Corbin Burnes entered Wednesday’s game with a 0.43 ERA against the Cardinals this season. He’s had their number all season, so it was looking a little iffy when Adam Wainwright gave up five hits over the first two innings Wednesday night and saw his pitch count climb into the 80s by the fourth.
But thanks to two big homers from Nolan Arenado and Lars Nootbaar — as well as a gutsy five inning performance from Wainwright himself — the Cardinals scored four unanswered runs to knock off Milwaukee and shrink their magic number to win the NL Central to 12.
The Cardinals split the two-game set with Milwaukee, and now welcome Cincinnati to town for five. Here’s how it went down Wednesday night:
The BABIP Gods had it out for Wainwright early, as much of Milwaukee’s traffic on the bases were due to weak contact that found holes. Christian Yelich led off the game and struck out looking. With one out, Willy Adames singled on a 52 mph ground ball up the third base line — essentially a swinging bunt. Rowdy Tellez followed with a softly hit single to center field with an exit velocity of just 70 mph.
Hunter Renfroe worked the count full and struck out on a patented Wainwright curveball at the knees. After falling behind 0-2, Kolten Wong worked a walk to load the bases. Wainwright got Andrew McCutchen to hit a soft ground ball back to him for the final out, as Waino underhand flipped over to first base.
Corbin Burnes struck out Tommy Edman and Corey Dickerson for outs one and two before getting a groundout from Paul Goldschmidt to end the first inning.
Jace Peterson singled to left field leading off the second inning. Omar Narvaez followed with a base hit up the middle, moving Peterson to third. Tyrone Taylor hit a sacrifice fly to Alec Burleson in right field, scoring Peterson and making it 1-0 Milwaukee. Yelich singled to left field next, moving Narvaez into scoring position. With one out still, Adames flew out to Lars Nootbaar in center field, and Narvaez tagged to third base. Tellez grounded out to Goldschmidt at first base for the third out. Milwaukee recorded five hits over the first two innings.
Nolan Arenado took Corbin Burnes’ first pitch of the second inning for a ride 413 feet into the left-center field seats for his 29th homer of the season, tying things up 1-1. It left the bat at 105 mph.
Brendan Donovan followed with a first-pitch line drive single to center field off Burnes. Albert Pujols struck out for the first out, but Burleson’s second-ever MLB hit into left field set up Yadier Molina with runners on the corners and one out. Yadi swung at a high 1-1 slider and served it into left field for an RBI single, scoring Donovan and giving St. Louis an early 2-1 lead.
Nootbaar struck out for the second out, and Edman grounded out to Kolten Wong at second base to end the second inning with St. Louis leading 2-1.
Renfroe led off the third and popped out to Edman at shortstop. Wong reached on a one-out bloop single to center field (63 mph), but was erased on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play, courtesy of Wong and McCutchen at the plate.
Corey Dickerson struck out for the first out and Goldschmidt drew a one-out walk. Arenado grounded out softly back to Burnes, with Goldschmidt moving to second base. Donovan grounded out to Wong at second base to end the inning.
Peterson led off the fourth and flew out to deep center field, with Nootbaar settling under it on the warning track. Narvaez grounded back to Wainwright for out number two. With two outs, Taylor singled to left, Yelich reached on an error by Donovan at second (later ruled a hit, but yikes), and Adames drew a six-pitch walk to load the bases. Tellez swung at the first pitch he saw and flew out to Burleson in right field, stranding the bases loaded.
Pujols grounded out to third, Burleson broke his bat and still somehow hit a fly ball to the warning track for the second out, and Molina flew out to right field as well.
Pushing 100 pitches, Wainwright was able to work a 1-2-3 fifth inning on 15 pitches. Renfroe hit a sharp ground ball up the third base line that Arenado made a great play on, Wong flew out to center field after nine pitches, and McCutchen flew out to shallower center field than Wong.
Wainwright’s final line: 5 IP, 8 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s (98 pitches)
Lars Nootbaar led off the fifth by punishing a 2-0 cutter from Burnes, hammering it 452 feet into right-center field for his 12th homer of the year. It was his first extra-base hit in nearly two weeks, and it gave St. Louis a 3-1 lead in the fifth. It was also the longest home run of the season at Busch Stadium.
Edman grounded out to first base for the first out, followed by back-to-back singles from Dickerson and Goldschmidt. After a mound visit, Burnes was able to make Arenado ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Following a 98-pitch, 5-inning start, Adam Wainwright stayed in for the sixth as Andre Pallante took over on the mound. He handed out a leadoff walk to Peterson, and Narvaez’ ground out to first base moved him into scoring position. Taylor took strike three looking for the second out, and Yelich grounded out softly back to Pallante.
Donovan led off against Burnes in the sixth inning and hit a ground ball up the middle that Adames ranged over, snagged, and threw over to first to get him. Pujols stepped in and was hit in the arm by an up and in fastball, while boos rained down on Burnes from the crowd. Burleson grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the sixth inning.
Jordan Hicks jogged in for the seventh inning and struck out Adames with a slider well below the knees. Tellez drew an eight-pitch walk and Renfroe singled to right field as the potential tying run. With one out, Wong hit a ground ball to Goldschmidt at first base. Goldy threw over the second for the force out, with Wong reaching first base. Hicks fell behind McCutchen 3-0 before fighting back and striking him out for the third out.
Despite his pitch count sneaking up towards 100, Burnes remained in the game come the seventh. Molina grounded out to shortstop for the first out. Nootbaar hit a ground ball towards second base, but Wong threw the ball away and into the camera well to put Noot on base. Edman flew out to center field and Dickerson grounded out to first base to end the inning.
Burnes’ final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s (107 pitches)
Giovanny Gallegos pitched the eighth inning. He got Peterson to fly out to center field, and then struck out both Narvaez and Taylor to set down the Brewers quickly.
Right-hander Brad Boxberger replaced Burnes in the eighth inning. Goldschmidt led off the bottom half of the inning with a soft single to center field. With Arenado at bat he went to steal second base, but Arenado flew out to center field and the Brewers easily doubled Goldschmidt off first for the double play.
Tyler O’Neill — who entered as a defensive replacement for Donovan — reached on an infield single towards third base. Pujols then stepped in and doubled into the left-center field alley, scoring O’Neill from first to make it 4-1 St. Louis.
Sidearming right-hander Trevor Kelley took over for Boxberger with two outs, and walked Ben DeLuzio, who also entered the game late as a defensive replacement. Molina grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Ryan Helsley entered the game in the top of the ninth searching for his 17th save of the season. Yelich grounded out to Arenado. Adames struck out swinging at a slider in the opposite batter’s box. Tellez reached with a single with two outs, but Helsley struck out Renfroe to end the game.
FINAL: Cardinals 4, Brewers 1
St. Louis (84-59) hosts Cincinnati (56-86) for a five-game set beginning Thursday night at Busch. Chase Anderson (0-3, 9.00 ERA) will throw for Cincinnati. He faced the Cardinals on August 29, pitching into the second inning and giving up five earned runs on four hits and a walk. He took the loss in a 14-3 Cardinals win. Miles Mikolas (11-11, 3.42 ERA) will start for St. Louis. Mikolas was beaten by the Pirates in his last start, coughing up four earned runs over five innings.
First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 10, Reds 4
MLB Pickle #189 - 5/9