Daniel Ponce de Leon was recalled from Memphis to make his season debut this evening, in place of the injured Michael Wacha. Ponce looked like the Ponce we saw in August last season, and not the Ponce we witnessed in Spring Training.
Ponce worked 5 efficient innings, and although his line says he walked three, two of them were against Yelich (one intentional), and I think we can all agree, we do not mind that one bit.
Aside from the walks, Ponce tallied up 7 k’s, 5 of which were on fastballs.
Ponce got some help from his defense to begin his evening. With Yelich on first after a one out walk, Braun would come up to bat following a Grandal strikeout and bloop a single past a sliding Cafecíto in RF. The ball would bounce under him, directly to Dex backing up the ball, and Dex fired that thing home to gun down Yelich trying to score on the play, ending the inning.
After a quiet bottom of the 1st, Ponce would come out and work a quick 2nd inning, throwing 13 pitches, striking out the first two he faced (Shaw and Pérez).
The Cardinals spotted Ponce a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd, putting together three consecutive singles to begin the inning.
Swags sent an opposite field single with two strikes, Cafecíto dropped a single into shallow CF, and Yadi roped a single into CF but would get thrown out at 2B trying to extend it into an extra base knock. Yadi would drive in Swags on the play and Cafecíto would move up to 3B.
Davies would strand him at 3B, getting Dex for his second strikeout of the game, pulling the string with a sick changeup. Lo Cain then kept being a pain in the buttocks, robbing KoWo of an rbi extra base hit, traveling 90ft. to his left over in the RCF gap to take away the hit and end the inning.
Ponce would work two quick outs in the top of the 3rd, but the top of the Crew order would try and make some noise. Cain would reach on a throwing error from KoWo, his first error of 2019. Yelich was then given the free pass, intentionally putting him on base to get to Grandal.
Ponce escaped the mini-jam, freezing Grandal on a heater for his 4th k of the night.
Ponce had a 15 pitch inning in store in the 4th, working around a leadoff walk to Braun, immediately striking out Shaw on a filthy changeup. Pérez and Piña were retired next, Pérez on a 5-4 fielder’s choice and Piña on a fly out to José.
The Cards missed a good chance to score some runs in the bottom of the 4th, as a two out rally went quietly. Cafecíto and Yadi would collect back-to-back two out hits, Café a single to CF and Yadi a double down the LF line, putting runners in scoring position for Dex.
Dex would fly out to Braun to end the inning.
The Brewers collected their only run on Ponce to leadoff the top of the 5th, as Arcia sent his 4th HR of the season to CF to make it a tie game at 1-1. Ponce then struck out Davies, got Cain to ground out to DeJong, and made Yelich look stooooopid on a filthy curveball, his final of the night.
The Cards capitalized on a min-two out rally in the bottom o the 5th, as three batters would reach base consecutively. Davies would walk Carp, who would steal 2B, and come around to score on the Goldy rbi single into LF.
Matt Albers was summoned from the pen, giving up a rope double to Pauly Deez to put runners on the corners for Swags. Swags ended up flying out to Cain, taking things to the 6th.
Johnny G-Spot Gant worked 2 innings out of the Cards pen, getting a two quick outs before giving up a solo shot to Travis Shaw, tying things up again at 2-2.
Gant worked a 1-2-3 7th, tossing 13 pitches, striking out Saladino (pinch-hitter) on a heater.
Andrew Miller worked the 8th inning, picking up two k’s on 13 pitches. Miller would get Yelich looking at a front door slider and Braun on a low slider, coming back in on the hands.
Alex Wilson came in to toss the bottom of the 8th from the Brewers pen, getting greeted right away with a Pauly Deez bomb shot to RCF, breaking the tie to give the Cards the 3-2 lead.
Cafecíto drew a one out walk, and Yadi would cash in, lining an rbi double into LF to score Cafecíto all the way from 1B. With Dex batting, Yadi would steal 3B like a boss, like “nbd or anything.”
But Yadi would make a base running blunder himself, leaving 3B a bit earlier on a ball that should’ve been a sac fly to LF from Dex. Yadi would stay at 3B, and it was a perfect chance to open things up to a 3-run game.
Jordan Hicks picked up his 6th save, giving up a leadoff HR to Shaw, his second bomb of the game, making things 4-3 Cards.
Thames, pinch-hitting for Pérez, would draw a walk to bring in anther pinch-hitter, Ben Gamel. Hicks would freeze Gamel on a 102mph sinker on the inner half to bring in Arcia.
Arcia would be the final Brewers batter, lining into a soft 6-3 double play. I seriously have no idea what Thames was doing, but oh well, caught in no-man’s land it is.
With the win, the Cardinals look for the sweep tomorrow afternoon, sending Uncle Charlie (1-2, 4.74) to the mound. Waino will be countered with Jhoulys Chacín (2-2, 5.92). First pitch 12:15pm c/t.