Ponce vs Mahle: Innings 1-5
Daniel Ponce de Leon would take the mound this afternoon, making his 3rd start of the 2020 season. Ponce hasn’t had the best of luck to start games out this year, running his pitch count up the first couple innings before settling in. This afternoon was more of the same.
Ponce would walk Castellanos after getting Votto to fly out to Carlson in RF to begin the game. Winker followed the Castellanos walk with a strikeout on a high 94mph heater for the second out. But Ponce would fall behind the cleanup hitter, Suárez and eventually cake one down the pipe to him and he wouldn’t miss it, amid his struggles. Suárez would put the Reds on the board with his 4th HR of the season, a two-run blast to deep LF to make it 2-0.
Mous would then draw a four pitch walk before Akiyama would fly out to O’Neill in LF to end the long 29 pitch 1st for Ponce.
The Cardinals would make Tyler Mahle work out of trouble of his own in their half of the 1st, stranding the first 2 of 12 total base runners this afternoon.
KoWo would start things off, beating the shift for a single up the middle. Mahle would strikeout Brad Miller, batting second today, on a great split/change on the outer half, as Wong would steal 2B on the swing. Goldy came up next and continued his walking spree, his 7th in the 4 game set with the Reds.
But Mahle would work outta early danger by striking out back-to-back to strikeout the side, getting Carp on a filthy splitter and O’Neill on an 87mph slider.
Ponce still would deal with control issues in the 2nd, working up his pitch count to 49 before getting out of his second frame of work. Ponce would get Payton (making his 1st ML start) on a weak grounder to Goldy before allowing the next two runners on base without allowing a hit. Galvis would get hit on the foot from a 58 foot curve and Barnhart would draw an easy walk to turn the lineup over for Votto.
Ponce would buckle down and escape danger, getting Votto to fly out to O’Neill and Castellanos to groundout to Wong in the shift to strand two runners.
Mahle kept driving his pitch count north in his 2nd inning of work. Yadi (4-5) would leadoff the inning with a single to CF, bringing in Pauly Deez for his first at bat since being activated before the game from the covid-IL. Mahle would get DeJong on a slider off the plate for his 4th strikeout, bringing up Carlson.
Carlson would start working better at bats today, getting deeper and not being so out in front on pitches. Dylan would tap a grounder in front of the plate and Barnhart would pounce all over it and get Yadi at 2B on the fielder’s choice.
Bader would get his chance next, jumping all over a hanging slider and driving it to Freese’s lawn in CF to tie the game up at 2-2. This was Bader’s second HR in as many games, sending it 409 feet and 105mph off the bat.
Ponce would start to feel the groove in his 3rd inning, working a quick 1-2-3 inning on 15 pitches. Ponce would induce all ground balls, getting Winker-Suárez-Moustakas to send things to the bottom of the 3rd.
Goldy kept his bat hot leading off the bottom of the 3rd, making his OBP% leap over the .500 mark, reaching out and slapping a slider on the outside into RF for a double. Mahle would strikeout Carp on a 94mph fastball and then proceed to get O’Neill to pop out to Votto. Yadi would come thru in the clutch, because that’s just what Yadi does, sending an RBI single back up the middle to give the Cardinals and Ponce a 3-2 lead to work with.
Ponce got back to business in the 4th, allowing a leadoff single to Akiyama before getting the next three Reds batters. Payton would fly out to Carlson, Galvis would fly out to Bader, and Barnhart would bunt groundout to Miller in the shift, who made a superb barehand play to get Barnhart at 1B. Goldy made a great play on his end, too, showing great footwork on the bag and avoiding Barnhart.
The Cards would waste a good opportunity to take on a few more runs in their half of the 4th. Carlson would beat the shift, ripping a single into RF and Bader would work a walk to turn the lineup over to Wong. KoWo would move the runners up with a sac-bunt (not a fan of it). With the infield playing in, Miller would ground into a FC, as Moustakas would cut down Carlson trying to score at home on the play. It was a weird play, as Barnhart definitely never allowed a clear lane for Carlson to score, but I guess that rule actually doesn’t exist. Because that seemed pretty clear to me. Goldy would fly out to Castellanos to strand two more Cards runners (6 thru 4 innings).
The Reds had a good chance to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the 5th. After Votto grounded out to Wong in the shift to begin the inning, Castellanos would double into LCF to bring up Winker. Winker would draw a walk to extend things to Suárez, who already burned Ponce big in the 1st inning of this one. Ponce would get revenge, picking up his 2nd K of the game, getting Suárez looking at a painted curveball on the outside edge of the plate. With his pitch count at 93 and 6 left-handed bats coming up, Shildt would go to his pen, bringing in Génesis Cabrera.
Cabrera needed just two pitches to end the inning, jamming Mous with a 96mph fastball and flying out to O’Neill in LF.
The Cardinals would strand their seventh and eighth runners of the contest in their half of the 5th vs Lorenzen. Carp and Yadi would both deliver singles but Lorenzen found a way around them, eventually getting Carlson to bounce back to him for the final out of the inning.
Bullpen Grooving: Innings 6-9
The Cards bullpen wouldn’t allow a hit the final 4 innings, giving up just two walks, while stranding zero base runners.
Cabrera would throw a 6 pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, getting three fly balls off the bats of Ervin (pinch-hitting for Akiyama), Davidson (pinch-hitting for Payton), and Galvis.
Cabrera and G-Spot Gant would tag team the 7th inning, Cabrera working 0.2 innings as Gant would get the final batter.
Casali would pinch-hit for Barnhart leading off the inning, working a walk to turn the lineup over for Votto. Cabrera would get Votto to ground into a 4-6-3 double play after throwing 5 straight balls, things ya just love to see. Gant would come in for Castellanos and get him to groundout sharply to DeJong at SS to end the top of the 7th.
Nate Jones would come in from the Reds bullpen to toss the 7th inning, and this is when things opened up for the Cardinals.
Carp opened the inning with a double to RF, beating the shift for the second time in as many at bats. Yadi would deliver with a, one out, RBI single to RF to drive in Carp to make it a 4-2 lead. After DeJong flew out sharply to Castellanos in RF, Dylan Carlson would give us the fireworks we’ve all been waiting for.
Carlson would get a breaking pitch to handle from Jones, smoking it to RCF for his 1st career HR (101.5mph exit velocity, 26° LA, 406 feet) into the Cards bullpen to make it 6-2. You can see the adjustments him and Bader have made the past couple of games, which will make the OF playing time more interesting moving forward with a struggling O’Neill.
Andrew Miller and Alex Reyes would get the 8th and 9th, both working 1-2-3 innings.
Miller would end his inning on 12 pitches, getting Winker to strikeout on a slider, and Suárez and Moustakas to fly out to Carlson and Bader.
Reyes would come in pumping upper 90’s gas to the bottom half of the Reds lineup. Ervin would fly out to O’Neill. Jankowski, making his first PA, would work a walk to bring in Freddy Galvis. Galvis would chop a grounder to Goldy, who had a quick turn and throw to DeJong at 2B, who quickly returned the throw back to Goldy for the 3-6-3, game ending, double play for a 6-2 Cardinals victory and series win.
The Cardinals (9-8) welcome the Royals (11-17) to town tomorrow night for the first of a three game set.
Captain Jack Flaherty (1-0, 3.12) gets the ball in game one, taking on Brad Keller (3-0, 0.00), who hasn’t allowed an earned run in 17.2IP to begin the season. First pitch from Busch is set for 7:15pm c/t.