How about the Cardinals rattle off some wins here before we get to July, shall we?
After mounting a comeback Tuesday night against Framber Valdez to knock off Houston, the Cardinals were tasked with beating another capable arm — Cristian Javier — on Wednesday. And if you love offense, this was the game for you.
Here are the lineups for the Astros and the Cardinals Wednesday night:
- Jose Altuve, 2B
- Alex Bregman, 3B
- Kyle Tucker, RF
- Jose Abreu, 1B
- Yainer Diaz, DH
- Jeremy Pena, SS
- Bligh Madris, LF
- Jake Meyers, CF
- Martin Maldonado, C
Cristian Javier - SP
- Brendan Donovan, LF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Lars Nootbaar, CF
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Nolan Gorman, 2B
- Alec Burleson, DH
- Dylan Carlson, RF
- Tommy Edman, SS
Miles Mikolas - SP
Was this the most painful loss of the season? It’s tough to say when there are so many deserving candidates for that category.
It’s tough to swallow a loss when Goldschmidt, Arenado, and Donovan all go yard, you’ve got a three-run lead on the Astros late, and all of that happened despite giving up three runs right away in the first inning.
St. Louis can still win this series tomorrow night, but if there’s any hope at making things interesting, the Cardinals need to rack up some sweeps as well. They should be going for a sweep tomorrow. But now they’re not.
Here’s how it went down:
The two teams got the bats going early, comining for one more run in the first inning today than they did in the entire game on Tuesday. Jose Altuve, who missed Tuesday’s game with a heel injury, hit the first pitch he saw 103 mph off his bat into center field for a leadoff double. Alex Bregman drew a four-pitch walk to put two runners on for Kyle Tucker, who yanked an RBI double down the first base line to make it 1-0 Astros. Altuve scored, with Bregman stopping at third.
Jose Abreu followed with an RBI sac fly to right field, scoring Bregman and moving Tucker to third. It was the former MVP’s 900th career RBI, making it 2-0 Houston.
Yainer Diaz struck out on three pitches, but Pena came through with a two-out base knock to right field to score Tucker, making it 3-0 early. Bligh Madris grounded out to second to finally end the top of the first.
The Cardinals took Houston’s punch in the first and swung right back, getting the sticks moving against Javier right away. Donovan led off the game with a base hit to right field. After Goldschmidt flew out to center, Nootbaar singled on a ground ball up the middle that Pena got to but did not have a play on at first or second. Arenado capped off a six-pitch at bat by pulling his hands in and yanking a 2-2 fastball deep into left field, ultimately landing in the first row of seats in left for a game-tying three-run homer. Nolan’s 16th homer of the season traveled 374 feet and jumped off the bat at 102 mph.
Willson Contreras struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Gorman singled to right field with two outs, and Alec Burleson rung a double down into the right field corner. Gorman rounded the bases and scored all the way from first, giving St. Louis a 4-3 lead in the first. After a visit from pitching coach Bill Murphy, Javier got Carlson to pop out to end the first inning.
After Jake Meyers popped out on the infield and Maldonado flew out to left, Altuve drew a two-out walk. Bregman struck out looking at strike three on a fastball that looked well outside, but he was rung up by home plate umpire Jim Wolf regardless.
The Cardinals also got a two-out baserunner in the second, but theirs took a jog all the way around the bases instead of stopping at first. Edman led off the frame with a groundout and Donovan flew out to center. Paul Goldschmidt stepped in and clobbered a 2-2 fastball at the top of the zone into deep left center field. The ball flew 443 feet and landed about 10 rows deep into the seats for a solo homer, giving St. Louis a 5-3 lead. It was Goldschmidt’s 14th homer of the season. Nootbaar grounded out to end the second.
Tucker and Abreu started the third with back-to-back singles, but Houston was unable to come through with RISP. Diaz hit a ground ball to Arenado at third, and the gold glover stepped on the bag himself for a force out. Pena flew out to right field, and Abreu tagged to third. Madris struck out for the third out, stranding both runners.
The Cardinals went 1-2-3in the third, with all three hitters making hard contact. Arenado hit a line drive to Tucker which he caught, Contreras flew out to Madris in left, and Gorman hit a fly ball to the warning track in left-center field, that was caught by Madris as well.
Mikolas set down all three batters he saw in the fourth — Meyers and Maldonado both grounded out, and Altuve hit a soft line drive back at Mikolas, which he caught.
St. Louis got their first two runners on base in the fourth, with Burleson getting plunked by a Javier slider and Carlson blooping a base hit down the left field line. Edman put down a successful sacrifice bunt to move them both into scoring position, and Javier walked Donovan on four pitches to load the bases.
Goldschmidt came through with an RBI single to left field, and the runners played the station to station game moving up one base apiece. St. Louis went up 6-3.
Lars Nootbaar and Nolan Arenado each popped out on the infield to end the inning.
Another easy 1-2-3 inning for Mikolas, working through the heart of the Astros’ order. Bregman and Tucker each flew out to center, and Abreu struck out swinging at a 96 mph fastball up and in.
Right-hander Shawn Dubin replaced Javier in the fifth, and set down the Cardinals with ease. Contreras struck out, Gorman grounded out to first, and Burleson struck out.
*Nolan Arenado exited the game with lower back tightness before the sixth inning started*
Mikolas got Diaz to ground out and Pena to fly out to right field, and then he ran into some trouble. Madris doubled off the wall in center field, missing a homer by a few feet. Jake Meyers drew a walk, and Maldonado hit as the potential tying run.
For the second straight night, Maldonado came up with a huge hit, pounding a 100 mph double off the wall in center field, scoring Madis and Meyers to cut the Cardinals lead to 6-5. The light-hitting catcher has seen his OPS raise considerably in the last two days.
Oli Marmol went and pulled Mikolas after yet another poor outing, and called on Andre Pallante to hold things where they were. He did that, but not after issuing walks to both Altuve and Bregman to load the bases. He then fell behind Tucker 3-0 and was in danger of walking in the trying run, but battled back to strike him out and end the top of the sixth.
Carlson struck out and Edman grounded out for the first two outs, but then Donovan jumped on a 3-1 meatball and sent it into the seats in right-center field for what seemed like (at the time) and insurance homer to make it 7-5. Donny’s eighth homer of the year traveled 416 feet and jumped off the bat at 105 mph.
Goldschmidt followed Donovan with a base hit up the middle — his third hit of the day. Nootbaar struck out to end the frame.
Chris Stratton replaced Pallante in the seventh and pitched a scoreless frame on just nine pitches. Abreu grounded out to third base, Diaz flew out to right field, and Jeremy Pena struck out swinging.
St. Louis had a chance to add some more insurance in the seventh, but failed pretty miserably.
Right-hander Seth Martinez replaced Dubin in the seventh after two innings out of the pen. DeJong singled to right field in his first at-bat of the game after entering in Arenado’s place the prior inning. Contreras was hit in the hand with a 3-2 fastball, putting the first two on with nobody out.
But Nolan Gorman struck out, failing to adavance either runner. Burleson popped out to Abreu in foul territory, and DeJong sneakily tagged to third base (but no runner scored, obviously). With Carlson batting, Contreras tried to do the “get caught in a rundown long enough to let the run score” play, but the pickoff between first and second quickly turned to home plate, and DeJong was gunned down trying to score. A complete breakdown by the Cardinals with the bat and running the bases.
Giovanny Gallegos entered the game in the eighth inning, and promptly blew the entire game wide open. Madris led off with a base hit to right, and Gallegos got ahead of Meyers 0-2 before throwing four straight balls and walking the eight-hitter with a career .236 average. Maldonado bunted both runners into scoring position with one out.
Altuve fell behind 1-2, fouled off a fastball a foot above the zone, and then pulled his hands in and yanked a fastball from Gallegos deep into left field, landing in the Astros’ bullpen for a go-ahead three-run homer.
Altuve’s sixth homer of the season made it 8-7 Astros, and they weren’t done yet. Tucker blistered a 2-2 fastball from Gallegos so hard into the right-center field gap that it bounced into the bullpen for a ground-rule double, and two batters later (after Bregman popped out) Abreu drove them both home with an opposite field two-run homer to make it 10-7. It was just Abreu’s sixth homer of the year, but it traveled 416 feet.
Finally Marmol took mercy on him and pulled Gallegos, after allowing five runs on four hits and a walk. He brought in Drew VerHagen, who struck out Diaz.
Bryan Abreu came in to the pitch the eighth and retired the Cardinals in order — Carlson and Edman both struck out, and Donovan grounded out.
VerHagen put three men on base in the ninth without putting the ball in play, but did not give up a run. He worked around walks to Meyers and Altuve, plus hitting Chas McCormick with a pitch, to get out of the ninth with the deficit still at 10-7.
Ryan Pressley closed the game without issue, getting Goldschmidt to ground out before striking out both Nootbaar and DeJong to end the game.
FINAL: Astros 10, Cardinals 7
The Cardinals (33-46) still have a chance to win the series against the Astros (43-37), their former NL Central division foes, with a win tomorrow night at Busch. Adam Wainwright (3-2, 6.56 ERA) will look to finally get on track in the series finale. 28-year old rookie J.P. France (2-3, 3.54 ERA) will throw for Houston. France has recorded a quality start in each of his last four appearances. First pitch is set for 6:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 7, Padres 1
Reds 11, Orioles 7
MLB Pickle #476 - 5/9