The Redbirds played their second game of a four-game set in the Great American Launching Pad, looking to get Adam Wainwright win 197 against Graham Ashcraft. Wainwright had a rough outing, surrendering five runs on eight hits and one walk in five and two-thirds innings. However, Ashcraft’s night went worse, as he gave up two home runs to Paul Goldschmidt en route to seven earned runs over five innings. The Cards’ bullpen would hold the Reds scoreless the rest of the game as St. Louis took game two of the series 8-5 and brought Wainwright one win closer to 200.
Lars Nootbaar led off for the Cardinals and got frozen by a 1-2 slider that crossed the center of the zone for the first out. Paul Goldschmidt followed him and squared up a slider that caught too much of the plate, putting it into the first row of seats in left center.
Nolan Gorman tipped a two-strike slider into Tyler Stephenson’s glove for the second out. Nolan Arenado was the third strikeout victim of the evening as he watched a slider break into the top of the zone for strike three.
TJ Friedl opened the bottom of the inning for Cincinnati and flew out after reaching at a sinker on the outside edge of the plate. Matt McLain struck out swinging over the top of an 0-2 curveball. Jonathan India extended the inning, cueing an outside cutter off of the end of his bat for a bloop single. Jake Fraley then flew a sinker past Alec Burleson in left for a double, scoring India to tie the game at 1-all. Stephenson pulled a curveball to Paul DeJong, who caught it on the fly at short for the last out.
Willson Contreras rolled a seventh-pitch slider to third for the first out of the second. DeJong took an outside slider back up the middle for a single into center and stole second with a good jump on the first pitch to Brendan Donovan. Donovan advanced him to third with a one-out single, setting up Tommy Edman to score DeJong with a sac fly to center to make it 2-1.
With Burleson at the plate, Donovan took second with no throw for the Cards’ second stolen base of the frame. Burleson made the most of it, singling down the right field line for an RBI single to push the lead to 3-1. Nootbaar was left standing at the plate as Burleson tried to get into the running game and failed as Ashcraft stepped off the rubber and threw to second to get the tag and the final out.
Spencer Steer got under a cutter and flew out to Edman in right. Nick Senzel topped a curveball to short for a groundout. Wil Myers followed with another groundout, this time to third, putting the Reds down in order in the second.
Nootbaar hit a high chopper back at Ashcraft, who had to extend fully to make the play on the back side of the mound for the out. Goldschmidt got a slider at the belt and took it the other way, hitting a poor fan in the collarbone in the first row of seats in right field to put the Cardinals up 4-1. Gorman followed with a single but was erased as Arenado rolled into a 4-3 double play to send the game to the bottom of the third.
Things got interesting defensively for St. Louis in the bottom of the third, as Arenado got ejected on his way off the field after the double play. Might have to wait for a potential Jomboy breakdown and a lip-reading to see what was said, but Arenado didn’t make eye contact with the home plate ump before getting tossed. With that in mind, Oli Marmol, understandably livid, came out and got ejected as well. This led to Gorman taking over at third, Edman coming in to play second, and Oscar Mercado entering the game in right field. After all that got settled, Kevin Newman began play in the inning with a groundout back to Wainwright. Friedl followed with a double into the right-center gap. McClain knocked him in with his first MLB home run, pulling the Reds within one run at 4-3. India followed with a groundout and Fraley flew out to the warning track in right for the third out.
Contreras led off in the fourth and was robbed of a hit by a shifted infield. DeJong took a first-pitch cutter in the ribs and got first base for his trouble. Donovan laced another cutter into right where Myers tried to catch it on a dive, but it got away and left the Cardinals with runners on second and third. Edman then gapped a first-pitch slider into left-center for a bases-clearing triple, widening the deficit again at 6-3.
Burleson grounded out hard to second and Edman was forced to hold position at third. Nootbaar characteristically saw seven pitches before putting a cutter into center, scoring Edman as the Cards continued to pile on at 7-3. Goldschmidt closed the top of the frame looking at a cutter that caught the zone up and away for strike three.
Stephenson led off and grounded out to Edman at second. Steer followed suit to Gorman for out number two. Senzel got under an outside cutter, flying out to right to close a quiet inning for the Reds.
Gorman grounded into a shifted infield up the middle for the first out of the fifth. Mercado hit a swinging bunt down the first baseline and got hit by the throw as he beat out an infield single. He then took second on a wild pitch to Contreras, who didn’t appreciate the 94 mph cutter that buzzed past his head. Contreras, however, went down chasing a slider that dove out of the zone and into the dirt. DeJong couldn’t cash in on the scoring opportunity, flying out to right to strand Mercado at second.
Myers opened the bottom of the fifth with a groundout to second. Newman followed with a hard grounder into left for a single. Friedl upped the pressure, doubling off of a diving Burleson’s glove to put runners at second and third. McClain then grounded out to second, but Friedl advanced as Newman scored to make it 7-4. India then got rung up on a curveball that dropped into the zone for the final out of the fifth.
Silvino Bracho replaced Ashcraft in the sixth and, after getting ahead 0-2 in the count, issued a leadoff walk to Donovan. Edman tried to jump on a changeup but got under it, popping out in foul territory. Burleson then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, killing any potential for a Redbird rally in the sixth.
Fraley grounded out to kick off the Reds’ half of the frame and Stephenson followed with a groundout to Mercado. Steer kept the Reds’ sixth alive with a weak single and scored on a double by Senzel as the Reds closed the gap to 7-5.
Myers then walked on four pitches, ending Wainwright’s outing with runners on first and second in the sixth. Despite Wainwright’s protest, the move paid off as Chris Stratton struck out Newman to close the inning.
Nootbaar struck out chasing a 1-2 changeup below the zone. Goldschmidt drew a five-pitch walk. Bracho then worked the outside corner against Gorman, who struck out looking at a four-seamer on the outside corner. Mercado got under a high slider that broke to the outside of the plate, popping out to Steer for the last out.
Friedl began the home half of the seventh with a groundout to first. McClain got hit in the hand by a 1-1 fastball but was able to stay in the game as he took his place at first. McClain tried to swipe second on the second pitch to India but was thrown out by Contreras despite a throw that came in wide. India then flew out to right to end the seventh.
Alan Busenitz took the mound for Cincy and retired Contreras on a groundout to third. DeJong followed and did the same. Donovan mirrored them both, grounding out to first to put the Cards down in order.
Giovanny Gallegos entered to pitch the eighth inning and got Fraley with a flyout to Burleson. Stephenson then grounded out and Steer popped out to short as the Reds failed to get anything going in the eighth.
Edman led off the ninth with a double into the left field corner. Burleson grounded out to Senzel, who looked Edman back to second before making the throw to first. Nootbaar then connected with a 2-2 curveball, scoring Edman to give the Cards an insurance run and an 8-5 lead.
Goldschmidt got a hold of a high fastball but hit it right at Friedl in center as he just missed his third home run of the game. Gorman went down on three fastballs that climbed progressively up the zone to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
Ryan Helsley came in to secure the save and struck out Senzel with a slider way above the zone. Myers grounded out to DeJong, who recovered from a bobbled pick and rushed a throw that Donovan picked on one hop for the out. Newman kept the Reds alive, singling on a grounder to center field. Then, because we can’t have ninth innings that aren’t anxiety-inducing, Friedl and McClain drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. India failed to take advantage, however, grounding out to short as the Cardinals secured an 8-5 win.
The Cardinals improve to 22-28 on the season and are 7-3 in their last ten games. Game three against the Reds on Wednesday will feature Steven Matz dueling Ben Lively at 5:40 PM CT.