Today was a YouTube-exclusive game. Scott Braun was on the play-by-play with Tom Verducci as the color analyst and Steve Dolan assisting. In case you missed it, don’t worry because the game is archived and still available to be viewed.
Brewers’ sinkerballer Adrian Houser came into this contest having thrown 14 innings against the Cardinals with no earned runs allowed. He picked up right where he left off to start the game, as he retired the Cards in order, striking out Tyler O’Neill to end the opening frame. Cards’ starter Adam Wainwright was not so fortunate in the bottom half of the first. His old teammate Kolten Wong sharply grounded an outside changeup through the right side for a leadoff base hit. After inducing flyouts from Willy Adames and Christian Yelich, switch-hitter Eduardo Escobar came to the plate and worked a 9-pitch, 3-2 walk. Wainso’s first pitch, which was called a ball, looked like it clipped the outside corner. Yadier Molina also couldn’t hang onto a foul tip on pitch #8. Wainwright had Luis Urias in the hole 0-2, but lost him to another 3-2 walk after throwing 4 straight balls. Tyrone Taylor then jumped on a 1-0 hanging cutter and deposited it over the left-center field wall for a grand slam to put the Brewers on top 4-0.
It took Wainwright 28 pitches to get out of that first inning.
The Cardinals would only get two more baserunners until the 5th inning (one-out single in the 2nd by Dylan Carlson and a leadoff 3-2 walk in the top of the 4th by Tommy Edman), and both of those were erased on double plays. Wainwright didn’t allow another baserunner until the 4th, although he got taken deep into counts in the 2nd. In the top of the 4th, Wainwright struck out Luis Urias for strikeout number 2,000, only the 2nd Cardinal player in history to have that many with the club. Unfortunately, Taylor struck again in the next plate appearance, launching a hanging 0-1 curve into the 2nd deck in left center for a solo shot to extend the Brewers’ lead to 5-0. It’s now Tyrone Taylor 5, Cardinals 0.
Lorenzo Cain grounded a ball up the middle that Tommy Edman made a nice snag on, but Cain beat it out for an infield hit. Manny Pina chased a first-pitch low-and-away cutter for a one-hop to Edman for the inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. That would be it for Wainwright after 78 pitches.
With 1 out in the top of the 5th, Dylan Carlson laced a 1-0 low-and-in curve into the right field corner for a triple, and Molina chopped a first-pitch outside sinker opposite the shift into right for a base hit to cut the Brewers’ lead to 5-1. Houser bounced an 0-1 curve to Edmundo Sosa. Molina danced too far towards second and Pina picked the ball out of the dirt and fired to first base to pick him off.
By the rules, having someone as slow as Molina picked off first should result in a run being subtracted from the club’s then existing total. Alongside service time manipulation, the free agency requirements and the Home Run Derby rules, perhaps this is one of the issues that will be resolved in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. As it turns out, this would sting, because Sosa was drilled in the back, Bader lined a base hit to center, Matt Carpenter pinch hit for Waino and worked a 3-2 walk to load the bases. The Cards would strand the bases loaded when Edman chased an 0-2 up-and-in four-seamer and popped out to 3rd.
Kwang Hyun Kim, on in relief in the top of the 5th after 8 days of rest got into trouble, walking the pitcher to start things off. After Wong struck out, Adames lined a single to left to move Houser to 2nd, and Yelich drew a 3-2 walk to load the bases. But the Brewers could not capitalize and put the Cards away. Escobar flied a 1-2 low-and-away fastball to short right field, too short for Houser to test Carlson’s arm. Luis Urias chased a 1-1 low-and-away change and half-swung for a groundout to 3rd to end the threat. Houser would overcome a leadoff single by Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the 6th to retire the side in order, and Kim would escape a 2-out double by Manny Pina in the bottom half by retiring pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia on a groundout to 2nd in the bottom half.
In the top of the 7th, the Brewers’ bullpen let the club down. Righty Jake Cousins came on in relief, and before he could even throw a pitch, the umpires deemed his glove to be too light of a color, and Cousins switching to a black one. This obviously wrecked Cousins’ concentration, as after striking out Molina on a 3-2 pitch, he surrendered a lined-single to left to Sosa on a first-pitch hanging slider. Cousins then walked Harrison Bader on 5 pitches. Lars Nootbaar pinch-hit for Kim and also walked on 5 pitches to load the bases. Righty Brad Boxberger came into the game and got Edman to ground into a 4-6 force. Sosa scored to cut the Brewers’ lead to 5-2. Now there were runners at the corners. With two out and the count 1-2 on Goldschmidt, Boxberger was pre-occupied with Tommy Edman at first base for some reason and decided to throw over there for the 3rd time. This time, his throw was well wide to the left, bounced off of Edman himself and got away to the sidewall to allow Bader to score from 3rd and cut the Brewers’ lead to 5-3. After laying off a tempting slider, Goldschmidt torched a 2-2 down-the middle fastball onto the dining area in left-center for a 2-run shot to tie the game 5-5.
LET'S GOOOOO!— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
Thank you, Goldy! pic.twitter.com/MFbMSCvmCG
T.J. McFarland allowed a one-out single in the bottom half of the 7th, but no other baserunners.
The Cards would take the lead for good in the top of the 8th off of lefty Aaron Ashby. Arenado led off with a 5-pitch walk, and Carlson sharply grounded an outside 0-1 98 mph sinker through the right side for a base hit to move Arenado all the way to 3rd. The throw from Taylor in right allowed Carlson to advance to 2nd. Ashby’s first pitch to Molina, a low-and-outside tailing 100 mph sinker, fooled the catcher Pina. He stabbed at it, but couldn’t react in time to get it as it bounced off the underside of his glove and all the way to the backstop. Arenado scored from 3rd on the passed ball to give the Cards a 6-5 lead.
6 unanswered runs for the LEAD! pic.twitter.com/e0UpMqVgo2— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 23, 2021
With Carlson now at 3rd, Molina almost launched poked a 2-0 low-and-outside slider out of the park, but Lorenzo Cain had just enough real estate to catch the ball up against the wall in the deep part of left-center. The Sac Fly scored Carlson to give the Cards a 7-5 lead.
After Luis Garcia gave up allowed just one baserunner in the bottom half, the Cards would grab one more insurance run in the top of the 9th, when for good measure, Goldschmidt smacked a high fastball into the same area as before for a solo shot to give the Cards an 8-5 lead.
Giovanny Gallegos came out for the bottom of the 9th and retired the side in order with 2 strikeouts for his 12th save of the year.
ODDS AND ENDS
Before today, the Cardinals, in the entire history of the franchise, have had a club win more than 11 games in a row only three times: July 1943 (12 games), April 1982 (12 games) and July 1935 (14 games). The club had 11-game winning streaks in August 2001 and May 1941, but no Cardinal club until now had as many as 11 straight wins in the month of September...On September 7th of this season, the Cards’ playoff odds, according to Fangraphs, was 2.8%. Before this game, they had risen to 94.4%, and are now at 98.2%...The Padres blew a 4-0 lead against the Giants, but came back to win 7-6 in 10 innings on Victor Caratini’s walkoff single. The Reds scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th, but came up just short against the Nationals, losing 3-2. The Pirates jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Phillies by the top of the 3rd, but the Phils came back to win 12-6. That chain of events leapfrogged the Phillies directly behind the Cardinals in the Wild Card race, 4.5 games back, and the Cards’ magic number remains at 6...The Chicago White Sox clinched the AL Central division crown...AAA Memphis scored 5 runs in the top of the 8th to take a 5-2 lead against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. A grand slam by Justin Williams was the big blow. But the club blew the lead in the bottom of the 9th and lost 7-6. Connor Thomas struck out 11, but walked 4 in 6.1 IP. The other Connor, Connor Jones, couldn’t get an out in the bottom of the 9th, allowing a leadoff walk, followed by 2 singles and 2 doubles. Johan Quezada gave up a Sac Fly and a walkoff double to lose the game...If you’re interesting in checking out the final 7 games for Memphis, MILB.TV is free for the rest of the year...Somehow AAA Memphis has a 32-man active roster, 4 above the 28 that the rules call for, but no one seems to care, as it looks like the roster limit is not being enforced.