Adam Wainwright wasn’t himself, the offense went dormant, and the Cardinals dropped game number two of a four-game series to the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday evening in St. Louis. The Redbirds mustered three hits against Madison Bumgarner, whose ERA this season dropped to a miniscule 1.17.
St. Louis looked to have a rally brewing in the seventh inning, but a balk on Arizona’s Luis Frias actually may have worked... in the D-Backs’ favor? Read on to find out why the Cardinals may have preferred to just have the walk back and to have kept the inning moving.
Zero Cardinals had multiple hits, but Paul Goldschmidt finally hit his first homer of the season. Tommy Edman’s steal of second in the seventh inning was his fifth of the year, and the Cardinals are now 20-21 swiping bags this season.
Wainwright was able to dance around some trouble to put up a scoreless frame to start the evening. After punching out Daulton Varsho to start the game, Pavin Smith turned on an inside fastball and yanked it down the the first-base line for a double. Waino then walked Peralta on six pitches before getting Seth Beer to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and the threat.
The Cardinals worked some really solid, patient at-bats in the first inning against Madison Bumgarner. Tommy Edman grounded out to shortstop on seven pitches to start the game, and then Paul Goldschmidt quickly fell behind 0-2 against Bumgarner. But he was able to work the count full and foul off five straight pitches before finally hammering his first home run of the season into the left-center field bleachers on the 12th pitch of the at-bat. 18 games without a home run to begin the season was the longest homerless stretch of Goldschmidt’s career (to begin a season).
Tyler O’Neill flew out to center field for the second out, but Nolan Arenado (who is still appealing his two-game suspension) hit an absolute piss missile to left field, just out of the reach out left fielder Cooper Hummel. However, Albert Pujols popped out in foul territory to end the inning. All in all, it took MadBum 29 pitches to get through the bottom of the first.
Hummel worked an eight-pitch walk to lead off the second inning — Wainwright’s second walk in two innings. A struggling Ketel Marte then grounded into a force out at second, taking Hummel’s spot running on first after Edman got the out. Sergio Alcantara then grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the second — the second straight Waino induced an inning-ending twin killing.
Dylan Carlson led off the second with a groundout to short. Harrison Bader worked a seven-pitch, full-count walk with on out. But Yadier Molina struck out swinging and Paul DeJong popped out to Alcantara in foul territory to end the inning.
Rookie shortstop Geraldo Perdomo walked on five pitches to lead off the third — Wainwright’s third walk in as many innings. Rookie catcher Jose Herrera — who was 1-17 this season entering today’s game — singled to right, moving Perdomo to third. Varsho then hit a hard, high bouncer over Goldschmidt’s head at first that glanced off his glove and in to right field for a double, tying the game 1-1.
Wainwright finally got an out with Smith’s RBI groundout to short, scoring Herrera and giving the D-Backs a 2-1 lead.
Oli Marmol moved the infield in with one out, and it paid off when Peralta hit a sharp ground ball to Edman at second and the runner remained at third base. A Beer groundout to Goldschmidt at first ended the inning, stranding the runner and limiting the damage to just two runs.
The Redbirds went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the third versus Bumgarner. Edman flew out to right field, Goldschmidt flew out to center, and O’Neill grounded out to shortstop.
Arizona went down in order in the fourth. Cooper grounded out to Tommy at second, Marte was called out on strikes, and Alcantara grounded out to Goldschmidt at first on the second pitch he saw. This was the first inning today that Wainwright did not walk a batter — very unlike him.
Arenado popped out to Marte at second to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Pujols then stuck his bat wayyyy out there on a 1-2 fastball that was well outside and poked it up the middle for a base hit, snapping on 0-9 streak he had going on. Carlson then struck out swinging on a high fastball, and Bader hit a dinky popup to Beer at first base to end the fourth inning with the Cardinals still trailing 2-1.
Wainwright authored his second consecutive 1-2-3 inning of the evening, beginning with a three-pitch strikeout of Perdomo. He then got both Herrera and Varsho to ground out to Edman at second, finishing the inning on just 11 total pitches.
With a drastic shift on, Molina pulled a sharp grounder down the third base line directly into the glove of Alcantara (who was playing right on the line). Molina was easily thrown out for the first out. DeJong then flew out to deep right field for the second out, and Edman popped out to Perdomo at short to end the fifth inning without a peep.
Bumgarner’s final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s (89 pitches)
Wainwright’s wildness returned in the sixth in a major way, and it cost the Cardinals another run. After getting ahead of Smith 0-2 to begin the inning, he threw four straight balls — three of which weren’t even close — to walk the leadoff man. Peralta then grounded into a fielder’s choice groundout to Edman at second. Beer then walked on five pitches, moving Peralta into scoring position. Hummel then hit a flat 2-2 curveball from Wainwright into right field, scoring Peralta and making it 3-1 Diamondbacks. Waino then got Marte to fly out and struck out Alcantara to end the inning — and his evening.
Wainwright’s final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K’s (100 pitches)
Luis Frias was called on in relief of Madison Bumgarner, who was done after five innings. He was able to work through the heart of the Cardinals’ order without too much trouble, working around a one-out walk to O’Neill to put up a zero in his first appearance of the season. Goldy grounded out to shortstop before O’Neill’s walk. After “bro” took his base, both Arenado and and Pujols flew out to end the seventh inning.
T.J. McFarland took the mound in relief of Wainwright for his sixth appearance of the season. He got Perdomo to ground out to start the inning, but Herrera drew a four-pitch walk and Varsho beat the shift with a single to the vacated area near third base to give the D-Backs runners at first and second with just one out.
Marmol went to the bullpen again at this point, calling on Andre Pallante to clean up the mess. Instead, pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow laced a single to right field immediately, scoring Herrera and making it 4-1 Arizona.
Peralta then hit a sinking line drive to center field that Bader caught while diving, but Varsho tagged up from third and scored to make it 5-1 Diamondbacks. Pallante got Beer to strike out to end the inning, but this game was officially broken open.
Carlson flew out to begin the seventh inning. Bader then drew a walk, as did Yadi.... except the 3-0 ball was unfortunately called a strike. Molina took a few steps towards first before home plate umpire Ron Kulpa called him back. Moments later, Molina stroked a 3-2 fastball into left-center field, giving the Redbirds runners on the corners with just one out. Bader — standing on third base — was St. Louis’ first runner in scoring position since Arenado’s first inning double. Arizona pitching coach Brent Strom visited Frias for a moment on the mound, but Frias did not calm down and instead walked DeJong to load the bases.
However, after an umpire’s “rules check” a balk was called on Frias. This meant Bader scores from third, Molina advanced from first to second, and DeJong was called back to hit with a full count. Instead of walking, DeJong flew out to Luplow in right field for the second out of the inning. So the run scored, but... at what cost?
Torey Lovullo went to his ‘pen with two outs, bringing in right-hander Noe Ramirez to face Edman.
Edman came up to bat and registered his first hit of the night with a frozen rope to center field, but Molina was held at third base with Goldschmidt — the potential tying run — coming up to bat. Ramirez struck him out on three pitches, stranding both runners and killing the Cardinals’ rally.
Kodi Whitley took over for the eighth inning and gave that run right back — his first earned run of the season. Marte hit a one-out double to right field, and Alcantara followed it up with a single to center to make it 6-2 snakes in the eighth inning.
Perdomo then laced a 91 mph, thigh-high fastball from Whitley into right field for a single. Whitley was able to retire Herrera (strikeout) and Varsho (flyout to left) to end the inning, but giving that run back felt like a fatal blow.
The Cardinals showed no resistance in their half of the eighth inning, going quietly and in order. Not much more to say there.
Marmol brought in Nick Wittgren to pitch the ninth, and he did so perfectly with a 1-2-3 inning including one strikeout.
Carlson led off the ninth inning by flying out to left field on the second pitch he saw from Ian Kennedy. Bader struck out looking for the second out, and Molina flew out to center field on one pitch to seal the deal, 6-2.
Miles Mikolas (1-0, 1.21 ERA) faces off against Merrill Kelly (1-1, 1.69 ERA) tomorrow afternoon as the Cardinals (11-8) look to secure at least a series split with Arizona (9-12). Mikolas is riding a streak of 12 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. First pitch is set for 1:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Padres 7, Pirates 3 - Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer both have an OPS over 1.000 right now. Not bad.
Rockies 10, Reds 1 (Bottom of the 8th at time of publish) - Do we feel bad for Joey Votto yet? Even a little bit? Yikes.
WARdle #51 - X/9
You know what, it’s good to be humbled sometimes.