Rumors swirled Friday afternoon that the Cardinals may not pitch Jordan Montgomery against the Cubs, because well...... there wasn’t a ton of reason to. With the left-hander almost certainly being dealt here in the next few days before the trade deadline, risking injury or hurting his trade value on the off-chance of a blow up seemed like an unneccesary risk.
Matthew Liberatore was called up this afternoon which added more fuel to the fire, but Montgomery did, in fact make the start this evening against the Cubbies.
Here are the lineups for the Cubs and Cardinals tonight at Busch:
- Nico Hoener, 2B
- Seiya Suzuki, RF
- Ian Happ, LF
- Cody Bellinger, CF
- Dansby Swanson, SS
- Yan Gomes, DH
- Trey Mancini, 1B
- Patrick Wisdom, 3B
- Miguel Amaya, C
Hayden Wesnecki, SP
And the Cardinals:
- Lars Nootbaar, CF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Nolan Gorman, 2B
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, DH
- Tyler O’Neill, LF
- Jordan Walker, RF
- Andrew Knizner, C
- Paul DeJong, SS
Jordan Montgomery - SP
The Simpson’s Meme of “Worst loss of the season so far” seems to re-surface every single week. Montgomery wasn’t great, but he pitched well enough to win the game. The real issue is that St. Louis needed to score more than two runs off of Hayden Wesnecki and Drew Smyly.
Still, Alec Burleson squared up a fastball in the bottom of the ninth when the Cardinals were down to their last breath. Mike Tauchman got up, got his glove over the wall, and decided that — once again — Alec Burleson was not going to be a hero against the Cubs.
Montgomery ran into some two-out trouble, but otherwise avoided damage in the first. After Hoerner and Suzuki both flew out, Happ worked a two-out walk and Bellinger singled to left, mvoing Happ into scoring position. Montgomery struck out Swanson on three pitches to get out of it.
Lars Nootbaar led off the game in the bottom of the first with a Nootbomb the opposite way to left, just over the bullpen for his fourth leadoff homer of the year. His 405-foot homer put St. Louis up 1-0 right away.
Wesnecki retired the next three in a row after the homer, striking out Goldschmidt and Gorman before Arenado flew out to left.
Yan Gomes led off the top of the second and knocked a base hit to right field. Mancini flew out to left for the first out of the inning, and Wisdom grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Contreras — back after getting bonked in the head last night on Happ’s backswing — drew a six-pitch walk to start the bottom of the second. O’Neill and Walker both struck out, and Knizner reached on an infield single to short, deflected to him by Wesnecki on the mound. That moved Contreras into scoring position, but nothing came of it as DeJong grounded into a fielder’s choice at second to end the inning — St. Louis still led 1-0.
Amaya struck out swinging at a full count changeup, Hoerner hit a deep drive to left that O’Neill was able to snag after a sprint and a leap at the wall, and Suzuki grounded out to Gorman at second.
Drew Smyly took over in the third inning for Wesnecki, but Nootbaar did the same thing to Chicago’s left-hander as he did to the righty — homered. This time he pulled a high fastball (sinker?) 449 feet into deep right field for his tenth bomb of the season, clearing the first section of seats, the aisleway, and landing in the second section behind the bullpen. Noot’s second homer made it 2-0 St. Louis.
Smyly struck out Goldschmidt and Gorman, and Arenado popped out on the infield to end the third inning.
Happ led off in the top of the fourth and was called out on strikes, looking at a fastball in and at the knees. Bellinger worked an eight-pitch walk with one out, by Swanson grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play, started by Gorman.
An easy 1-2-3 inning for Smyly — Contreras struck out, O’Neill flew out to center, and Walker grounded out to third base.
Montgomery started the fifth by getting two quick outs — a three-pitch flyout from Gomes and a two-pitch groundout from Mancini. But then the Cubs broke through with the long ball, as Patrick Wisdom took Montgomery’s 2-2 sinker that didn’t sink 409 feet into left-center field for his 18th home run of the season. It cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1 in the fourth.
After the homer, Amaya flew out to shallow center for the third out.
Knizner and DeJong both struck out, and Nootbaar grounded out to second. 14-pitch inning for Smyly.
Chicago really made Montgomery work in the sixth inning, scoring two runs and eventually running him from what was likely his final game as a Cardinal. Hoerner led off the inning and flew out to center, but Suzuki doubled to left field with one out as the potential tying run. Happ worked a six-pitch walk, and Montgomery hit Bellinger with a first-pitch fastball to load the bases with one out.
Swanson stepped in with three ducks on the pond and hit a fly ball down the right field line, but fairly deep. Walker got under it and put everything he had into the throw home, but it wasn’t in time, and Suzuki scored to tie the game, 2-2. Walker’s throw went all the way through, and the other runners tagged up as well.
Montgomery walked Yan Gomes on seven pitches to load the bases once again, which prompted a visit from pitching coach Dusty Blake. After the mound visit, Montgomery threw three straight balls to Trey Mancini, before getting it back to 3-1 and then yielding a go-ahead RBI base hit to left field to the former Baltimore star. One run scored on the play to make it 3-2 Chicago, but Tyler O’Neill’s laser throw home was as perfect as could be, and got there in plenty of time to nail Bellinger at the plate and keep it a one-run deficit.
Goldschmidt led off the bottom of the sixth against Smyly and grounded out to short. Gorman followed and hit a towering fly ball down into the corner that probably should’ve been caught by Happ, but he lost track of it and the ball fell and then bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double — a gift!
The Cardinals were unable to take advantage of this gift from Happ, however, as Arenado struck out and Contreras grounded out to short. Gorman stole third during Willson’s at-bat, but it didn’t matter.
Giovanny Gallegos took over on the mound after six innings from Montgomery. Miles Mastrobuoni, who hit his first career homer off of Jack Flaherty last weekend, led off the inning pinch-hitting for Wisdom and flew out to center. Gallegos struck out Amaya on three pitches, but Hoerner kept things going with a two-out single to left. Suzuki grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base for the third out.
Smyly returned for his fifth inning of relief work and got O’Neill to fly out lazily to center field. But he walked Walker on four pitches, prompting David Ross to come take the ball from Smyly, who threw 61 pitches out of the bullpen.
Hard-throwing right-hander Julian Merryweather took over. He struck out Knizner for the second out, but DeJong poked a base hit to left field to once again put the tying run in scoring position (Walker). With two outs, Nootbaar grounded out to second to end the inning.
Andre Pallante jogged in from the bullpen in the eighth inning and gave up a leadoff double to Happ. Bellinger grounded out to first base, moving Happ to third with just one out. Pallante struck out Swanson looking at a 98 mph fastball at the knees for the second out, and that was it for Pallante. Joe McEwing went and took the ball and brought in Chris Stratton, who got Gomes to fly out to end the top of the eighth.
Merryweather came back out for the bottom of the eighth to deal with the meat of the Cardinals’ order, and did so without an issue. Goldschmidt and Gorman both flew out, and David Ross went and took the ball from him and gave it to Adbert Alzolay, who had 11 saves this season before tonight’s appearance. Alzolay struck out Arenado with a 3-2 sinker at the knees to end the inning.
Mike Tauchman — we’ll talk about him later — pinch-hit for Mancini to start the ninth and rapped a single to center field off Stratton. Mastrobuoni walked on four pitches, putting two on with nobody out in one-run ballgame.
Miguel Amaya tried to move both runners over with a sac bunt, but his bunt was too strong and went back towards Stratton. The Cardinals’ pitcher (for now) turned and threw to third for the first out, and Arenado quickly fired over to first to also get Amaya for the rarely executed 1-5-3 double play. Nico Hoerner popped out on the infield to end the top of the ninth.
Alzolay came back out for the ninth, and the Cardinals put him on his heels with back-to-back base hits from Contreras and O’Neill. Concidentally, Tauchman also took over in center as a defensive replacement after he pinch-hit a few minutes prior.
Donovan pinch-hit for Jordan Walker, and on the seventh pitch of the at bat he ripped a 104 mph ground ball to right side. It turned into a 4-6-3 double play, and turned a great situation for the Cardinals into a dire one.
Alec Burleson pinch-hit for Knizner next, and hammered a 1-2 fastball high and deep to straightaway center field. As the ball cleared the center field wall, so too did Mike Tauchman, who lept up, reached back, and pulled Burleson’s two-run homer back into the field of play.
In play, (Outs).
FINAL: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2
Adam Wainwright (3-4, 7.31 ERA) continues the quest for 200 wins tomorrow against the Cubs at Busch. Opposing him will be Jameson Taillon (4-6, 5.75 ERA) who has also had a rough season, but looked very good against the Cardinals (46-59) last weekend in a 7-2 Cubs (52-51) win. First pitch tomorrow is set for 6:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Phillies 2, Pirates 1
Braves 10, Brewers 7
Reds 3, Dodgers 2 - TOP 6