The Cardinals opened what could be a pivotal series in Cincinnati on Monday, with soft-tossing Jon Lester taking the mound across from fireballer Luis Castillo. Lester pitched extremely well, throwing six and a third innings while giving up one run on a mistake to Kyle Farmer. Castillo pitched well, if inefficiently, but his mistake came in the first to Paul Goldschmidt, who deposited a center-cut sinker to the seats in right for a two-run homer. The Cards’ offense would tack on a run later and the bullpen stayed stalwart, culminating in a converted save opportunity for Giovanny Gallegos in the 3-1 win for the Redbirds.
Tommy Edman led off the game for St. Louis, drawing a seven-pitch walk. Paul Goldschmidt got a sinker middle/middle and tattooed it into the seats in right field for a two-run shot, giving the Cards an early 2-0 lead. Dylan Carlson got under a 1-1 fastball and skied it to left for the first out. Nolan Arenado followed with a groundout to third. Tyler O’Neill saw eight pitches before swinging out in front of a changeup, striking out to end the top of the frame.
Jonathan India flew out to left to open the bottom of the inning. Tyler Stephenson got a hold of a four-seamer but lined it straight to Harrison Bader in center for the second out. Nick Castellanos drew a walk to extend the inning to Joey Votto, who chased a high cutter to retire the Reds’ side.
Yadier Molina tipped a slider into Stephenson’s glove for strike three. Edmundo Sosa went down swinging over a changeup at the knees. Bader went after a first-pitch sinker, grounding it to second for the last out.
Kyle Farmer got a 1-1 changeup just above the knees and cranked it over the left field wall, closing the deficit to 2-1.
Eugenio Suarez followed the home run with a lineout to center. Tyler Naquin chopped a sinker to second for out number two. Aristides Aquino skied a 3-2 cutter to center to send the game to the third.
Lester struck out swinging on four pitches and Edman followed with a strikeout of his own. Goldschmidt drew a walk to keep the inning alive, but Carlson chopped a changeup to short to put the Cards down without a threat.
Castillo grounded a cutter to third for the first out. India saw seven pitches but struck out swinging over a sinker. Stephenson chopped a sinker to third as the Reds went down in order.
Arenado led off the fourth with a single to left. O’Neill jumped on a first-pitch sinker, grounding it to second for a 4-3 double play. Yadi struck out to close the frame, swinging through a 98 mph sinker from Castillo.
Castellanos struck out swinging under a 3-2 cutter that was up in the zone. Votto skied a first-pitch curveball to right for out number two. Farmer also struck out, swinging over a curveball at the knees for the final out.
Sosa struck out waving at a slider at the knees to open the fifth. Bader doubled on a bloop hit down the left field line that got under Aquino’s glove. Lester grounded out to second, advancing Bader to third with two away. Edman then chopped out to short, stranding Bader at third.
Suarez popped a first-pitch cutter to second for the first out in the bottom of the inning. Naquin chased a cutter off the plate for a swinging strikeout. Aquino tapped a sinker back to Lester, who threw to first for another clean inning.
Goldschmidt chased a changeup in the dirt for a strikeout. Carlson tore a center-cut sinker down the right field line for a double. Arenado grounded out to third for the second out, but Carlson made a heads-up play to advance to third on the throw. O’Neill hit a swinging bunt down the third baseline, reaching first without a throw as Carlson scored to extend the Cards’ lead to 3-1. Yadi closed the inning with a flyout to left field.
Love a good infield single RBI! pic.twitter.com/RHHE31zdF8— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 31, 2021
Asdrubal Cabrera pinch hit for Castillo and grounded out to short as Sosa robbed him of a hit with a great barehanded play.
India followed with a flyout to right. Stephenson worked a full count and skied a cutter to the warning track in center for the last out.
Luis Cessa relieved Castillo in the seventh and got Sosa on a lineout to right. Bader skied a belt-high sinker to right for out number two. Lester singled to turn the inning to the top of the order, but Edman chopped a low slider to second to close the top of the frame.
Castellanos got under a 1-2 curveball, skying it to Bader for the first out. Votto drew a five-pitch walk for the Reds’ first baserunner since the second, which brought an end to Lester’s outing. T.J. McFarland replaced Lester and gave up a ground-rule double to Farmer. Suarez grounded a 2-1 sinker to Arenado, who threw home to nab Votto on a tag by Yadi. Naquin was punched out on a sinker that caught the outside corner for strike three.
Jeff Hoffman got the call out of the bullpen for the Reds in the eighth and retired Goldschmidt on a flyout to right. Carlson struck out chasing an elevated fastball. Arenado and O’Neill hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners, but Yadi struck out chasing a low slider to strand both of them.
Aquino got under a first-pitch changeup and skied it to left for the first out. Mike Moustakas pinch hit for Hoffman and chopped out to first. Luis Garcia then replaced McFarland on the bump for St. Louis to face the top of the order. India reached on an error by Arenado but was stranded when Stephenson flew out to center for the final out.
Justin Wilson relieved Hoffman for Cincinnati and retired Sosa on a groundout to second. Bader flew out to second for the second out. Paul DeJong then pinch hit for Garcia and struck out swinging under a fastball at the top of the zone to send the game to the bottom of the frame.
Giovanny Gallegos got the save opportunity for the Cards and opened the inning by retiring Castellanos on a groundout to short. Votto struck out swinging over a slider at the knees. Farmer got under a 2-2 slider and popped it to Sosa for the last out, securing the 3-1 win for the Redbirds.
The Cards improve to 67-63 on the season and gain a game on the Reds in the chase for the second Wild Card spot. The Reds are still in the lead for the second spot, with the Padres sitting 1 GB while the Cards now sit 2.5 GB. Miles Mikolas will take the mound in the second game of the series, facing off against Sonny Gray for the Reds. The first pitch is scheduled for 5:40 PM CT on Tuesday.
Tommy Edman landed player of the week honors after absolutely dominating the Pirates last week. Monday was also Adam Wainwright’s 40th birthday, which makes it a good time to just reflect again on how much he’s blown our expectations for him out of the water this year.
Tommy Edman is the National League Player of the Week, MLB says.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) August 30, 2021
Edman slashed .462/.483/.808 over six games with three doubles, two homers, 10 RBI, two stolen bases and struck out just once.
That'll play. #STLCards
Adam Wainwright is the big 4-0 today. He is also— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) August 30, 2021
2nd in NL in innings pitched (169 2/3)
3rd in Wins (13)
8th in hits-per-9 (7.16)
9th in walks-per-9 and WHIP (2.12, 1.031)
10th in ERA (2.97)
And holds a tie for the league-high in CG’s (3).
Like a fine wine, I tell ya.
Final Pitching Lines
Lester (W, 5-6): 6.1 IP / 1 H / 1 R / 1 ER / 2 BB / 5 K / 1 HR
McFarland (H, 5): 1.1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Garcia (H, 5): 0.1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Gallegos (S, 3): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR
Castillo (L, 7-14): 6 IP / 5 H / 3 R / 3 ER / 2 BB / 8 K / 1 HR
Cessa: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Hoffman: 1 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Wilson: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 K / 0 HR