Dakota Hudson got rattled around a bit in the third inning, but outside of that danced around trouble and kept the Cardinals in it long enough to come back and win the second game of this three-game set. Dylan Carlson hit a double for the fourth straight game, Junior Fernandez looks like a different pitcher, and Nolan Arenado dug a ball basically out of the dirt for a base knock at one point.
They had me concerned for a little bit there, but that big fifth inning turned out to be a knockout blow. Here’s how tonight’s 5-3 win happened, inning by inning:
Dakota Hudson worked a three-up, three-down top of the first, mostly by way of lazy fly balls. Jon Berti struck out looking, followed by flyouts to right field from Jazz Chisholm and Jorge Soler.
Braxton Garrett looked strong in the first inning himself, retiring the first three Cardinals he saw. Tommy Edman grounded out to Berti at third base, Dylan Carlson struck out swinging, and Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging.
Garrett Cooper laced a single to left field leading off the second inning, but was quickly erased when Jesus Aguilar grounded into a 5-4-3 double play on the second pitch he saw from Hudson. Avisail Garcia struck out swinging for the third out.
Nolan Arenado led off the bottom of the second with a single to left field. Juan Yepez worked a long at-bat behind him, but was eventually called out on strikes on the eighth pitch he saw. Albert Pujols then stung a 2-1 fastball towards shortstop, and Berti made a fantastic diving play. He dove to his right to snag it, and then flipped to Miguel Rojas covering the bag from his right side — due to the shift — who then threw to first for the inning-ending double play. Pujols’ ball came off the bat at 106 mph.
The Marlins roughed up Hudson pretty well in the third, scoring three runs to give themselves a nice cushion early on. Jesus Sanchez and Rojas started the inning with back-to-back doubles, making it 1-0 Marlins with nobody out.
Rookie catcher Nick Fortes singled up the middle, scoring Sanchez to make it 2-0 Fish with still nobody out. Berti grounded out to third base for the first out of the inning, moving Fortes to second.
After Erik Gonzalez — who came in to play second base for an injured Chisholm — popped out to Edman at second base for the second out, Soler hit an opposite field single to right to score Fortes. Soler’s RBI base knock made it 3-0 Miami. Cooper grounded into a force out at third base to end the inning, with Arenado going to second base for the third out.
St. Louis did not respond to Miami’s three-run third, as they went down in order in the bottom half of the inning. Brendan Donovan struck out swinging, Edmundo Sosa grounded out to third base, and Ivan Herrera struck out swinging.
Aguilar popped out to Edman for the first out. Garcia singled up the middle with one out, but Sanchez lined out to Donovan in left field and Rojas grounded out to Edman at second base to end the inning.
Speaking of Tommy, he blistered a 1-0 fastball from Garrett into the left field corner for a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth. Carlson followed it with an RBI single to left himself, scoring Edman to cut into Miami’s lead.
Goldschmidt worked an eight-pitch walk, setting up Arenado with runners on first and second with nobody out. Nolan swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, taking the wind out of the Cardinals’ metaphorical sails. Yepez then flew out to the warning track in left field to end the inning with St. Louis trailing, 3-1.
Hudson bounced back with a three-up, three-down inning on 10 pitches. Fortes grounded out to Sosa at short, Berti grounded out to Edman at second, and Gonzalez struck out swinging.
Pujols grounded out to Garrett to start the inning on a ball that looked like....maybe he thought was foul? It squibbed down the first base line about six feet, and Pujols made no effort to run down the line. Garrett underhand tossed it to first base for the first out, with home plate umpire Laz Diaz reminding Pujols that it was a fair ball.
Donovan sliced a single to left field with one out. One pitch after missing a homer by a matter of feet with a deep foul ball, Sosa tripled into the left-center field gap to score Donovan and cut Miami’s lead to one run.
The Marlins pulled the infield in, Herrera grounded out to Rojas at short, and Sosa had to stay at third base. But Garrett made a two-strike mistake to Edman one batter later, and Tommy was able to send the mistake pitch into right field for a two-out, RBI single to tie things up, 3-3.
With Carlson batting, Edman swiped his 19th base of the season, and then scored on Dylan’s ground-rule double to right field — his fourth straight game with a double. His RBI double gave St. Louis their first lead of the night, 4-3.
That was it for Garrett, as he was pulled from the game following the Carlson double, trailing by one, and responsible for the runner on base. Right-hander Zach Pop took the mound with Goldschmidt and Arenado due up next.
When you’re on a tear like Goldy has been, you tend to find every gap, nook, and cranny on the field. Sometimes you hit 400+ foot homers, and sometimes you hit a shallow popup into right field that the second baseman (shifted third baseman in this case) just can’t corral. Goldschmidt extended the two-out rally with the latter, as his popup came off the bat at 63 mph. but it’s still an RBI single in the box score. His RBI single made it 5-3 St. Louis.
Garrett’s final line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s (84 pitches)
Arenado followed with a ground ball base hit up the middle off a fastball that was several inches below the strike zone, advancing Goldy into scoring position. Yepez grounded out to Rojas at shortstop to finally end the inning.
Hudson walked Soler after a nine-pitch battle, and Oli Marmol went right to the pen. The Cardinals brought in Junior Fernandez, who may be earning himself a higher-leverage role with his success lately. Junior, who has not been scored on yet this season in five games, got Cooper to ground into a force out and Aguilar into a 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the sixth inning.
Hudson’s final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K’s (86 pitches)
Pujols struck out swinging for the first out in the bottom of the sixth against Pop. Donovan reached base on a throwing error from Berti, but both Sosa and Herrera grounded out to end the inning.
Fernandez remained on the mound after only throwing eight pitches to get three outs in the sixth. Garcia grounded out to Arenado at third, who made an absurd barehanded play on the big bounce off Garcia’s bat. Fernandez struck out Sanchez and Rojas back-to-back to cap off the top of the seventh.
Anthony Bass replaced Pop in the seventh, and retired Edman, Carlson, and Goldschmidt. Edman grounded out, Carlson flew out to center, and Goldy struck out.
Giovanny Gallegos took the mound after two sterling innings from Fernandez. He walked the leadoff man Fortes on four pitches before getting Berti to fly out to right field. He struck out pinch-hitter Brian Anderson looking for the second out of the eighth, and struck out Soler swinging to wrap up a scoreless frame.
Right-hander Jacob Yacabonis pitched the eighth inning for Miami with his team down a couple runs. Arenado struck out swinging for out number one, Lars Nootbaar grounded out to Rojas at short for out number two, and then Pujols singled to center. Rookie Connor Capel pinch-ran for Pujols, and then Donovan was called out on strikes on a fastball that looked just a bit inside.
Ryan Helsley struck out Cooper, Aguilar, and Garcia to close it out. He made all three look silly with his fastball - slider combo. He locked up his sixth save of the season.
FINAL: Cardinals 5, Marlins 3
The Cardinals (43-34) go for a sweep tomorrow night at Busch. Miami (33-40) will throw right-hander Sandy Alcantara (7-3, 1.95 ERA) — a frontrunner for the NL Cy Young award. St. Louis will counter with Andre Pallante (2-3, 2.03 ERA), who has lost each of his last two starts despite giving up three earned runs or fewer in each of them. First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m.
Around the Central
Nationals 3, Pirates 1 - Patrick Corbin looked like 2018 Patrick Corbin tonight with eight dominant innings in D.C.
Brewers 5, Rays 3 - Brandon Woodruff, 10 strikeouts over 5 innings. Ho hum.
Reds 5, Cubs 3 - TOP 8TH
Pickle #111 - 8/9
Yesterday was Albert Pujols, today was quite a bit tougher.