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Flaherty and Offense Impress in 18-1 Dismantling of Brewers

Flaherty escaped a rough first to put up seven scoreless innings as the Cards’ lineup erupted for 18 runs on 16 hits.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The Cardinals came into Monday looking to carry the momentum from a sweep of the Red Sox into a three-game home series against the division-leading Brewers. Jack Flaherty, looking to bounce back from a series of shaky starts, took the mound with Willson Contreras back behind the plate while Freddy Peralta started for Milwaukee. Flaherty nearly had a nightmare first inning as the Brewers loaded the bases on two walks and a soft base hit, but he escaped with a strikeout and a double play. He then settled in, throwing seven scoreless innings with ten strikeouts. The only blemish for the Cardinals pitching-wise came from James Naile in the top of the eighth, where he let up just a single run in his two innings of relief. As impressive as Flaherty was, the Cards’ offense also came out to make a statement against the division leaders. The scoring started in the first with a three-run shot from Arenado, but the Redbirds would go on to score eighteen runs, highlighted by a ten-run eighth in which Tommy Edman, Nolan Gorman, and Andrew Knizner all homered. The final result was a routing of the Brewers as the Cards opened the series with an 18-1 win.

1st Inning

Christian Yelich led off and drew a four-pitch walk. Jesse Winker dumped a cutter softly into shallow left for a single to put two on. Willy Adames swung over a changeup at the bottom of the zone for a strikeout. Flaherty again was struggling to find the zone early, and Rowdy Tellez, taking pitches all the way, drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases with one out. Flaherty again managed to Houdini his way out of a jam, however, as William Contreras topped a 1-2 slider, rolling it to Nolan Arenado who initiated an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Lars Nootbaar got his money’s worth in his first plate appearance, working a leadoff walk on eight pitches. Paul Goldschmidt got under an outside fastball, skying it to right for the first out. Nolan Gorman followed and laced a low fastball to left, putting two on for Arenado who tucked a 101-mph line drive inside the left foul pole for a three-run home run.

Willson Contreras followed Arenado and struck out swinging over a slider at the bottom of the zone, Brendan Donovan extended the frame with a walk, but Paul DeJong whiffed at a 1-2 slider to strand him on first.

2nd Inning

Brian Anderson reached for an outside curveball and popped it to Donovan in right for out number one. Brice Turang struck out, but only after forcing Flaherty to throw eight pitches in the at-bat. Tyrone Taylor went down quickly, striking out swinging on only three pitches as Flaherty settled into the game in the second.

Alec Burleson hit a first-pitch four-seamer back at Peralta, who deflected it to Turang for the 1-4-3 putout. Tommy Edman looped a lazy ground ball down the first baseline and Tellez casually played back on it, leaving the Brewers with no play as Edman legged out the infield single. Nootbaar sat down quickly, striking out on three pitches. A wild pitch to Goldschmidt allowed Edman to advance to second, and Goldschmidt scored him with a laser into the left-center gap. Gorman, now with a 4-0 Cardinals lead, popped out to the third baseman Anderson in shallow right, ending the frame.

3rd Inning

Joey Wiemer went down swinging at a slider that dove low and away out of the zone. Yelich followed and did the same, golfing at a curveball in the dirt. Winker chased low and shattered his bat on a curveball, blooping harmlessly out to Edman.

‘Nado reached and slapped an outside fastball the other way for a solid single into right field. Contreras followed with an easy walk, putting two on for Donovan who lined out hard to left. Yelich caught the liner flat-footed, allowing Arenado to move to third. DeJong, now with runners at the corners, hit a solid grounder to Anderson who gloved it and started the 5-4-3 double play that got Milwaukee out of the jam.

4th Inning

Adames struck out swinging behind a 2-2 fastball to open play in the fourth. Tellez singled on a soft ground ball down the third baseline against a heavily-shifted infield. Blue Contreras rolled a curveball to DeJong who got the lead runner, but Blue Contreras beat the throw to first to stay out of the double play. Anderson grounded into another fielder’s choice at second, ending any chance of a threat from Milwaukee’s offense.

Burleson popped out to third to begin the bottom of the inning and Edman followed with a routine groundout to second. Nootbaar followed with a strikeout swinging over a curveball low and away for a quick bottom of the fourth.

5th Inning

Turang worked into a 3-2 count and grounded out to DeJong. Taylor just barely got under a first-pitch fastball and flew out to deep left. Wiemer went down on strikes, swinging over a filthy curveball in the dirt, ending another scoreless inning for Flaherty.

Goldy walked to start the Cards’ half of the frame and Gorman held up a check swing on a 3-2 four-seamer to do the same. Arenado followed with a first-pitch popout to Tellez. Red Contreras jumped all over a slider but lined it straight at Wiemer in center for the second out. Donovan tapped a curveball back at Peralta, who flipped to first to get out of his two-on, no-out jam.

6th Inning

Flaherty returned in the sixth and retired Yelich, who grounded out to third on a nice backhanded pick by Arenado. Winker went down looking at a back-door curveball that painted the outside corner. Adames was sat down on a backward K as Flaherty dotted the inside corner with a 1-2 fastball.

Peralta, somewhat surprisingly, came back out to pitch the sixth and almost immediately caught DeJong in the ribs with a changeup. Burleson barreled a fastball at 106 off the bat but got victimized by BABIP as Taylor was positioned perfectly to catch it. Edman followed the lineout with a hard grounder up the middle that went for a hit, putting two on and knocking Peralta out of the game. Bryse Wilson came in to face Nootbaar, who hit a fastball so hard that the umpire standing in front of second couldn’t get out of the way and got hit by the ball, killing the play and loading the bases for the Cardinals. Goldschmidt then singled back up the middle where Turang made a sliding stop, but he had no play as a run scored to make it 5-0 and the bases stayed loaded with one out. Gorman worked the count full before driving a middle-middle cutter into the right field corner, scoring two more to extend the Redbirds’ lead to 7-0. Arenado just missed a cutter up and flew out to Yelich in left. Goldschmidt tagged up from third on the play and scored to make it 8-0. Contreras got under another cutter and popped out to shallow center, ending what everyone thought would be the Cards’ big inning.

7th Inning

Tellez led off the seventh against Flaherty and lined a fastball past a diving Edman for a single. Contreras skied a curveball to center where Nootbaar ran it down for the first out. Anderson followed and tipped a 2-2 breaking ball into Contreras’s mitt for Flaherty’s tenth strikeout on the evening. Turang then popped out to center, closing a strong seven-inning start from Flaherty.

Donovan opened the bottom of the inning, striking out swinging over a cutter low and in before DeJong did the same. Burleson tattooed another hard line drive that found another glove, quickly ending the frame.

8th Inning

James Naile came in to relieve Flaherty and retired Taylor on a flyout to right. But Wiemer then snuck a grounder through for a one-out single. Owen Miller, in for Yelich, followed with his own single on a line drive to center. Winker hit another single into right, scoring Wiemer to make it 8-1.

Adames then grounded a sinker back up the middle. Edman gloved it and flipped to DeJong who couldn’t handle it initially, but he recovered to make the tag at second for the second out. Tellez walked again, loading the bases with two outs. Blue Contreras then grounded out to short, stranding the bases full of Brewers.

Gus Varland replaced Wilson in the bottom of the eighth and was welcomed by Edman with a 402-ft. solo home run, pushing the Cardinals’ lead back out at 9-1. Nootbaar almost hit an umpire again, singling into center field. Goldschmidt followed with a walk to bring up Gorman, who continued to pile on the runs with a three-run shot to push the lead into double digits at 12-2.

Juan Yepez pinch hit for Arenado and went down looking at a fastball down and away for the first out. Red Contreras was robbed of a hit by Taylor who made a sliding catch in right. Donovan walked and moved to second as DeJong singled off the glove of Turang at short. Burleson finally notched a hit with an RBI single to right as the Cards continued to add runs. Edman, hitting for the second time in the inning, singled to score DeJong, making it 14-1.

Nootbaar walked to load the bases again, prompting the Brewers to bring in position player Mike Brosseau to face Andrew Knizner. Knizner, after almost getting hit by the first pitch from Brosseau, went deep for a grand slam as the rout continued with the Cardinals going up 18-1. Gorman grounded out to first, bringing an end to a ten-run inning.

9th Inning

Naile returned and retired Anderson on a groundout to second for the first out of the ninth, followed by a strikeout from Turang. Taylor flew out to center, closing the Cardinals’ 18-1 rout of the Brewers.

The Cardinals improve to 17-25 as they extend their winning streak to four games and are now 7-3 in their last ten games. The series continues with game two on Tuesday as Jordan Montgomery faces of against Wade Miley at 6:45 PM CT.