Johnny G does it all in 5-0 shutout victory, Cardinals win 10th-straight series
Tonight’s matchup was a matchup between two starting pitchers that have had almost identical seasons. John Gant would take on Joe Musgrove, and Johnny G made sure to out duel Musgrove to push the Cardinals to their 10th-straight series win, the first such streak since 2009.
Tonight was a night of missed opportunities for the Pirates, as Gant worked around a bases loaded jam in the top of the 1st. Marte opened the game striking out on Gant’s best pitch, the vulcan changeup. But a couple of walks would put Gant in hot water, the one hump he needs to overcome to become a reliable starter every fifth day. Frazier walked, Polanco popped out to DeJong on a changeup, Cervelli singled to LF, and Bell walked to load ‘em up. Gant ended the inning on pitch number 30, firing a two-seam fastball by Moran. Gant turned the long 1st around into a quick 2nd, retiring the Bucs in order on 11 pitches.
Musgrove was locked in thru the first 2.1 innings of his night, setting down the first 7 Cardinals he faced. Retiring the side in order the 1st and 2nd inning on 18 pitches, all strikes, adding two strikeouts.
Johnny G worked around back-to-back singles from Marte and Frazier to start the 3rd inning, getting the next three in order. Polanco would fly out to Prince, and Gant would strikeout Cervelli and Bell on gas to end the inning, bringing his total to 4.
Musgrove would slip up in the bottom of the 3rd. After getting Garcia to ground out to him, Musgrove would serve up back-to-back taters to Tots (see what I did there?) and Johnny freakin’ G-enius. Yeah, that’s definitely not a typo, it actually happened. Déja Vù? Maybe.
Gant was in a groove the rest of the way until he was relieved for Hudson in the 6th with 2 away, retiring 12 of the last 14 he faced. Gant fired perfect innings in the 4th and 5th, striking out Mercer and Newman on heaters to end the inning.
The Cards would push across 3 runs over those 2 innings for Gant, cushioning the lead at 5 runs. Cafecíto, Big City, and Prince O’Neill started the 4th off with three consecutive singles to bring in Pauly Deez. Pauly would drive in Cafecíto on a 5-4 fielder’s choice. Musgrove ended the inning with back-to-back k’s, getting Garcia and Harry on good changeups.
Carp, leadoff guy, drew a one-out walk to open the bottom of the 5th on Musgrove. Yadi then ripped a double to LF to put runners in scoring position for Cafecíto, the prime guy in a run scoring situation. Cafecíto made the most of it, chopping a sinker over Moran’s head into LF to bring in both runners, getting thrown out at 2B trying to extend the single to a double.
Gant worked two quick outs to open the 6th, getting two fly outs on Polanco and Cervelli. Prince O’Neill did his famous leap at the warning track on the Polanco fly out, pure art. Gant then walked Bell and Moran would reach on a fielding error from Greg Garcia to end Gant’s night after 5.2 innings. Dakota Hudson would end the threat, getting Mercer to ground out to the newly entered 3B from the double-switch, Muñoz. Muñoz, replacing Carp (probably still sick), made an INSANE diving stop and then fired it over to Adams to get Mercer. Muñoz has showed us why 3B is his best position on the field the past couple of nights.
The Pirates would shut down the Cards bats the final 3 innings, retiring the last 9 they faced. Musgrove, Kingham, and Rodríguez all contributed with an inning.
Hudson went back to the mound to begin the 7th, striking out Newman and Harrison (pinch-hitting) to get things started. But then Hudson found himself in a bind, walking Frazier and then Polanco, forcing Shildt to turn to Tsunami. This is the perfect situation for Tsunami moving down the stretch if you ask me, tight jams in late innings. Tsunami got Cervelli to fly out to Bader after a 6-pitch battle.
Shreve opened the 8th inning, giving up a double to Bell from the right-side upon entering. Shreve added a huge first out, getting Moran to strikeout on a fastball. Shreve would stay in to face the right-handed Mercer, walking him to put runners on 1st and 2nd. Shildt would make another move, going with the flame-throwing, Jordan Hicks. This wasn’t a new situation for the 21 year-old either. And wow, was Hicks phenomenal tonight. Hicks came in FIRING, striking out Newman (looking) and Dickerson on beautiful sinkers. Dickerson had no chance as Hicks threw him a slider in on the hands for strike two before busting him low and outside with a 101 mph sinker to end the inning. Incredible.
Luke Weaver, who after tonight’s game was announced as Sunday afternoons starter, worked a 13-pitch 9th inning. Marte would reach base with an infield single to start things off. Weaver then got Frazier to fly out to Prince before ending the game on an exciting 1-6-3 double-play ball, getting Polanco to end the game for a 5-0 shutout victory.
With the win, the Cardinals (75-59) have won 10-straight series, holding the first WC spot by 0.5 games over the Brewers. The Reds (57-77) come to town tomorrow night for a three-game weekend set.
Big G, Austin Gomber (4-0, 2.79) gets the action started, as he is matched up against Christian Bale (1-12, 6.17). First pitch from Busch Stadium 7:15 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 134 is in the books