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Better birds: Cardinals shut out Orioles, win third consecutive series

It’s time to build the Richie Palacios statue.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

While this entire season is still a wash, the Cardinals have been playing a bit better of late, winning five of their last eight games. While 5-3 won’t blow anyone away, those games were against twoplayoff teams in the Braves and Orioles, as well as the Reds, who are within striking distance. A win Wednesday night would mean three consecutive series wins against playoff-caliber teams.

Here are the lineups for the Cardinals and Orioles in the rubbermatch:


  1. Lars Nootbaar, CF
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, DH
  3. Alec Burleson 1B
  4. Tyler O’Neill, LF
  5. Richie Palacios, 2B
  6. Jordan Walker, RF
  7. Andrew Knizner, C
  8. Jose Fermin, 3B
  9. Masyn Winn, SS

Drew Rom - SP

And the Orioles:

  1. Adley Rutschman, DH
  2. Ryan Mountcastle, 1B
  3. Anthony Santander, RF
  4. Austin Hays, LF
  5. Jordan Westburg, 2B
  6. Gunnar Henderson, 3B
  7. Aaron Hicks, CF
  8. James McCann, C
  9. Jorge Mateo, SS

Kyle Gibson - SP

A much briefer recap tonight since the teams combined for just one run on seven hits, but what stood out to me was the St. Louis bullpen. 7+ innings of scoreless baseball over the past two games from a bullpen that, let’s be honest, will look a lot different come April. Yesterday, the pen inherited a one-run lead from Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals won. Today, they inherited a one-run lead and that score held for the final four innings. Good stuff!

Plus, they beat the best team in the American League without Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras, or Nolan Gorman in the lineup.

1st Inning

After Lars Nootbaar grounded out to start the game, Paul Goldschmidt drew a six-pitch walk. Burleson, hitting third on Wednesday night, grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Adley Rutschman flew out to center leading off for the Orioles, and then Rom issued a walk to Mountcastle. Santander struck out looking for the second out, and Hays flew out to deep center field to end the inning.

2nd Inning

O’Neill grounded out to third on a slow chopper, with Henderson making a strong throw to just barely beat him at first.

Palacios grounded out to second for the second out. Walker worked a full count and then walked — Gibson’s second walk over the first two innings. Andrew Knizner struck out looking to end the top of the second.

Westburg and Henderson both popped out on the infield. Hicks drew a two-out walk, and McCann struck out swinging at a high fastball to keep this game scoreless heading into the third.

3rd Inning

Jose Fermin led off the third inning and reached with an infield hit towards second base — the fifth hit of his big league career. Winn moved him to second with a sac bunt, and Lars Nootbaar missed a two-run homer by nine feet, with Hicks making the catch on the warning track in center. Goldschmidt grounded out to second to end the top of the third.

Rom walked Jorge Mateo to start the inning, but then struck out Rutschman, Ramon Urias (who entered the game in place of an injured Mountcastle), and Santander to get out of the inning. Mateo stole his 29th bag of the season while Rutschman was hitting, but that doesn’t matter if you can’t put the ball in play.

4th Inning

As he does so often, Alec Burleson recorded the first out of the fourth with a groundout. O’Neill flew out to center for the second out, and then Richie Palacios — who played college ball at nearby Towson University — popped his third homer in the last 24 hours. He took a first-pitch fastball from Gibson deep to right field, 395 feet and right out of Camden Yards.

Jordan Walker drew a walk for the second straight at-bat, and Knizner flew out to right field for the third out.

Drew Rom had his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the fourth. Hays grounded out, Westburg was called out on strikes, and Henderson flew out to left.

5th Inning

Jose Fermin grounded out to short, Winn grounded out to third, and Nootbaar was called out on strikes on a pitch that looked to be just a bit inside.

Rom carried his no-hitter into the fifth inning, and got Hicks and McCann to both ground out to start the frame. Mateo hit a ground ball up the middle with two outs that Palacios was able to get to with the backhand, but the throw from his knees wasn’t enough to get the speedy Mateo at first. Mateo’s single was the first Baltimore hit of the night against Rom. Adley Rutschman flew out to right to wrap up the fifth inning with the Cardinals still up, 1-0.

6th Inning

Gibson struck out Goldschmidt and O’Neill, with an Alec Burleson lineout to short (104 mph) mixed in there as well.

Rom struck out Urias to start the bottom of the sixth, setting a career-high with seven strikeouts. With one out, Santander ripped a 110 mph line drive double to the left field wall, putting the potential tying run in scoring position.

With his pitch count at 93, Oli Marmol went out and got Rom. He called on right-hander Casey Lawrence, who walked Hays to put the go-ahead run on base as well. However, he got Westburg to fly out to left and Henderson to fly out to center to end the inning.

7th Inning

Gibson came back out for the seventh and got Palacios on a groundout and Walker on a flyout. Andrew Knizner poked a two-out double down the right field line, which was the end of the road for Gibson. Brandon Hyde went out and pulled him in favor of right-handed reliever Jacob Webb, who struck out Jose Fermin to strand the runner and keep this game at 1-0.

Giovanny Gallegos entered the game in the bottom of the seventh to face the 7-8-9 hitters for Baltimore. He retired them in order, getting Hicks to fly out and then striking out McCann and O’Hearn back-to-back.

8th Inning

Webb retired Nootbaar and Winn to start the inning (both with groundouts) and then walked Goldschmidt on five pitches. Baltimore went back to the ‘pen once again, bringing in left-hander DL Hall to face Burleson. Burleson beat Hall with a run-scoring base hit in game one when the Orioles brought in the lefty in to face him, and by God, he did it again tonight. Burleson slapped a base hit to left field, moving Goldschmidt to second with two outs. O’Neill struck out swinging to end the top of the eighth.

Lefty John King, aquired from the Rangers at the trade deadline, had the eighth. Like Gallegos before him, King pitched a scoreless frame to protect the one-run lead. After Rutschman grounded out, King walked Urias. But Santander hit a grounder to third, which turned into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

9th Inning

Mount Fuji took over in the top of the ninth, with his Orioles trailing by a run. Palacios flew out to center, Walker grounded out to short, and Knizner struck out swinging.

Ryan Helsley jogged in from the bullpen looking to secure the Cardinals’ third consecuive series win. He was tasked with dealing with Baltimore’s 4-5-6 hitters.

Helsley punched out Hays and a pinch-hitting Mullins, but Gunnar Henderson jumped on a center-cut, 102 mph fastball and ripped a frozen rope off the left field wall for a two-out triple. Henderson continued to torment St. Louis this series, with his triple jumping off the bat at 107 mph.

Helsley got Aaron Hicks to pop out to shallow left field, wrapping up a successful road trip for the birds.

FINAL: Cardinals 1, Orioles 0

Up Next

St. Louis (65-81) has an off day Thursday before heading back home to take on the Phillies (79-67) on Friday night. Zack Thompson (5-5, 4.06 ERA) will be opposed by Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.64 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.

Around the Central

Rockies 7, Cubs 3

Pirates 7, Nationals 6

Reds 4, Tigers 3 - BOT 8

Marlins 1, Brewers - TOP 7

Today’s Immaculate Grid

Immaculate Grid #164 - 7/9
Rarity - 348