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Nootbaar, Goldschmidt, Arenado combine to reach base 10 times in Cardinals’ 6-2 win over Oakland

Also, Andrew Knizner’s OPS is slowly and sneakily approaching .800.

Oakland Athletics v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

The Cardinals ~walked~ to a 7-5 win Monday night against the A’s, and jumped out to an early lead once again Tuesday night thanks to Lars Nootbaar, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado at the top of the order. But as we’ve seen, it sometimes takes more than a few runs to win on Dakota Hudson bumpday.

Here are the starting lineups for the A’s and Cardinals in game two of this fun little interleague series:


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

Spenser Watkins - SP

And the Cardinals:

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

Dakota Hudson - SP

I know it’s the A’s, but the Cardinals bats have shown up in back-to-back games, potentially setting them up for a sweep tomorrow night. Matthew Liberatore will have a chance to back up his gem against the Rays (the fourth-best offense in baseball) against a team on the opposite end of the spectrum (the worst offense in baseball).

Oakland’s owner and management are actively trying to lose games, so the Cardinals don’t get too much credit for these wins, but it is nice to see St. Louis beat up a little bit on a team they absolutely should beat up.

1st Inning

Dakota Hudson got the first two outs on five pitches — a four-pitch flyout from Kemp and a first-pitch groundout by Gelof. All-Star DH Brent Rooker singled to right field with two outs, but Seth Brown swung at a first-pitch fastball from Hudson and grounded out to Goldschmidt for the third out.

30-year old right-hander Spenser Watkins made his first big league start since September of 2022 tonight, and the Cardinals were not kind to him in his return. He entered the game with a career ERA of 5.85, and St. Louis quickly pushed that closer to 6.00.

Nootbaar, leading off in Oli Marmol’s lineup against righties, led off the game with a base hit to left field. Paul Goldschmidt got ahead 2-0, fouled off a few pitches, and then hammered a 2-2 cutter into right-center field that rolled all the way to the warning track, allowing Nootbaar to score and put the Cardinals up 1-0 just a few minutes into the game.

Nolan Arenado hit next and quickly fell behind 0-2 to Watkins, took a ball low, fouled off two more pitches, and then crushed a 1-2 hanging curveball 395 feet into the left-field seats for a two-run homer. Arenado’s 25th home run of the season put the Cardinals up 3-0, with nobody out.

Alec Burleson struck out and Tyler O’Neill flew out to left field for the first two Cardinal outs of the game. Jordan Walker also found himself in a two-strike count against Watkins, but was looking for the breaking ball and got it, crushing the 2-2 bender into the A’s bullpen for his 11th hoer of the season. Walker’s solo shot traveled 405 feet and put St. Louis up 4-0.

With two outs, Andrew Knizner worked an eight-pitch at bat and hit a 385-foot fly ball to center field, but Butler made the catch on the warning track to end the first inning.

2nd Inning

It was a 1-2-3 inning for Hudson on seven pitches. He struck out Diaz, and then got weak groundouts from Soderstrom and Butler.

Taylor Motter led off in the bottom of the second and poked a foul ball just a few feet to the right of the foul pole in right field, missing a homer by a few feet. He then grounded out to third. Watkins struck out Edman for out number two, but Nootbaar put Watkins on his heels once again with a hustle double into the right-center field gap. Butler’s throw beat Noot to second, but Nick Allen was unable to hold onto the ball when he turned to drop the tag, allowing him to reach with his 18th double of the season. Goldschmidt struck out on a foul tip to end the second inning.

3rd Inning

Hudson walked the A’s number eight hitter in Nick Allen and then hit the number nine hitter, Ruiz, with a 1-0 sinker that was up near his elbow. That put two runners on with no outs for the new dad Tony Kemp, who flew out to deep right field. Allen tagged and went to third base, with Ruiz staying at first. With Gelof at bat, Ruiz stole second base — his league-leading 47th — to get into scoring position as well. Hudson struck out Gelof and Rooker, each with sliders in the dirt, to end the inning and strand both runners.

Arenado led off the bottom of the third and flew out to right field on the ninth pitch he saw. Burleson grounded out to second, and O’Neill struck out looking on three pitches to end the third.

4th Inning

Another quick inning for Hudson, this time on 11 pitches. Brown grounded out back to Hudson, and then Diaz hit a soft ground ball towards’s no-man’s land between third base and the mound. Arenado charged in, grabbed the soft hopper with his bare hand, and threw out Diaz at first by half a step. Soderstrom flew out to center field for the third out.

Watkins walked Walker on four pitches to start the bottom of the fourth. Knizner followed and worked another long at-bat, capping it off by yanking the eighth pitch he saw down the third base line all the way into the corner. It rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Walker to score all the way from first base and make it 5-0 Cardinals.

Taylor Motter flew out to right field for the first out in the bottom of the fifth, with Knizner tagging up and moving to third base. With one out, Tommy Edman hit a high fly ball into shallow left field, tailing towards the foul line. Tony Kemp sprinted towards the line, dove and made the catch. For some reason, Knizner was about 10 feet off the bag instead of standing on the bag waiting to tag up, and Kemp was able to pop up, throw back to third base, and double him off the base to end the inning.

Not that it had much bearing on the outcome of this game, but it was a head scratcher why Knizner wasn’t waiting on third base to tag up with one out and the ball quickly tailing towards the foul line — if it dropped fair, he likely would’ve scored even if he was waiting on third base. If it’s caught, he’d be prepared to tag up. Regardless, the Cardinals led this game 5-0 after four innings.

5th Inning

Hudson continued to pound the bottom of the zone and get ground balls in the fifth. It was an 11-pitch fifth for him, getting groundouts from Butler, Allen, and Ruiz.

Nootbaar grounded out to start the bottom of the fifth, but a one-out walk to Goldschmidt and a base hit to left by Arenado put two on with one out. With Watkins sitting at 90 pitches, Mark Kotsay went to the bullpen.

Right-hander Austin Pruitt came into the game and got Burleson to fly out to right field, with Goldschmidt tagging up and moving to third base. O’Neill grounded into a force out, with Diaz throwing over to second, to end the inning.

Watkins final line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB’s, 4 K’s (90 pitches)

6th Inning

After getting Kemp and Gelof to each fly out, Hudson gave up a two-out single to Rooker — which was both his and the A’s second hit of the day. Seth Brown got a fat, center-cut fastball in a 1-0 count, but grounded out to second base for the third out.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs against right-hander Tayler Scott (the A’s third pitcher of the night), but were unable to add to their 5-0 lead. After Jordan Walker grounded out to start the inning, Knizner went the other way with a base hit to right — his second hit of the game. Motter swung at the first pitch he saw and popped a ground-rule double to right-center field, putting two men in scoring position with just one out.

Edman hit a ground ball to short, and Nick Allen came home with the throw and nailed Knizner at the plate for the second out of the inning. Lars Nootbaar drew a walk to load the bases, and Paul Goldschmidt got ahead 3-0 in the count against Scott. It was beginning to look like what had happened last night with the A’s bullpen was going to happen again, but Scott battled back and struck out Goldschmidt looking to strand the bases loaded.

7th Inning

Oakland finally got through and started squaring some balls up against Hudson in the seventh. Hudson got Diaz to ground out to start the inning, but followed that by giving up a 108 mph single to Soderstrom and a 437-foot, two-run homer to rookie outfielder Lawrence Butler. It was the first home run of Butler’s career, jumped off the bat at 111 mph, and got the A’s back into the game, 5-2.

Nick Allen popped out to second base for the second out of the inning, but Hudson hung an 0-2 slider to Ruiz that he drove down into the left field corner. The ball hopped over the wall near the foul pole for a ground-rule double, and that was all she wrote for Hudson.

Oli Marmol took a walk out to the mound and took the ball from the right-hander, and brought in Drew VerHagen. VerHagen got Tony Kemp to fly out to shallow left field for the third out, stranding that run at second.

Right-hander Zach Neal came in to pitch for the second game in a row, and Arenado greeted him with a line drive base knock into left-center field. Burleson hit a 107 mph line drive directly at Allen, who tried to double Arenado off first as well but didn’t get him. O’Neill singled up the middle past a diving Allen with one out, with Arenado holding at second.

Neal struck out Walker on three pitches, but walked Knizner to load the bases with two outs. Motter hit a soft ground ball the shortstop, and the throw beat him to first base to end the inning. Through seven innings, the Cardinals were 1-10 with runners in scoring position.

Hudson’s final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K’s (101 pitches)

8th Inning

VerHagen hit Nick Allen with a 2-2 changeup to start the inning, putting the leadoff man on base. Rooker flew out to right field for the first out, and Marmol went out to get a lefty to face Seth Brown, who has an .813 OPS against right-handers.

Marmol brought in left-hander John King, so Kotsay countered by pinch-hitting Carlos Perez, a right-handed hitting catcher. Perez singled to left field, moving Allen into scoring position as well. But Jordan Diaz stepped in as the potential tying run and reached for an 0-1 changeup, and grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Neal came back out for the eighth inning and gave up a leadoff homer to Tommy Edman on the first pitch of the inning. Edman’s 11th homer of the season — and fourth in his last five games — flew 424 feet, over the Cardinals bullpen. Tommy is now two homers shy of tying his career-high, which is 13.

Nootbaar flew out for the first out of the inning, but a Goldschmidt double down the right field line and Arenado’s fourth hit of the game put runners at first and third with one out for Alec Burleson. As he’s prone to do, Burleson hit a ground ball to first base. Perez, who entered the game at first base in place of Brown, threw the ball home and got Goldschmidt into a rundown between home and third.

Goldschmidt stayed in the rundown long enough for Arenado to get to third base and Burleson to advance to second, which meant O’Neill had a chance to hit with two runners in scoring position instead of just one — a smart move by Goldschmidt after Burleson couldn’t come through with RISP. O’Neill made it 2-13 with RISP for the Cardinals, striking out swinging at a changeup.

9th Inning

JoJo Romero took the mound in the ninth for the second straight night and closed out the game one night after getting a (controversially scored) win. He struck out two in a clean ninth, but with a four-run lead it was not a save situation.

FINAL: Cardinals 6, A’s 2

Up Next

The Cardinals (54-66) go for a sweep of the ‘Swingin A’s (33-87) tomorrow night at Busch. With a win, it would be the Cardinals’ first sweep since their three-game sweep of the Marlins from July 17-19. Matthew Liberatore (2-4, 5.72 ERA) will look to follow up the best start of his young career after throwing eight shutout frames against the Rays last week. Paul Blackburn (2-3, 4.52 ERA) will throw for the A’s. First pitch is set for 5:45 p.m.

Around the Central

Guardians 3, Reds 0

Pirates 7, Mets 4

White Sox 4, Cubs 3 - TOP 9

Brewers 1, Dodgers 0 - BOT 2

Today’s Immaculate Grid

Immaculate Grid #135 - 7/9
Rarity - 446