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Put the A in Walk: Cardinals take advantage of 10 free passes, beat A’s 7-5

Of all the Cardinals games I’ve watched this summer, this was definitely one of them.

MLB: AUG 14 Athletics at Cardinals Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are only four teams in all of baseball with a lower winning percentage than the 2023 St. Louis Cardinals, and the worst of them all — the Oakland A’s — are visiting Busch Stadium this week. The Cardinals hadn’t played the A’s since 2019, and even with that, they went 0-4 against them that season. St. Louis’ last win against the A’s came back in 2016, but with how horrendous the ‘Swingin A’s have been this season, this series is a golden opportunity to snag a few wins.

Plus, we get the rare treat of listening to Dallas Braden call a Cardinals game.

Here are the lineups for the A’s and Cardinals:


  1. Esteury Ruiz, LF
  2. Zack Gelof, 2B
  3. Seth Brown, LF
  4. Brent Rooker, DH
  5. Jordan Diaz, 3B
  6. Tyler Soderstrom, 1B
  7. Shea Langeliers, C
  8. Lawrence Butler, CF
  9. Nick Allen, SS

JP Sears - SP

And the Cardinals:

  1. Tommy Edman, SS
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  4. Willson Contreras, C
  5. Tyler O’Neill, LF
  6. Lars Nootbaar, CF
  7. Luken Baker, DH
  8. Jordan Walker, RF
  9. Taylor Motter, 2B

Miles Mikolas - SP

In a wild game that saw the A’s least powerful bat go yard off of Miles Mikolas, Willson Contreras get doubled off second base without ever looking back at the ball, and Paul Goldschmidt reach base five times, St. Louis was able to pull out a come-from-behind 7-5 win.

The Cardinals had eight hits, drew 10 walks, and struck out 11 times. Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill each walked thrice, while Luken Baker and Taylor Motter both punched out thrice. And on top of it all, Giovanny Gallegos was charged with a blown save on his birthday.

1st Inning

Mikolas struck out the speedy Ruiz on a curveball at the knees to start the game. Gelof grounded out to short, and Seth Brown flew out to left for the third out.

St. Louis loaded the bases against Sears in the first inning, but nothing came of it aside from running that pitch count up for the A’s lefty. Edman led off and flew out to left field. Paul Goldschmidt drew a one-out walk, followed by a swinging strikeout by Arenado. Sears then proceeded to walk Contreras and O’Neill to load the bases with two outs. With the bases loaded, Nootbaar hit a weak line drive to Soderstrom at first base to end the inning.

2nd Inning

Brent Rooker, a 2023 AL All-Star, led off the second inning with a line drive base hit to left. Jordan Diaz struck out swinging for the first out, and Soderstrom grounded into a 4-6-3 double play (started by Motter at second), to end the top of the second.

The recently recalled Luken Baker led off the bottom of the second and struck out swinging at a low slider. Walker hit a ground ball up the middle with one out and Nick Allen made an outstanding play diving for the ball and getting off a quick throw from his knees, but Walker beat it out for an infield hit. Taylor Motter struck out swinging for the second out.

With Edman batting for the second time, Walker took off for second on Sears’ first movement, but Sears had it sniffed out. The lefty threw behind Walker to first base, and Soderstrom immediately threw to second base, where the ball should’ve been waiting for Walker. However, both Gelof and Allen were at the bag and both tried to catch the throw, resulting in Walker sliding in to second base safely. He was called out at first, but Oli Marmol challenged the call and it was quickly overturned, as there was no tag made at any point.

Edman made the lackadaisical A’s pay for their goof at second base, looping a base hit to shallow right field, scoring Walker from second base to make it 1-0 St. Louis.

Paul Goldschmidt swung at the first pitch from Sears and ripped a two-out single to right, moving Edman into scoring position. With two outs, Arendo poked a little looper to right field that Gelof was able to snag, ending the second inning.

3rd Inning

Mikolas handed out a leadoff walk to Langeliers to start the third inning. Rookie outfielder Lawrence Butler flew out to center for the first out, and Nick Allen grounded into a force out at second base for the second out. With two outs, Ruiz fell behind 0-1, but on the second pitch Ruiz’s bat connected with Contreras’ glove on the swing. It was called interference on Contreras, and Ruiz was awarded first base. With two outs, Gelof flew out to right field, ending the threat.

The Cardinals put their leadoff man on for the first time in the third inning, as Contreras went opposite way to right field for a base hit. O’Neill followed and flew out to the wall in right field, with Contreras tagging and moving into scoring position. However, about two-thirds of the way to second, Contreras pulled up with what appeared to be a sore hamstring. After the trainers and Marmol talked to him, he remained in the game.

Nootbaar stung a line drive to center field with one out, and Contreras took off. Butler made the catch in center and tossed the ball back in to second base for the double play, and Contreras never even looked back at second — he was already rounding third base and headed home. Not sure if Contreras wasn’t sure of how many outs there were or if he was convinced it would drop, but regardless, it was a poor decision by the Cardinals’ catcher, and it’s not the first time this season Contreras has made that kind of blunder on the basepaths.

Contreras was removed from the game after the third with the leg injury, and was replaced by Andrew Knizner.

4th Inning

Mikolas got two quick outs (Brown grounded out and Rooker flew out), before walking Jordan Diaz. But Soderstrom flew out to center field for the third out to send it to the bottom of the fourth.

It was also a quick and easy inning for Sears, who struck out Baker for the second time, got Walker to fly out, and struck out Motter for the second time.

5th Inning

Langeliers flew out to center for the first out of the fifth and Butler grounded out to shortstop for the second out. Mikolas threw Nick Allen a 1-1 curveball that didn’t snap early enough, as the 74 mph bender hit him in the shoulder and he was awarded first base.

Esteury Ruiz — one of the least powerful bats in the game — shocked everyone by popping his second homer of the season to left field, just over the glove of Tyler O’Neill and into the A’s bullpen. The homer came on a 3-2 fastball that was middle/middle, and Ruiz wacked it 382 feet to give Oakland a 2-1 lead.

After the homer, Mikolas struck out Gelof with a slider to get his team back in the dugout.

Tommy Edman led off the fifth inning and hit a ground ball up the middle that Gelof was able to range up the middle and get to, but had no chance at throwing him out at second base. It went as an infield hit for Edman — his second hit of the game. Goldschmidt hit next, and worked himself into a 3-1 count before wacking his 19th homer of the season deep into left field, just to the left of the A’s bullpen but at least 3 rows of seats past it. His two-run homer was a big answer to Ruiz’s in the top half of the inning, and out the Cardinals back ahead, 3-2.

Arenado popped out to shallow right field for the first out and Knizner flew out to center for the second out. O’Neill worked a seven-pitch at bat and eventually drew his second walk of the game off of Sears and then stole second base as well to put himself in scoring position. It was his third game this season where he drew 2+ walks, as well as his third stolen base of the season. Sears struck out Nootbaar looking to end the fifth inning with the Cardinals up, 3-2.

Sears’ final line: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 4 BB’s, 6 K’s (97 pitches)

6th Inning

Seth Brown ripped a 113 mph (!!) line drive to right field to start the sixth, but Jordan Walker got to it and threw a one-hop seed back into second base to hold Brown at first with a single. Mikolas then walked Rooker on four pitches to put two on with no outs. Rookie infielder Jordan Diaz stepped in and gave Mikolas a gift, tapping his first pitch — a center cut, 91 mph sinker — right back to him. Mikolas spun around and went to second base, starting 1-4-3 double play. Soderstrom grounded out to Goldschmidt at first to end the inning, stranding the potential tying run over at third.

28-year old rookie right-hander Lucas Erceg took over in the sixth inning as the first A’s reliever of the game. Luken Baker faced him first, grounding out to third base. He walked Walker with one out. Taylor Motter put the ball in play for the first time with one out, popping out in foul territory. Tommy Edman grounded into a force out at second base to end the sixth.

7th Inning

The A’s got to Mikolas in the seventh, and kept right on ripping when Giovanny Gallegos took over to try and put out the fire.

Mikolas struck out Langeliers to start the inning, but then gave up back-to-back singles to the bottom of the A’s order, Butler and Allen (each of whom have an OPS under .550). Marmol went to the bullpen, bringing in Gallegos to quell the flames on his 32nd birthday.

Ruiz hit a line drive directly at Edman for the second out of the inning. With two outs, Gelof yanked a double down the third base line, scoring Butler to tie things up, 3-3. With that double, Gelof became the first player in Oakland A’s history to have 18 extra base hits in his first 26 games.

Seth Brown made things worse for the Cardinals went he popped Gallegos’ 2-0 fastball into left field for a two-run single, making it 5-3 A’s. After the A’s took the lead, Rooker popped out on the infield to send this game to the seventh inning stretch.

Right-hander Angel Felipe took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning and walked the leadoff man, Goldschmidt. Arenado continued to look completely befuddled this game, striking out looking for the first out of the inning (to go along with another strikeout and two pop outs earlier).

Felipe walked Knizner and O’Neill (the third time in his career he’s walked three times in a game) to load the bases with one out, and A’s manager Mark Kotsay had seen enough from him. He brought in left-hander Francisco Perez to face Nootbaar to get the lefty on lefty matchup. Perez threw Nootbaar four straight balls to start the at-bat, but home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso called the 3-0 fastball that should’ve forced in a run, strike one. Regardless, Perez’s next pitch missed low and inside, forcing in a run to make it 5-4.

Luken Baker struck out on three pitches to earn his second career hat trick, leaving the bases loaded with two outs and the Cardinals still down one run. Jordan Walker stepped in and went ahead 3-0 before taking ball four outside, but Moscoso once again refused to give the Cardinals a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded, calling it a strike and bringing Walker back to the plate in a 3-1 count.

On pitch number seven of the at-bat in a full count, Walker took Perez’s 93 mph fastball the opposite way into the right field gap, and it went just off of Brown’s glove for a bases-clearing triple. Walker’s first career triple scored three and put the Cardinals up, 7-5.

After the Walker triple, Motter struck out for the third time in the game to end the seventh inning. Motter has now struck out in 40.7% of his at-bats this season, and has an OPS of .428.

Mikolas’ final line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 3 BB’s, 4 K’s (99 pitches)

8th Inning

Right-hander Drew VerHagen entered the game in the eighth inning and got two outs — Jordan Diaz popped out and Tyler Soderstrom grounded out — before Langeliers reached with a two-out single to left. Marmol went to the bullpen with Lawrence Butler heading to the plate, calling on JoJo Romero. The A’s countered that move by pinch-hitting former Cardinal Aledmys Diaz, but Diaz grounded out right back to Romero on the first pitch he saw.

Right-hander Zach Neal was the fifth A’s pitcher of the night, taking the mound in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out Edman with a changeup that tumbled to the bottom of the zone. Paul Goldschmidt drew a one-out walk — his third walk of the game and his fifth time reaching base. Arenado flew out to left field for the second out of the inning, followed by a base hit to center for Knizner. O’Neill struck out swinging to send this game to the ninth.

9th Inning

Romero got the final out of the eighth inning and came back out for the ninth. He threw Nick Allen’s two-hopper into right field to put the leadoff man in scoring position to start the inning, but struck out Ruiz and Gelof for two outs. Brown was the A’s final chance and hit a hot shot to Edman at short, but Tommy dove and snagged the nasty hop, popped up and threw Brown out at first to end the game.

FINAL: Cardinals 7, A’s 5

Up Next

The Cardinals (53-66) go for the series win over the A’s (33-86) at Busch tomorrow night. Dakota Hudson (3-0, 4.31 ERA) will start for St. Louis. He’s earned wins in each of his last two starts, yielding six earned runs over 12 innings. The A’s have not yet named a starter for game two. First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m.

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Today’s Immaculate Grid

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