The Cardinals are off to their worst start since 1973, have lost seven of their last nine games entering today’s game, and were a distant 8.5 games behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. To get a getaway day win, St. Louis was tasked with beating right-hander Logan Webb, who finished last season with a 2.90 ERA and won 15 games.
Here’s the St. Louis lineup, sans Willson Contreras.
- Lars Nootbaar, CF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Nolan Gorman, DH
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Alec Burleson, RF
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Tyler O’Neill, LF
- Andrew Knizner, C
- Tommy Edman, 2B
Miles Mikolas - SP
And for the Giants:
- LaMonte Wade Jr., LF
- Thairo Estrada, 2B
- Joc Pederson, DH
- Michael Conforto, RF
- Wilmer Flores, 1B
- Mike Yastrzemski, CF
- Blake Sabol, C
- David Villar, 3B
- Brandon Crawford, SS
Logan Webb - SP
The Cardinals, against all odds, won a baseball game Thursday afternoon, spearheaded by Miles Mikolas’s best start of the season. The offense was jump-started by Alec Burleson’s solo home run in the seventh inning that came just a bit short of splashing into the bay.
The Cardinals scored all six runs from the seventh inning on. The win improves the Cardinals’ record in series finales to 6-2 this season. The Cardinals are 4-14 in games that are not the final game of a series.
But about the win..
Easy first inning for Webb, throwing just 12 pitches to put up a zero. Strikeouts of Nootbaar and Gorman were sandwiched around a deep flyout to center field by Goldschmidt.
Mikolas struck out Wade to start the ballgame, but Estrada stung a one-out single to right field. However, Miles was able to retire Pederson on a flyout and Conforto with a groundout to get out of the inning.
Arenado led off the inning with a line drive single to left field. Burleson followed and ripped a sharp ground ball directly at Flores, who was holding Arenado at first base. Flores stepped on the bag for the first out, and then tagged Arenado attempting to dive back in to first for the second out of the inning (once the out was made at first, Arenado was no longer forced to second, and attempted to dive back to first safely). DeJong grounded out for out number three.
Flores worked a full count against Mikolas and eventually drew a leadoff walk. He was stuck there, however, with strikeouts of Yastrzemski and Sabol, followed by a Villar flyout to right.
After a Tyler O’Neill groundout, Knizner singled up the middle (which actually made him 3-9 in his last 9 at-bats). Edman struck out, but Nootbaar reached on an infield single that was perfectly placed between the shifted Crawford and Estrada. Goldschmidt drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but Gorman struck out swinging at a perfectly located changeup at the knees to kill the Cardinal scoring threat.
Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the third and hit a fly ball towards foul territory that O’Neill made a fine sliding play on for the first out. Wade grounded out to DeJong at short for out number two, but then Mikolas plunked Estrada straight in the ribs with a 95 mph fastball. After standing with trainers for a few minutes, he was eventually able to walk down to first and remained in the game. Pederson popped out on the infield, with Edman making the catch, ending the third inning.
A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 inning for Webb in the fourth. Arenado struck out on three pitches (his ninth strikeout in his last nineteen at bat), Burleson grounded out right back to Webb, and DeJong grounded out to second.
It was also a quick inning for Mikolas, who retired Conforto (groundout), Flores (strikeout), and Yastrzemski (flyout) on 11 pitches.
O’Neill led off the fifth and put a good swing on a 2-2 slider, sending it 384 feet to center field where Yastrzemski ran it down a foot or two in front of the warning track. Knizner popped out to first, and Edman grounded out to second for outs two and three.
Sabol swung at the second pitch of the at-bat from Mikolas, popping out to Edman in shallow right field. Villar hunted the first pitch from Mikolas and took a knee-high fastball into right field for a base knock. Crawford followed with a base hit to center field, with Villar going first to third.
With Wade batting, Crawford stole second base (his third theft of the season), putting two runners in scoring position for the Giants’ left fielder. Wade worked a walk to load them back up — and set up the double play, if you’re one of those optimistic fans. Estrada swung and hit a deadened chopper about six feet in front of the plate — the problem is, both Knizner and Mikolas went for it, with neither standing on home plate to get the lead runner. Because of this, Knizner grabbed the ball and dove back towards home plate, tagging out a headfirst-diving Villar before he could touch the plate.
Estrada reached first base on the previous play, so the bases were still loaded for Joc Pederson. He hit a 109 mph line drive right at Burleson in right field for the final out of the fifth inning — Mikolas escapes the jam.
Nootbaar struck out for the second time in the game, Goldschmidt’s 108.8 mph line drive was caught at the right field wall by Conforto, and Gorman struck out for the third time in the game — his first hat trick of the year!
Conforto led off the bottom of the sixth and hit a bouncer right back to Mikolas, who took his time with a flip to first for the out. Flores hit a shallow fly ball into center field that Edman drifted back to catch for the second out. With two outs, Yastrzemski hit a missile off the right field wall for a double, with Burleson’s throw hitting him in the leg at second base, so DeJong had no opportunity for a tag. Mikolas struck out Sabol with a slider to end the inning, stranding the game’s potential first run out at second.
After an Arenado groundout, Alec Burleson hammered a high fastball (like, very high.... not a strike-high) high and deep into the San Francisco sky for his third homer of the year, clearing the 24-foot wall in right field to make it 1-0 Cardinals in the seventh.
DeJong followed with a base hit to right field, making him 7-for-16 since returning to the Cardinals. O’Neill singled to essentially the same spot, putting two on for Knizner with one out. The Cardinals’ catcher hit a deep fly ball to left center field, with Wade making the catch in front of the warning track. Both runners tagged up, with DeJong tagging to third and O’Neill to second.
With two outs, Edman hit a ground ball up the middle. Estrada ranged to his right, gloved it, and made a two-hop throw to first base, with Edman called out on a bang-bang play. However, the Cardinals challenged the call at first, and it was overturned — Edman had an infield hit, and the Cardinals had another run on the board with DeJong crossing the plate on the play.
Gabe Kapler went to the bullpen, bringing in former Cardinal John Brebbia to face Nootbaar, who flew out to center field for out number three.
Mikolas struck out Villar with a big curveball for the first out in the bottom of the seventh, and Oli Marmol opted to go to the bullpen. With the left-handed hitting Crawford and Wade coming up, it was Genesis Cabrera time.
Cabrera struck out Crawford, gave up a one-out double to Wade, but got Estrada to hit a ground ball right back to him to end the seventh inning.
Mikolas’ final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (95 pitches)
Webb’s final line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K (102 pitches)
Goldschmidt worked a 12-pitch at-bat against Brebbia, including six foul balls, but eventually grounded out. Gorman jumped on a 1-1 slider and took it to right field for a one-out hit, but was erased on second base when Arenado hit into what should have been an easy 4-6-3 double play. However, Crawford’s throw back to first base was high and up the line, allowing Arenado to reach first.
Dylan Carlson, who came into the game as a defensive replacement for Burleson, hit a ground ball to where the third baseman would’ve been if he wasn’t shaded to the right. The ball rolled all the way down the third base line until it was eventually picked up by Wade, and the relay home was not in time to get Arenado, who scored to make it 3-0. Carlson wound up on second with a double.
Kapler went to the bullpen again, bringing in right-hander Tristan Beck for his third appearance of the season. DeJong greeted him with a bomb, clobbering a hanging breaking ball 369 feet into the left field seats for a two-run homer — his second homer in five games since being called back up. 5-0 Cardinals.
O’Neill drew a two-out walk, but Knizner was called out on strikes for out number three.
Mitch Haniger pinch-hit for Pederson and hit a 51 mph swinging bunt towards third base that Arenado simply picked up and put in his pocket for a leadoff single. Cabrera retired Conforto on a flyout and Flores on a pop out before walking Yastrzemski with two outs. He struck out Sabol to strand both runners to send this game to the ninth.
A Tommy Edman double and a Nootbaar single set Goldschmidt up with runners on the corners and nobody out to start the ninth inning. He hit a ground ball to Villar at third, who went to second for the force out but they were unable to complete the double play at first. Edman scored, making it 6-0.
Gorman struck out swinging to earn a Golden Sombrero on this fine Thursday, and Arenado grounded out to second base.
Drew VerHagen pitched a clean bottom of the ninth with two strikeouts to close out the game. The Cardinals avoid the four-game sweep.
FINAL: Cardinals 6, Giants 0
The west coast road trip from hell continues for the Cardinals (10-16) tomorrow, as they fly a few hours south to take on the Dodgers (13-13) in Los Angeles.
Red-headed fireballer Dustin May (2-1, 3.07 ERA) will start for the Dodgers, while Jack Flaherty (2-2, 3.29 ERA) will go for St. Louis. May earned a win over the Cubs his last time out, pitching into the sixth inning and giving up two earned runs. Flaherty beat the Mariners last weekend, giving up three earned runs over six innings while striking out nine.
First pitch is set for 9:10 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 6, Dodgers 2
Cubs 5, Padres 2
MLB Pickle #414 - 5/9