The Cardinals came into Sunday’s game looking to convert the three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Adam Wainwright started for the Cards and pitched a strong eight and a third innings of shutout ball to secure the win with a little help from reliever Ryan Helsley. The Rockies’ starter German Marquez was able to scatter six hits and one unintentional walk over six innings, but a home run from Arenado, as well as some shaky defense behind him, ultimately sunk his outing.
Raimel Tapia lifted a soft liner to right on an 0-1 cutter for the first out of the game. Trevor Story ripped a curveball to third where Nolan Arenado backhanded it and threw to first to rob Story of a hit. Ryan McMahon popped out to third on a 1-1 changeup to put the top of the Rockies lineup down in order to start the game.
Tommy Edman grounded a ball into the gap between short and third, and Story made a great throw to get Edman by inches for the first out. Dylan Carlson worked the count full took a fastball the other way for a one-out base hit. Marquez made a pickoff attempt before the sixth pitch in Paul Goldschmidt’s at-bat and the ball got away. Carlson tried to go from first to third on the bad throw, but Connor Joe gunned a perfect throw at third to get Carlson out in front of the bag. Goldschmidt then struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt to end the first.
Charlie Blackmon started the second with a double to left-center on a full-count fastball. Joe walked on a 3-2 curveball in the dirt to put two on and no one out. Fuentes hit a hard line drive but straight at Arenado for the first out. Elias Diaz sharply grounded a sinker back to Wainwright, who knocked it down and threw to second for a 1-4-3 double play to escape the jam.
Arenado worked a full count before tearing a no-doubt home run into the Rockies’ bullpen for a 1-0 Cardinals lead.
DeJong followed with a swinging strikeout, chasing a ball in the dirt. Yadier Molina grounded out to short on a 1-1 sinker for the second out. Justin Williams fell victim to the shift, grounding a slider sharply back up the middle but straight to Story to send the game to the third.
Yonathan Daza reached on a throwing error by DeJong to kick off the top of the third. Marquez got a sacrifice bunt down to move Daza to second. Wainwright got called for a balk before the 1-2 pitch to Tapia (I’m definitely not the person to try to explain a balk, but he looked to have made a strange movement while simultaneously stepping off the rubber, which might have been the offense), moving Daza to third.
balk balk balkin' on heavens dooowowar pic.twitter.com/a5yx2cW6Q7— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) May 9, 2021
Tapia was then called out on a sinker that looked to be just off the inside of the plate for a generous strikeout. Story struck out swinging, way out in front of a curveball, to strand Daza at third.
Harrison Bader led off the Cards’ half of the frame with a solid base hit to center on a 1-2 curveball. Wainwright followed and got down a bunt to move Bader to second. Edman grounded out to first on a 1-1 fastball to move Bader to third with two away. Carlson drew a walk to bring up Goldschmidt, who struck out to end the Cards’ threat.
McMahon led off the fourth with a flyout to left on a 2-2 sinker. Blackmon followed and grounded a curveball to Goldschmidt for the second out. Joe was called out on a sinker that painted the corner low and away for a clean inning from Wainwright.
Arenado grounded a ball down the third baseline and reached safely on an error as the throw from third came in wide. DeJong flew out to center on a 1-2 slider. Yadi then ripped a double into the left-center gap, scoring Arenado to stretch the lead to 2-0 for St. Louis.
Williams struck out swinging at a low slider for the second out. Bader received an intentional walk to bring Wainwright to the plate with two outs and two on. Wainwright swung over a 2-2 breaking ball, striking out and standing two runners.
Fuentes grounded out on a first-pitch curveball to start the fifth. Diaz followed with another groundout to short, where DeJong had to charge it and rush the throw to beat the runner. Daza drew a walk on six pitches and Marquez grounded out to send the game to the bottom of the fifth.
Edman got jammed and popped out to second to kick off the bottom of the inning. Carlson reached base for the third time of the afternoon with another single to center field. Goldschmidt popped up a first-pitch four-seamer to right for the second out of the inning. Arenado then skied a curveball to center to end the fifth.
Tapia jumped on an 0-1 cutter for a leadoff base hit to begin the sixth. Story grounded out to short, but the runner was off with the pitch so they only got one out on what would have normally been a double play ball. McMahon popped a 1-2 curveball to shallow center for the second out. Blackmon went after a first-pitch curveball and lined out to deep center for a loud third out.
DeJong flew out to deep center on a 2-0 fastball for the first out of the bottom of the sixth. Yadi pulled a grounder just inside third base for a one-out double. Williams popped out to third on a first-pitch slider. Bader received another intentional walk so the Rockies could pitch to Wainwright, who struck out swinging over a curve for the final out of the frame.
Joe chopped a soft grounder back to Wainwright for the first out of the seventh. Fuentes then popped out to second and Diaz flew out to center for a perfect inning for Wainwright.
Robert Stephenson relieved Vasquez in the bottom of the seventh and got Edman to chop out on a 2-1 fastball. Carlson finally was retired on a flyout to center field. Goldschmidt extended the inning with a single to center field on a 1-1 breaking ball. Arenado finished the inning, skying a slider to shallow center to retire the Cardinals’ side.
Wainwright returned to pitch the eighth and retired Daza, who swung at and missed a low 1-2 curveball. Matt Adams pinch-hit in the pitcher spot and grounded a ball back to Wainwright, who kicked it towards first before making the toss to first for the out. Tapia chopped another ball to first for the third out and another efficient inning for Wainwright.
Daniel Bard replaced Stephenson for Colorado and got DeJong to fly out to center on an 0-2 slider. Yadi followed with a groundout to shortstop for the second out. Williams extended the inning with a single to center field on a 2-1 fastball. Bader struck out chasing a slider that dove out of the zone to send the game to the ninth.
Wainwright came into the ninth at 99 pitches to face the heart of the Rockies’ order. Story dueled Wainwright for 7 pitches before striking out, waving at a sharp curveball. MacMahon pounced on the first pitch he saw and lined it to left for the first out. Blackmon walked on five pitches, ending a great outing for Wainwright. Ryan Helsley replaced Wainwright and O’Neill replaced Williams in left (better late than never, I guess?). Helsley walked Joe to load the bases with one out. Fuentes then mercifully grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, securing the win as well as the sweep.
The Cards improve to 21-14 to stay two games ahead of Milwaukee in the Central as the Rockies fall to 12-22. The Cardinals get a well-deserved off-day on Monday before beginning a three-game series with Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright (W, 2-3): 8.1 IP / 3 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 3 BB / 5 K / 0 HR
Helsley (S, 1): 0.2 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Marquez (L, 1-4): 6 IP / 6 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 3 BB / 6 K / 1 HR
Stephenson: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Bard 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR