a base hit for a 4-0 Cards lead. Edman advanced to third on the play, placing runners at the corners with only one out. Golschmidt grounded a changeup to third and Fuentes almost started a fantastic double play, but the turn was slow and the throw was wide, so Goldschmidt took first as Edman scored for a 5-0 lead for St. Louis. Arenado grounded out to first, stranding Goldschmidt.
Tapia skied a 1-2 fastball to left for the first out of the sixth inning. Story worked the count full then swung through a fastball for a strikeout. McMahon then grounded a first-pitch slider to first for another clean inning from Flaherty.
Jordan Sheffield replaced Gomber in the bottom of the sixth and got DeJong on a groundout to first to start the bottom of the frame. O’Neill tapped a ball in front of the plate, where Nunez fielded it and threw to first for the second out. Bader flew out to deep right on a 3-2 four-seamer to put the Cards down in order as well.
Flaherty returned to pitch the seventh despite having thrown 95 pitches through six innings. He got Blackmon to fly out to right on a 1-1 slider and got Hampson on four pitches looking at a fastball. Adams flew out on a first-pitch sinker, putting Flaherty at 103 pitches through seven frames.
Knizner struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball to start the Card’s half of the inning. Carpenter, pinch-hitting for Flaherty, flew out to left for the second out. Edman walked on five pitches and Carlson moved him to third on a base hit to right, but Goldschmidt ended the threat, flying out to right to close out the inning.
Ryan Helsley replaced Flaherty in the eighth inning and retired Fuentes on a groundout to third on a 1-1 cutter. Nunez followed with a groundout to first and pinch-hitter Connor Joe grounded another ball to third for the final out, putting the Rockies down in order again in the eighth.
Lucas Gilbreath relieved Sheffield in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Arenado. DeJong struck out swinging at a fastball and O’Neill and Bader both lined out to center to send the game to the ninth.
Genesis Cabrera came in to finish the game for the Redbirds and gave up a leadoff single to Tapia. Story lined out on 2-2 curveball and McMahon and Blackmon both went down looking at fastballs to end the game.
The Cardinals moved up to 19-14 with the win and the Rockies dropped to 12-20. Carlos Martinez is scheduled start game two of the series on Saturday against Colorado’s Chi Chi Gonzalez. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:15 CT.
Yadier Molina took batting practice on Friday and will likely travel with the team on the next road trip.
Final Pitching Lines
Flaherty (W, 6-0): 7 IP / 3 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 6 K / 0 HR
Helsley: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Cabrera: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Gomber: (L, 2-4): 5 IP / 6 H / 5 R / 5 ER / 0 BB / 7 K / 2 HR
Sheffield: 2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Gilbreath: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR