After a flurry of promised deadline deals Tuesday afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals took the field on Tuesday night down a few men against a Twins squad that has every opportunity to win a mediocre AL Central division this season. Miles Mikolas started in place of Jack Flaherty, who was projected to start this game but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for second baseman Cesar Prieto, left-handed pitcher Drew Rom, and right-handed pitcher Zack Showalter.
Here are the lineups for the Twins and Cardinals:
- Carlos Correa, SS
- Edouard Julien, 2B
- Max Kepler, RF
- Byron Buxton, DH
- Jorge Polanco, 3B
- Matt Wallner, LF
- Ryan Jeffers, C
- Joey Gallo, 1B
- Michael A. Taylor, CF
Pablo Lopez - SP
- Lars Nootbaar, RF
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, C
- Tyler O’Neill, LF
- Jordan Walker, DH
- Tommy Edman, SS
- Taylor Motter, 2B
- Dylan Carlson, CF
Miles Mikolas - SP
St. Louis was unable to scrape together any offense against Pablo Lopez, and the Twins’ late inning combo of Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran bent, but did not break. O’Neill hit his first home run since April 12, and Taylor Motter had his first multi-hit game of the season.
Mikolas worked around a two-out base hit in the first inning to put up a zero. Correa grounded out, and Julien struck out swinging at a 96 mph fastball. Kepler singled to left with two outs, and Buxton grounded out to third base for the third out.
Lopez worked a quick, painless bottom of the first for the Twins. Nootbaar and Arenado groundouts were sandwiched around a five-pitch strikeout by Paul Goldschmidt.
The Twins got another two-out baserunner in the second, but did not score. Mikolas struck out Polanco with a 1-2 curveball that dropped back into the zone, and then Matt Wallner flew out to left field. Ryan Jeffers drew a two-out walk, and Gallo watched strike three on the outside corner to end the top half of the inning.
St. Louis did not have any more success in the second inning than they did in the first. Contreras led off and hit a 105 mph ground ball to Polanco at third, who made the play and threw out the Cardinals’ catcher. O’Neill struck out swinging at a high fastball to end a seven-pitch at bat, and Jordan Walker popped out to shortstop to end the second inning, still scoreless.
Michael A. Taylor started the third inning by hitting a sharp ground ball down the third base line. Nolan Arenado was able to backhand it and throw to first base, and Taylor was called out. However, the Twins challanged the call and it was overturned to an infield hit for Taylor. Correa flew out to left field for the first out of the inning, and Julien grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Edman led off the bottom of the third and grounded out to Polanco at third base. Motter ripped a ground ball towards third base and it bounced off Polanco up into the air, eventually coming down closer to Correa at third base. Motter was awarded a base hit — the Cardinals first hit of the game.
Carlson hit next and hit a ground ball to first. Gallo fed the pass to Lopez, who stepped near the base and beat Carlson to it. However, Carlson was called safe, as first base umpire Jeff Nelson claimed that Lopez missed the base. The Twins challenged, and the call was overturned — video showed Lopez did, in fact, get the base. The Twins were 2-2 on replay challanges through the first three innings.
Motter moved up to second on the Carlson play, but Nootbaar grounded out to second to end the inning regardless.
A 1-2-3 inning for Miles Mikolas in the top of the fourth. Kepler flew out to center field, Buxton struck out looking at a 95 mph fastball on the inside edge, and Polanco flew out to left field.
The Cardinals were also retired in order — Goldschmidt grounded out to short, Arenado flew out to Kepler in foul territory (he made a really nice catch up against the netting), and Contreras struck out swinging.
The Twins finally scored in the fifth, opening the scoring after four shutout innings from Mikolas to start the game. Wallner led off and flew out to right field, but Jeffers pounded a 109 mph double off the left field wall to put a runner in scoring position. Gallo flew out to center field for the second out, with Jeffers tagging and going to third. Michael A. Taylor ten hit a routine ground ball to Tomm Edman at short, but Edman’s throw to first was wide right, and it pulled Goldschmidt off the bag.
Goldschmidt jumped up and caught the throw, but he was unable to bring his glove down and tag Taylor in time. It went as an E6, and the Twins led 1-0. Correa flew out to center field to end the top of the fifth.
O’Neill struck out for the second consecutive at-bat to start the bottom of the fifth. The next thing that happened was wild and confusing, but regardless of how it happened, it did not go the Cardinals way.
Jordan Walker hit a ground ball to Jorge Polanco, whose throw to first base way way to the left of Gallo, despite his best attempt at a dive. The ball went down the line towards the tarp, and Walker rounded first and went for second — and then third. However, Walker missed first base when he rounded it, and after a quick meeting of the umpires, Walker (who was standing on third base with one out at this point) was called out.
The Cardinals challenged the call, but it was upheld and Walker was still out. If you’re keeping track at home, that means the Cardinals were 0-3 in the results of challenges in today’s game.
Tommy Edman grounded out softly right back to Lopez to end the fifth.
Mikolas pitched a scoreless sixth inning on 12 pitches. Julien grounded out to short, and both Kepler and Buxton flew out to right field.
Motter led off the bottom of the sixth with a bloop single to right field — his first multi-hit game of the season. Carlson flew out to right field for the first out, and Nootbaar singled to left to move Motter into scoring position. Goldschmidt struck out hacking at a center-cut 94 mph fastball, but Arenado tied the game up right after with an RBI single to left field. Motter scored, but the Twins got Nootbaar trying to go first to third to end the inning. The game was tied 1-1 going into the seventh.
Mikolas returned for the seventh, and Polanco greeted him with a ground ball base hit right up the middle. Wallner followed him with a high pop fly down the left field line that O’Neill was unable to get to, and it took a high bounce into the left field seats for a ground-rule double.
Jeffers struck out swinging at a curveball in the dirt for the first out, and then the Twins pinch-hit Donovan Solano for Joey Gallo with two runners in scoring position. The decision paid off, as Solano poked a ground ball base hit up the middle of a drawn-in infield on the first pitch he saw to drive in both runs and make it 3-1 Twins.
Mikolas struck out Taylor and Correa back-to-back to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Right-hander Emilio Pagan took over in the seventh after six strong innings from Lopez. He struck out Contreras, got O’Neill to fly out to center, but then walked Jordan Walker after a nine-pitch battle. Edman flew out to center field to end the seventh.
Left-hander John King, recently acquired in the Jordan Montgomery trade, made his Cardinals debut in the eighth. He has a career ERA of 4.24, but pitched a scoreless inning his first time wearing the birds on the bat on his chest.
Kyle Farmer pinch-hit for Julien and grounded out to third base, and Kepler grounded out to first. Byron Buxton smoked a 117 mph double off the wall in left with two outs, but Polanco grounded out to end the top of the eighth.
28-year old right-hander Griffin Jax took over in the bottom of the eighth and the Cardinals put some pressure on him. Motter and Carlson each grounded out, but Nootbaar and Goldschmidt each reached with base hits with two outs. Arenado came up with a chance to take the lead, but his fly ball to deep left field landed in Willi Castro’s glove just shy of the warning track.
Drew VerHagen pitched a 1-2-3 scoreless top of the ninth. Castro grounded out, Jeffers struck out looking, and Solano flew out to left.
Dominican right-hander Jhoan Duran took over with a two-run lead in the ninth, hoping to close things out without incident. There was an incident, however. Just a small, Canadian one.
After Contreras grounded out to start the inning, O’Neill popped his third home run of the season just over the wall into the Cardinals’ bullpen, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
After the homer, Duran struck out Walker and Burleson to end the game.
FINAL: Twins 3, Cardinals 2
St. Louis (47-61) will look to even up this series against the Twins (55-53) tomorrow night at Busch. Joe Ryan (9-7, 4.06 ERA) will throw for Minnesota. The Cardinals had not announced a starter as of game time Tuesday. First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 4, Tigers 1
Brewers 6, Nationals 4
Cubs 20, Reds 9 - TOP 9
Today’s Immaculate Grid
Immaculate Grid #121 - 7/9
Rarity - 370