The Cardinals played the third game of a four-game series with the Diamondbacks on Saturday as Miles Mikolas faced off against Merrill Kelly. The game was a brilliant pitching duel through seven innings, with only a handful of baserunners reaching second base. That changed when Mikolas returned to the mound in the eighth at 91 pitches and gave up two solo shots, which ended up being the difference as the Cards’ Arenado-less lineup went ice cold once again in the 2-0 loss. Despite the two home runs, Mikolas put together a brilliant outing, pitching seven and a third innings while giving up four hits and striking out seven.
Pavin Smith opened play with a groundout to second. Jordan Luplow then grounded out to third and David Peralta flew out to Corey Dickerson in left for a clean first inning for Mikolas.
The bottom of the first went just as quickly, with Tommy Edman grounding out on a first-pitch fastball and Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill each striking out swinging.
Christian Walker hit a slider to Brendan Donovan at third, whose throw went wide of first and allowed Walker to reach on the error. Seth Beer hit a soft liner straight to Edmundo Sosa at short for the first out. Ketel Marte struck out looking at a sinker that painted the inside corner of the plate. Carson Kelly struck out as well, swinging at and missing a 1-2 fastball at the letters and stranding Walker at first.
Dickerson missed a mistake cutter over the heart of the plate and popped out to short. Yadi tried to turn on an inside pitch and flew out to left. Harrison Bader singled to left before stealing second, but he was stranded there after Dylan Carlson grounded out to first for the final out.
Nick Ahmed grounded a sinker back up the middle and while Edman got to it and knocked it down, he didn’t have a play at first. Ahmed was erased anyways, however, as Sergio Alcantara grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Smith then topped a curveball and chopped it to Sosa, who threw to first to retire The D-Backs.
The Redbirds went down in order again, as Donovan grounded out to first, Sosa flew out to right, and Edman flew out to center.
Mikolas did his part to keep the pitching duel going, retiring Luplow on a groundout to third, Peralta on a flyout to center, and Walker on another groundout to third.
Kelly again matched Mikolas’ efforts, getting Goldschmidt out on a flyball to the warning track in center, striking out O’Neill with a curveball in the dirt, and retiring Dickerson on another flyout to center field.
Beer opened the fifth with a flyout to left. Marte hit a changeup back at Mikolas, who threw to first for the second out. Kelly went down looking, frozen by a curveball that dropped into the top of the strike zone.
Yadi skied a fastball into center for the first out in the bottom of the frame. Bader then flew out to left and Carlson grounded out to second as the Cards went down in order again.
Ahmed led off the sixth and grounded out to third. Alcantara chopped a sinker to Sosa for the second out. Smith grounded a slider through the left side of the infield for a hit and easily stole second with a good jump. Luplow left him there, though, as he tipped a 1-2 sinker into Yadi’s glove for the third out.
Donovan jumped on a first-pitch curveball and flew out to left. Sosa got hit by a 2-2 cutter and stole second on the 0-1 pitch to Edman who eventually flew out to deep center, allowing Sosa to then move up to third. Goldschmidt grounded out to short on an excellent barehanded play by Ahmed. The Cards challenged the play in an effort to get Sosa’s run to count, but the call stood to secure the third out.
Mikolas stepped up his game in the seventh, striking out the side by getting Peralta looking at a sinker on the inside corner, Walker swinging at an elevated fastball, and Beer looking at another curveball that broke into the top of the strike zone.
O’Neill got under a sinker and flew out to center. Dickerson popped up another cutter which was caught in foul territory by Carson Kelly. Yadi extended the inning with a broken-bat single and Bader reached on a fielding error by Alcantara to put two on, but the threat never materialized as Carlson struck out chasing a high fastball to end the frame.
Mikolas returned to the mound sitting at 91 pitches and gave up a leadoff home run to Marte, breaking the tie and putting Arizona up 1-0.
Kelly followed with a quick popout to center. Ahmed turned on a high and tight fastball and put it into the visiting bullpen to double the D-Backs’ lead to 2-0.
Mikolas was then pulled in favor of Genesis Cabrera, who gave up a double down the right field line to Alcantara. Matt Davidson pinch hit for Smith and struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball. Luplow hit a hard grounder to Sosa whose throw went up the first baseline, leaving runners at the corners with two outs. Cooper Hummel then pinch hit for Peralta but immediately grounded out to short to send the game to the bottom of the eighth.
Noe Ramirez took the mound for Arizona in the eighth and retired Donovan on a groundout to short. Sosa skied a curveball to center for the second out and Edman popped out to short as the Cards went down quietly yet again.
Jake Woodford replaced Cabrera in the ninth and retired Walker on a flyout to the wall in center. Beer then rolled a fastball to short and Marte grounded out to second as Woodford kept the game close going into the bottom of the ninth.
Ian Kennedy came in to save the game for Arizona. Goldschmidt welcomed him to the game by working a twelve-pitch walk. O’Neill followed and struck out swinging under a fastball at the top of the zone. Dickerson then flew out to right on a tough jumping catch by Luplow at the wall and Yadi grounded into a fielder’s choice, closing the door on a comeback and sealing the 2-0 loss for the Cards.
The Cardinals drop to 11-9 on the season after the loss and sit 2.5 GB of Milwaukee at the time of writing. The Cards and D-Backs wrap up their four-game series on Sunday at 1:15 PM CT, with Jordan Hicks set to face off with Zach Davies.
After the game, Oli Marmol owned that the decision to bring Mikolas back out in the eighth was a mistake and that he should have gone to the bullpen. More comments on the loss from Marmol can be found below.
Oli Marmol was critical of his decision to bring Mikolas out for the 8th, even with Helsley and Cabrera warming up.— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) April 30, 2022
“Miles did his job. I didn't do mine. He was really good through seven. He was at 91 pitches. We've got a pretty damn good bullpen. I should've gone to it."
Final Pitching Lines
Mikolas (L, 1-1): 7.1 IP / 4 H / 2 R / 2 ER / 0 BB / 7 SO / 2 HR
Cabrera: 0.2 IP / 1 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR
Woodford: 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Kelly (W, 2-1): 7 IP / 2 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 4 SO / 0 HR
Ramirez (H, 5): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 0 BB / 0 SO / 0 HR
Kennedy (S, 1): 1 IP / 0 H / 0 R / 0 ER / 1 BB / 1 SO / 0 HR