The Cardinals came into Tuesday on the heels of a well-deserved off-day on Monday, kicking off the last week of the regular season with a three-game series against the Brewers, who clinched the NL Central division during their sweep of the Mets. Adam Wainwright got the start for the Birds, throwing to Andrew Knizner due to a late scratch of Yadier Molina from the lineup because of a minor right shoulder issue. Wainwright wasn’t his sharpest but only allowed two runs despite giving up seven hits and two walks over six innings, which was good enough to earn his seventeenth win of the season. Brandon Woodruff took the bump for Milwaukee and was pulled from the game after just 63 pitches in four innings, even though he gave up just two runs. The Cardinals tacked on four more runs against the Crew’s bullpen, including a pinch hit home run from Jose Rondon and another solo shot from Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals’ bullpen slammed the door yet again as the Cards won 6-2 for their seventeenth straight victory and officially clinched the second Wild Card spot.
Brewers - Kolten Wong led off for the Crew and flared a cutter to left for the first out. Omar Narvaez grounded into the shift and Christian Yelich grounded out to second, putting the Brewers down on ten pitches from Wainwright.
Cardinals - Tommy Edman got a curveball over the heart of the plate and lined it over the shift for a base hit into right field. Paul Goldschmidt took a 2-2 sinker inside-out for a flyout to right. Tyler O’Neill jumped on a curveball up in the zone but got under it, also flying out to right field. Nolan Arenado got jammed on an inside sinker and flew it to Yelich who made a nice diving catch in shallow left to retire the Cardinals.
Brewers - Avisail Garcia struck out looking at a four-seamer on the inside corner. Daniel Vogelbach sat back on a 3-2 curveball, pulling it through the shift for a single. Luis Urias golfed a ninth-pitch cutter down and in back up the middle to put two on base. Jace Peterson then chopped a soft groundball to Paul DeJong who got the out at second, but the turn was too slow to get two. Tyrone Taylor, with runners on first and third, grounded out to short to end the Brewers’ threat.
Cardinals - Dylan Carlson went down on three pitches, frozen by a fastball on the inside corner. Harrison Bader survived for four pitches but tipped a 1-2 fastball into the glove of Narvaez for Woodruff’s second K of the inning. DeJong got hit in the ribs by an 0-1 sinker and got first base for his trouble. Andrew Knizner, in after the late scratch of Yadier Molina, singled to center, placing runners on first and second. Wainwright struck out chasing a curveball below the zone, stranding both runners.
Brewers - Woodruff rolled a 1-2 curveball to Goldschmidt for out number one. Wong reached at a first-pitch changeup and pulled it to Edman for another groundout. Narvaez walked on six pitches but was left on base after Yelich got jammed and popped out to second.
Cardinals - Edman opened the bottom of the inning with a popout to second. Goldschmidt jumped on a first-pitch slider that caught too much of the plate and laced it to left for a single. O’Neill doubled down the left field line. Goldschmidt, trying to score from first on the play, was cut down on a perfect relay to home as O’Neill took third on the throw. Arenado then smoked a low fastball into center but straight at Taylor for the last out.
Brewers - Garcia snuck a grounder through the left side for a leadoff single. Vogelbach worked a 3-2 count before rolling a grounder to Edman, who had trouble with the transfer and could only get the out at second as Vogelbach somehow beat the turn. Urias got a cutter over the heart of the plate and didn’t miss it, crushing it into Big Mac Land for a 2-0 Brewers lead.
Peterson followed the home run with a single on a comebacker that Wainwright knocked down but couldn’t field. Taylor grounded a curveball to Arenado, who got the force out at second for out number two. Woodruff extended the inning with a soft single down the left field line, allowing Taylor to go first-to-third. Wong then topped an inside cutter to Goldschmidt, allowing Wainwright to limit the damage in the inning.
Cardinals - Carlson turned on an 0-1 fastball, depositing it into the Cardinals’ bullpen to cut the Crew’s lead to 2-1.
Bader followed with a bloop single to center on a middle-middle changeup. DeJong singled, also to center, on a line drive to put two on for Knizner, who flew out to deep center but advanced Bader to third. Wainwright then dropped a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Bader to tie the game at 2-2. Edman, jumping on a first-pitch changeup, flew out to right to end the inning.
Brewers - Narvaez saw eight pitches before popping out to DeJong. Yelich got rung up on an inside sinker for a generously called strike three. Garcia then topped a sinker to Edman, who threw to first to retire the Brewers quietly.
Cardinals - Jandel Gustave came in to pitch the bottom of the fifth for Milwaukee and gave up a double to Goldschmidt, who slapped a good inside sinker down the right field line. O’Neill tagged another sinker to right field, where Garcia let the ball sneak under his glove and past him. Goldschmidt came all the way around to score on the fielding error, while O’Neill reached third with a 3-2 lead. Arenado flew yet another sinker to center for a sacrifice fly, scoring Bader to make it 4-2. Carlson then grounded out to Wong who made a nice throw across his body to first, and Bader chopped out to short to end the inning.
Brewers - Vogelbach struck out chasing a curveball in the dirt. Urias drew a walk on a borderline pitch on the outside corner. Peterson then singled back up the middle, putting two on for the Crew. Taylor, after getting ahead 2-0 in the count, struck out waving at a 2-2 sinker on the outside corner. Eduardo Escobar pinch hit for Gustave and grounded out to first to strand both Brewers on the bases.
Cardinals - Hoby Milner relieved Gustave and retired DeJong with a swinging strikeout. Knizner went down looking, frozen by a fastball over the inside half of the plate. Jose Rondon pinch hit for Wainwright and lined a hanging curveball just inside the left field foul pole, stretching the Cardinals’ lead to 5-2. Edman then jumped on another changeup but flew out the warning track in left for a loud third out.
Brewers - T.J. McFarland came out of the bullpen to pitch the seventh for the Redbirds. Wong rolled a single through the left side against the shift but was erased on a 3-6-3 double play hit by Narvaez. Yelich then grounded out to Arenado, putting the Brewers down 1-2-3.
Cardinals - Goldschmidt led off the bottom of the inning and struck out swinging over a curveball below the zone. O’Neill got tied up by a fastball high and inside on a swinging strikeout. Arenado sat back on a changeup down the middle of the plate and tattooed it into the Brewers’ bullpen, extending the Cards’ lead again to 6-2. Carlson grounded out to short to end the frame.
Brewers - Luis Garcia replaced McFarland on the mound and struck out Garcia with a filthy slider. Vogelbach worked a seven-pitch walk and Urias struck out chasing a slider that dove off of the plate. Peterson then flew out to the warning track in left to close the top of the inning.
Cardinals - Daniel Norris relieved Milner in the bottom in the eighth. Bader got under a 3-2 fastball on the outside corner and skied it to center for the first out. DeJong followed with a popout, also to center field. Knizner then popped a fastball to right, sending the game to the ninth inning.
Brewers - Giovanny Gallegos came in to pitch, needing just three outs to clinch a playoff berth for the Cardinals. Taylor lined a fastball back up the middle for a leadoff single. Pinch hitter Jackie Bradley, Jr. flew out to Bader. Wong followed with another flyout to center. Narvaez lined out to Bader, clinching a 6-2 win, a seventeen-game winning streak, and the second Wild Card spot for the Cardinals.
With Tuesday’s win, the Cardinals move to 88-69 on the season and ensure that there will be Cardinals baseball through at least October 6th. The Cardinals continue their three-game set with the Brewers on Wednesday, with Miles Mikolas scheduled to take the mound against Adrian Houser at 6:45 PM CT.
Yadier Molina was reportedly dealing with some shoulder stiffness, which was the reason for his late scratch from the lineup according to Katie Woo of The Athletic.
Yadier Molina was scratched from today’s lineup, is dealing with some residual stiffness in his right shoulder.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) September 28, 2021
Normally I’d try to provide more notes on injury updates and the like, but cardinalsgifs on twitter did an awesome job (as usual) of catching some good moments from the celebrations after the game that I thought would be worth sharing:
"That's my guy. He's so awesome." -Dylan J. Carlson within the last hour regarding his teammate, Nolan Arenado.— Brenden Schaeffer (@bschaeffer12) September 29, 2021
Couldn't wipe the smile off the dude's face, either. https://t.co/yqLrxbMS66
Final Pitching Lines
Wainwright (W, 17-7): 6 IP / 7 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 2 BB / 4 K / 1 HR
McFarland (H, 14): 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Garcia: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 2 K / 0 HR
Gallegos: 1 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Woodruff: 4 IP / 7 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 3 K / 1 HR
Gustave (L, 1-1): 1 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 1 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR
Milner: 2 IP / 2 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 4 K / 2 HR
Norris: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 K / 0 HR