Huh, so maybe there is something to the whole “The Rockies really suck outside of Denver” thing?
Jordan Montgomery, I’m sorry for putting you in the Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme alongside Jon Lester and J.A. Happ. That was wrong and inaccurate. The lefty shoved for the third straight start, and I unfortunately have to give credit to the Cardinals’ front office for making solid moves at the deadline without giving up much of anything.
Here’s how Wednesday’s win went down, plus a Brewers loss now puts St. Louis in the driver’s seat by a full three games in the NL Central:
Jordan Montgomery had been better than advertised over his first two starts with the Cardinals, and start number three began with a quick first inning. Montgomery struck out Connor Joe and Charlie Blackmon for outs one and two before getting Brendan Rodgers to fly out to Dylan Carlson in center field, who made a phenomenal running catch up against the wall.
Lars Nootbaar led off tonight against right-hander German Marquez and drew a seven-pitch walk. Brendan Donovan, who started at DH, reached base on a swinging bunt down the third base line. Paul Goldschmidt swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, with everyone out but Nootbaar over at third base. Nolan Arenado picked him up with a deep fly ground rule double into the left-center ally, scoring Noot and getting the Cardinals on the board first.
Nolan Gorman stepped in and worked an eight pitch at-bat, ultimately resulting in a ground rule double for himself that mirrored Arenado’s over the right-center field wall. It scored Arenado and made it 2-0 St. Louis in the first inning. Corey Dickerson struck out swinging on a curveball in the dirt to close the first inning.
C.J. Cron popped out to Goldy for the first out of the inning. Jose Iglesias hit a ground-rule double to right field with one out — that’s three ground-rule doubles in two innings, what the hell?
Montgomery struck out Cardinals legend Randal Grichuk and Ryan McMahon to end the inning and strand Iglesias on second base.
In the bottom of the second, Paul DeJong grounded out and Andrew Knizner lined out sharply to left field for two quick outs. Dylan Carlson drew a two-out walk, but Nootbaar truck out to end the inning.
Elehuris Montero and Brian Serven reached on back-to-back singles to start the top of the third. Joe struck out swinging for the second straight at-bat, but Blackmon got the Rockies on the board right after with an RBI single against the shift to left field.
Rodgers hit a flaming ground ball to Gorman at 107 mph, and Gorman initially booted it. But the ball was hit so hard the rookie was able to grab it and flip to second to begin an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Brendan Donovan grounded out to his Brendan counterpart (Rodgers) for out number one in the bottom half of the inning. Goldschmidt hit a double — his 32nd — to left field, but he was stranded there due to Arenado flying out to shallow center field and Gorman striking out.
Montgomery had the strikeout pitch working on Wednesday night, and he got Cron — his sixth victim — to start the fourth inning. Iglesias singled to right field for his second hit of the game, and advanced to second when Grichuk hit a soft grounder back to Montgomery. The play was made at first for the second out. After an eight pitch at-bat McMahon struck out, leaving Iglesias in scoring position.
Corey Dickerson led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double down the third base line that kicked off the protruding wall and came back into fair territory, but like Iglesias, he would never move from that bag. DeJong flew out to Blackmon in shallow right field, so Dickerson could not tag up. Knizner grounded out to third base, so Dickerson had to retreat to second again. Carlson drew another walk, but Nootbaar popped out in foul territory to end the inning.
A quick, 11-pitch inning for Montgomery in the top of the fifth. Montero stuck out swinging followed by ground balls to shortstop from both Serven and Joe.
St. Louis manufactured one run in the fifth, but it felt like they had even more cooking than that. Donvan and Goldschidt both reached base with singles to start the inning, with Donovan advancing to third on Goldy’s. With runners on the corner and nobody out, Arenado hit a line drive directly at McMahon down at third base, which he caught. Gorman chopped a ground ball to first base with one out, and Cron fielded it and threw to second base. The Rockies got the out at second, but Gorman beat the return throw for an RBI fielder’s choice, putting St. Louis up 3-1 in the fifth.
Dickerson flew out to Blackmon in right field for the third out of the inning.
Montgomery fell behind 2-0 to Blackmon in the sixth, and his inside fastball went a little too far inside and plunked the Rockies’ right fielder. Rodgers followed with a ground ball up the middle — not hit super hard — that Gorman appeared to have a play on, but the ball kicked off his glove as he dove for it. Rodgers reached, Blackmon advanced to second, and the go-ahead run came up to bat. Cron got ahead of Montgomery 2-0 as well, but then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to kill the Colorado rally.
With Iglesias due up with two outs and his already having reached base twice against Montgomery, Oli Marmol went to the bullpen with right-hander Andre Pallante. Montgomery was not happy, but you could see Marmol say something along the lines of “We’ve got you” as Montgomery walked off the mound. Pallante came in and got a soft groundout from Iglesias, ending the inning and not making Oli Marmol a liar.
Montgomery’s final line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 8 K’s (87 pitches)
DeJong struck out swinging, Knizner flew out to Joe again, and Carlson grounded out to second base.
Marquez’ final line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K’s (103 pitches)
Pallante worked through the seventh inning on nine pitches — Grichuk grounded out to second, McMahon stared at strike three, and Montero grounded out to short.
Right-hander Jake Bird replaced Marquez in the seventh. He started things off by hitting Nootbaar in the foot with a curveball. Donovan flew out to left field, but Goldschmidt drew another walk to push Nootbaar to second base. With two runners on, Arenado hit a 102.4 mph line drive to McMahon at third, who dove to his left and robbed his hot corner counterpart of an RBI base knock.
With two outs, Gorman hit a line drive single to right field, scoring Noot and putting St. Louis up 4-1 in the seventh.
The Rockies went to the bullpen again, bringing in right-hander Justin Lawrence to face Dickerson. He was able to get the left-handed hitting Dickerson to ground out to keep the deficit at three runs.
Another ho-hum 1-2-3- inning from Pallante in the top of the eighth. Serven flew out to Nootbaar in right field, Joe stared at three straight strikes to earn the ole hat trick, and Blackmon grounded out to second base.
DeJong struck out hacking at a slider for out number one in the bottom of the eighth. Knizner drew a walk, but was erased on Carlson’s fielder’s choice, with Iglesias going the easy way to second for an out. Nootbaar worked a seven-pitch walk off Lawrence — his second walk of the day. Donovan then sliced a double — his third hit of the day — down the left field line, scoring Knizner to make it 5-1 Cardinals. Nootbaar was sent home by Pop Warner, but Pop quickly realized that was wrong call and tried to get him back to the bag. It was too late, and Nooty was cooked between third base and home plate. He was tagged out, but the Cardinals now had a four-run lead.
Ryan Helsley was warming up for a save, but when the fifth run scored Oli Marmol opted to go with Gio Gallegos instead for the ninth inning. Gallegos walked the leadoff man, Rodgers. Cron followed with a base hit to left field, moving Rodgers to second. Iglesias popped out to DeJong in shallow left field, and neither runner was able to advance.
10 years later (it felt like) Gallegos induced a ground ball to short from Grichuk, with DeJong going to second for the force out. Grichuk isn’t exactly fleet footed, but he was quick enough to beat out the softly hit ground ball, as the throw back to first for a double play was not in time.
With two runners on, McMahon struck out swinging to ensure a Cardinals series victory.
FINAL: St. Louis 5, Colorado 1
The Cardinals (65-51) go for the sweep of Colorado (51-68) Thursday afternoon at Busch. Adam Wainwright (8-8, 3.27 ERA) — fresh off a nine inning, one earned run no decision — will go for career win No. 193 in front of the home crowd. Antonio Senzatela (3-6, 4.67 ERA) will throw for Colorado.
Around the Central
Red Sox 5, Pirates 2 - Almost-a-Cardinal Rich Hill went five solid innings in Pittsburgh as the Red Sox cling to the slimmest possible playoff hopes.
Dodgers 2, Brewers 1 - Craig Kimbrel did not blow the save tonight, as the Dodgers handed the Cardinals another game of cushion in the NL Central
Reds 1, Phillies 0 - In a battle of dueling lefties, the Phillies blinked first in the bottom of the ninth.
Cubs 3, Nationals 2 - Not sure who’s going to be the No. 1 overall pick next year, but I hope he likes Washington D.C.
MLB Pickle #161 - 7/9
A Cardinals legend!