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IBB Burns Dodgers in 6-5 Cards Win

Gorman’s still good and the bullpen’s still bad.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

The Cardinals entered Saturday’s contest looking to secure at least a split of a four-game home series against the Dodgers. Miles Mikolas started for the Redbirds across from Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard struggled early as the Cards looked to take advantage of his slow delivery, stealing multiple bases with no throws and putting up three early runs on the LA starter. Mikolas was sharp for the most part and overall pitched a strong seven innings. His only blemish came when he ran into trouble in the sixth, as former college teammate J.D. Martinez took him deep for a three-run shot that tied the game. One of the real talking points from this game, however, will be the Dodgers’ decision to intentionally walk Paul Goldschmidt, setting up a three-run blast from Nolan Gorman that was ultimately the difference in the game. The Dodgers would mount a comeback in the ninth as Ryan Helsley struggled in his second inning of work, but their effort fell short as Giovanny Gallegos slammed the door (with a little help from the home-plate umpire) to secure a 6-5 Cardinals victory.

1st Inning

Mookie Betts led off for LA and skied a 2-2 slider to Alec Burleson on the left field warning track. Freddie Freeman followed and flew out to Brendan Donovan, who had to shield his eyes from a brutal sun with his throwing hand to make the catch. J.D. Martinez closed the top of the frame with a lineout to short.

Lars Nootbaar all but tore the cover off of a 3-1 sinker but hit it straight to Jason Heyward in center for a hard-luck lineout. Paul Goldschmidt slapped a fastball the other way for a single. Nolan Gorman patiently drew a four-pitch walk to put two on for Nolan Arenado, who struck out swinging over an outside curveball. Willson Contreras reached out and weakly dropped a cutter into shallow right, scoring Goldschmidt to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead. Contreras took second unchecked on the second pitch to Donovan, who struck out and stranded runners on second and third.

2nd Inning

Max Muncy rolled a harmless sinker to first to open the second. Miguel Vargas looped a lazy fly ball to Donovan for the second out. David Peralta struck out swinging, ending a second efficient inning for Mikolas.

Paul DeJong caught a 3-2 fastball to the elbow guard to earn first base. He then swiped second (again, with no throw), setting Burleson up to plate him with an RBI double to double the Redbirds’ lead to 2-0.

Tommy Edman was thrown out on a grounder to second after an initial “safe” call was overturned. Burleson took third on the play and scored on a sac fly by Nootbaar, extending the Cards’ lead again to 3-0. Goldschmidt then golfed a low changeup to center where Heyward caught it for the final out.

3rd Inning

Heyward popped out to Contreras in foul territory to begin the third inning. Chris Taylor went down swinging at a full-count slider. Austin Barnes rolled over a curveball, making an easy play for Arenado to get the last out.

Gorman grounded a changeup to short for a quick first out and Arenado tore a 1-0 sinker into left for a single. He tried to swipe second, but Barnes got Syndergaard to step off the rubber and he threw to second to get the out on the tag. Contreras, now with the bases empty, grounded out to second to send the game to the fourth.

4th Inning

Back at the top of the lineup for the Dodgers, Betts flew out to a sliding Burleson. Freeman pounced on a 1-2 fastball middle-up for a double. Martinez followed and grounded out to DeJong, who made a strong throw from his heels to get the second out. Muncy then topped a low changeup to Arenado to end the top of the frame.

Donovan led off for the Cardinals’ half and got unlucky on a 102-mph line drive that went straight into Vargas’ glove. DeJong got rung up on a curveball that caught the corner low and away. Burleson stung a first-pitch sinker but his line drive found Betts for the last out.

5th Inning

Vargas skied a sinker to Nootbaar for the first out of the fifth. Peralta followed and gapped a curveball to right-center for a leadoff double. Heyward hit a grounder that clipped Mikolas on a kick-save to DeJong, who was left with no throw. Taylor, with runners at the corners, popped out Edman in shallow right field and Barnes grounded out as Mikolas somehow got out of the inning on just seven total pitches.

Edman squared up a first-pitch sinker but the Cards still found no luck as another 100+ mph line drive found a glove. Nootbaar followed the lineout and grounded out to first. Goldy struck out looking as Syndergaard pounded the outside edge of the strike zone for the last out.

6th Inning

Betts opened the sixth with a leadoff single to left field. Freeman followed with a hard grounder back up the middle to put two on. Martinez got a 3-2 sinker up and in and put into the Busch Stadium seats as the Cardinals suddenly found themselves in a 3-3 tie.

Mikolas recovered quickly from the blow, retiring Muncy on a popout to Edman on the pitcher’s mound. Vargas somehow made contact with a slider that was away and nearly in the dirt, grounding it back to Mikolas for out number two. Peralta hit a hard line drive to left, where Nootbaar caught it to end the Dodgers’ half of the inning.

Yency Almonte entered the game on the bump for LA and surrendered a leadoff single to Gorman, who was erased after Arenado gave up a double play. Contreras was then retired on a groundout to short to end a quick bottom of the sixth.

7th Inning

Heyward grounded out to Edman, who made a good play charging for the short hop. Taylor followed with a flyout to right. Barnes got a hittable sinker but topped it, grounding out to Edman for a 1-2-3 inning.

Justin Bruihl relieved Almonte for LA in the seventh. Donovan flew out to Heyward in deep center for the first out. DeJong got worked inside and struck out swinging. Juan Yepez pinch-hit for Burleson and launched a hard grounder at Taylor, who fielded it cleanly for the final out.

8th Inning

Ryan Helsley came out to pitch the eighth while Donovan moved to left field and Oscar Mercado entered the game in right. Betts opened the inning with a groundout to second. Freeman took first after getting hit with a 2-2 slider. Martinez struck out, swinging out in front of another 2-strike slider. Muncy then got rung up, staring at yet another gorgeous back-door slider that was good for the strikeout.

Victor Gonzalez was the fourth pitcher for the Dodgers and he was welcomed with a leadoff double from Edman. Nootbaar went down swinging in a rare three-pitch at-bat. The Dodgers then intentionally walked Goldy to get the lefty-lefty matchup with Gorman. You can understand the reasoning. You avoid the reigning MVP and theoretically get the platoon advantage. But Gorman very well may be the hottest hitter in the NL right now and he showed it, demolishing a 1-1 sinker into the home bullpen to put the good guys back up 6-3.

The home run ended Gonzalez’s night as Tyler Cyr came in to pitch for LA. He left a fastball up to Arenado, who hit a rocket into left for his second hit of the night. Contreras followed and grounded out softly to first on a weird play where everyone thought Freeman caught the ball in the air, so Arenado remained at first base. It didn’t matter, however, as Donovan got frozen on a 3-2 changeup at the top of the zone.

9th Inning

The Dodgers were far from dead as Vargas opened the ninth with a double down the third base line. Peralta singled, moving him to third to put Dodgers on the corners. Heyward followed with a double, plating Vargas to close the deficit to 6-4.

James Outman then pinch-hit for Taylor with runners on second and third, and the Cardinals replaced Helsley with Giovanny Gallegos. Outman reached at an outside fastball and lined it softly to Edman for the first out of the inning. LA continued to apply pressure as Will Smith, pinch-hitting for Barnes, hit a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5.

Betts, in an adventure of an at-bat, fouled off two pitches before Gallegos threw three pitches nowhere near the zone. Gallegos then placed a fastball well off the outside edge of the plate and got a very generous strike call, escaping a potential Dodgers comeback and securing a 6-5 Cardinals win.

The Cardinals stay hot as they continue their climb out of the NL Central cellar. They improve to 20-27 with the win and are 7-3 in their last ten games. They’ll look to secure a series win against the Dodgers in Sunday’s finale of the four-game set. Jack Flaherty is slated to face off against Clayton Kershaw at 1:15 PM CT.