The Cardinals traveled to Denver on Thursday for a four-game set against the Colorado Rockies. They were welcomed with a 58-minute rain delay before play began with Colorado’s Antonio Sentazela taking the bump across from Adam Wainwright. Wainwright . . . is just exceptional (more on that in the Quick Notes below). He was tagged for a two-run shot in the second but was great otherwise, throwing eight innings on 110 pitches and escaping multiple tough jams. Sentazela was tagged for a run in the first and another one in the third on a solo shot by Paul Goldschmidt before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh. Unfortunately, Wainwright’s start was squandered as Giovanny Gallegos, with two outs in the ninth, uncharacteristically walked two batters before giving up a walk-off three-run blast to Elias Diaz, leading to a 5-2 loss for the Cardinals.
Dylan Carlson led off for the Cards, working a full count before swinging behind an outside fastball for the first out. Paul Goldschmidt drove a fastball to right field for a one-out single. Nolan Arenado, after receiving a prolonged standing ovation from the Colorado faithful, popped out to first for out number two. Tyler O’Neill chopped out to shortstop to retire the Cardinals in the first.
Garrett Hampson began the bottom of the inning with a base hit to left. The throw from O’Neill was off-line at second, allowing Hampson to advance on the throwing error. Yonathan Daza then lined out to center for out number one. Trevor Story was frozen by a front-door curveball for the second out. Charlie Blackmon grounded out to short, stranding the leadoff hit at second.
Yadier Molina skied a first-pitch slider to center for the first out of the second. Tommy Edman ripped a hanging slider into the gap in left-center and slid safely into third for a triple. Paul Dejong grounded a slider into left field, scoring Edman to give the Redbirds a 1-0 lead.
Tommy Triples and DeJong brings him home! pic.twitter.com/fw9awqaZtV— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 2, 2021
Harrison Bader, fresh off the 10-day injured list, chopped a double play ball to the pitcher, but Brendan Rodgers and Story both covered second and while Rodgers caught the ball, he never actually touched second, resulting in all runners reaching safely. Wainwright followed the E4 and got a bunt down to advance both runners to second and third. Carlson, with two away, chopped back to the pitcher to end the Cards’ threat.
CJ Cron drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the frame. Rodgers got a hold of a hanging curveball, launching it into dead center for a home run and a 2-1 Rockies lead. Ryan McMahon followed the homer and singled to right on another curveball. Elias Diaz went down swinging at a cutter for the first out. Senzatela got a bunt down to move McMahon to second with a sacrifice. DeJong then got eaten up by a hard grounder from Hampson, putting runners at the corners with two outs after the error. Daza grounded a ball back up the middle for the last out.
Goldy tied the game up at 2-2 with a solo shot to start the third inning. Arenado popped out again in the infield for the first out. O’Neill followed with a double into the right field corner. However, Yadi went down swinging on three pitches and Edman popped out to the catcher to leave O’Neill at second.
Story flew out deep to left for a loud first out. Blackmon chopped a cutter to second for out number two and Cron rolled out to Arenado to end the inning.
DeJong went down swinging at three fastballs for out number one. Bader bounced out to shortstop for the second out. Wainwright saw six pitches before going down swinging on a slider to put the Cards down quietly.
Rodgers began the bottom of the frame and turned on an inside sinker for a base hit. McMahon shot a sinker into center that was caught by Bader for the first out. Diaz doubled over O’Neill’s head, placing runners at second and third for Colorado. Senzatela lined out to Goldy, who caught Rodgers off of third for an inning-ending double play.
Carlson grounded out to story to open the fifth. Goldy rolled out to third for the second out. Arenado was fooled by an offspeed pitch and went down swinging as the Cards went down in order again.
Hampson lined out to right to lead off the bottom of the fifth. Daza chopped out to Arenado. Story missed a meatball and chopped it to shortstop for the last out in a quick fifth inning.
O’Neill reached on a swinging bunt to kick off the sixth but was erased when Yadi hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Edman chopped out to third as Senzatela faced the minimum in the inning once again.
Blackmon struck out swinging, out ahead of a curveball low and away. Cron checked his swing but made contact and tapped the ball to Goldy for out number two. Rodgers drove another curveball to the warning track in left, sitting the Rox down in order.
DeJong drove a fastball to the right side for a leadoff base hit. Bader chopped into a fielder’s choice for the first out. Wainwright, at 85 pitches for the game, hit for himself and dropped a sac bunt to move Bader to second. Carlson chopped out to first for the final out.
McMahon lined out right to Bader for the first out in the bottom of the frame. Diaz laced a one-out base hit into right field. Raimel Tapia pinch-hit for Senzatela and worked a full count before grounding into a 1-6-3 double play to end the frame.
Tyler Kinley relieved Senzatela in the top of the eighth. Goldy rolled out softly to short for the first out. Arenado followed suit and grounded out to short himself. O’Neill flew out to the wall in dead center to put the Cards down in order again.
Wainwright returned in the bottom of the inning at 98 pitches. Hampson failed to check his swing on a fastball low and away, striking out for out number one. Daza flew out to Bader for the second out. Story popped out to second, ending a gutsy eighth inning from Wainwright.
Daniel Bard was summoned from the bullpen to start the ninth for Colorado and retired Yadi on a flyout to deep right field. Edman drew a one-out walk. DeJong went down chasing a slider that hung above the zone for the second out. Bader then chased another slider, this time low and away, for out number three.
Giovanny Gallegos gave Wainwright a well-deserved rest in the ninth as Edmundo Sosa replaced DeJong in a double switch. Blackmon went down swinging behind a fastball down in the zone for the first out. Cron smoked a one-hopper to Arenado, who fielded it cleanly for out number two. Rodgers continued to be a tough out on the night, drawing a two-out walk. McMahon, with Rodgers in motion on the 3-2 count, drew a walk to move the winning run to second. Gallegos then hung an 0-2 slider in the center of the zone, which Diaz crushed into the seats in left for a walk-off homer and a 5-2 Rockies win.
The Cards drop to 40-42 and fall back into fourth place in the Central with the loss, while the Rockies improve to 35-47. The series continues at 7:10 PM CT on Friday, with Johan Oviedo scheduled to start against Chi Chi Gonzalez.
With Wainwright’s start tonight, he and Yadi have now made 289 appearances as a battery together. Waino’s “quality of pitch average” is also up to 4.99, which apparently puts him into the top 8% of pitchers in the MLB. It’s the first I’ve heard of that Twitter page or that stat, but it seems to be an amalgamation of velocity, location, and horizontal, vertical, and late break. Nevertheless, it’s something to keep an eye on and it’s awesome that Wainwright is able to put up those kinds of numbers this late in his career.
Start number 2⃣8⃣9⃣ for Waino and Yadi! pic.twitter.com/MriZw5L0oX— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 1, 2021
#STLCards Adam Wainwright— MLB Quality of Pitch (@qopbaseball) July 2, 2021
Pitch Quality Increase ⭐️
2018 (4.57 QOPA)(Top 33% MLB) = 4.46 ERA
2019 (4.73 QOPA)(Top 17% MLB) = 4.19 ERA
2020 (4.76 QOPA)(Top 15% MLB) = 3.15 ERA
2021 (4.99 QOPA)(Top 8% MLB) @UncleCharlie50 @DannyMacTV @bthompson48 @dgoold #STLFLY pic.twitter.com/rICf4dysEQ
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright: 8 IP / 6 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 1 BB / 4 K / 1 HR
Gallegos (L, 5-2): 0.2 IP / 1 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 1 K / 1 HR
Senzatela: 7 IP / 7 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 5 K / 1 HR
Kinley: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Bard (W, 4-4): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR