Cards Open Interleague Play With Exciting Walk-off Winner, Carp & Yadi Pace Offense, Win 3-2
The Cardinals started their interleague schedule Tuesday night, hosting the Chicago White Sox. Coming off a terrible sweep in Pittsburgh, the bats still struggled upon returning home. The Cardinals only hit off White Sox starter, James Shields, through the first five innings was a leadoff bomb to deep LF from Tommy “Mr. Steal Yo Girl” Pham. Pham would get ahold of the elevated 3-2 pitch from Shields, giving the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead. Pham smoked the ball (111 mph), sending it 454 feet.
Michael Wacha wasn’t lights out tonight, but he wasn’t abysmal either. Wacha would allow a hit in every inning he pitched, besides his last, the 5th.
Matt Carpenter made some wonderful plays at third base to start the top of the 3rd inning. Carpenter would throw out two quick baserunners in Moncada & Anderson, both on bare-handed plays. The Sox would take the lead in the 4th, courtesy of a two out Moncada double to LF. Swags Ozuna would hustle on the short fly ball to LF, sliding to try and save two runs for a laboring Wacha. The ball would sneak under Ozuna’s glove and past him for the two out double. It was a good play/effort from the gold glove LF, as both runs would have scored regardless.
Wacha would work his only clean inning in the 5th, going 1-2-3 on two fly outs to Pham and a groundout to Wong. Ending his night with a line of: (5 IP, 5 hits, 2r/2er, 3 bb, 3 k’s)
The bullpen would be tasked with the final four innings, working four scoreless, allowing only one hit, a Delmonico single to LF in the 8th.
Gregerson turned in his best outing of the season, throwing a quick, 12 pitch (7 strikes), 2 strikeout inning. His fastball seemed to have just a bit more life than I recall seeing this season. Not velocity wise necessarily, but it was zipping more.
The Cardinals would finally, once again, crack the hit column for the second time in the game. Kolten Wong would lead off the bottom of the 6th with an infield single on a shifted Sox infield. With Gregerson’s spot coming up, Garcia would pinch-hit. Shields would strikeout Garcia and Castillo would throw out Wong, who was caught trying to steal second base. A huge double-play for the Sox, and an equally huge double-play for the Cardinals lackadaisical offense.
Jordan Hicks would get the 7th, drawing pinch-hitter, Palka to the plate. Hicks would get Palka to pop out to Wong on a slider that swept all the way in on his hands. Moncada then worked a full count on Hicks before grounding out to Carpenter at third.
Hicks would retake his crown for fastest pitch thrown this season, a 102 mph sinker down and in to Tim Anderson. Fwiw, it was the best sinker I’ve seen Hicks throw to a RH batter this season, lethal. Anderson would eventually walk before Hicks ended the inning on an Abreu fly out to Pham.
The Cardinals would squander excellent opportunities to tie the game in the bottom of the 7th & 8th inning.
With Shields keeping the bats in check, the Cardinals probably felt great relief seeing the call to the ‘pen. Rondón entered to immediately give up a double in the RF corner to Carpenter. With Cafecíto up to bat, the Sox OF shift had him played perfectly. Cafecíto would line a ball directly to CF, Engel, shading him to hit the ball in the RF gap. With Swags Ozuna batting, Rondón would throw a sinker in the dirt for a wild pitch, moving Carpenter up 90 feet to third base. Ozuna would rip a ball to first base, with the infield in and Carpenter would be toast at home, building the frustration. Ozuna would swipe second base and move up to third on an infield single from Yadier Molina. With runners at the corners and the tying run just 90 feet away, Fowler would try and come out of his slump. Rondón forced Fowler to fly out to LF, stranding two.
Dominic Leone got the 8th, with another exceptional outing, earning two strikeouts. Leone’s fastball would sit around 95-96 mph tonight, with one hitting the gun at 97 mph.
The Cardinals would again make things interesting in their half of the 8th. DeJong would leadoff with a walk, which is becoming not so weird anymore. (Still weird to me.) Wong moved DeJong into scoring position on a sac-bunt back to the reliever, Nate Jones. Gyorko would make a pinch-hit appearance off the bench, also drawing a walk to put two runners on with only one out. Tommy Pham would step in looking to do more damage than his solo HR offered earlier in the night. Pham would ground into a 5-3 double-play ending the threat.
Bud Norris was back out for the 9th tonight, getting three outs quicker than it took him to warm up probably. The closer, that’s what I’m calling him right now, would throw 9 pitches (8 strikes), and get two ground balls.
The Cardinals would search for that walk-off win in the 9th off Sox closer, Joakim Soria. Carpenter would keep his big night rolling along, taking a Soria changeup to RCF, clearing the wall for the game-tying solo bomb. The HR was Carp’s 100th career HR, the second Redbird to reach that milestone this year. (Gyorko)
After Soria struck out Cafecíto to get the first out, he would give up an *almost* walk-off HR to Swags Ozuna. Ozuna would drive the ball to RF, hitting the fence of the Cardinals bullpen, missing a HR by a matter of feet for a two bagger.
With first base open, and a struggling Fowler on deck, Rick Renteria would elect to pitch to the Cardinals backstop. Yadi would get a slider middle-in and drive it to LF for a walk-off double, his 17th RBI of the season.
The Cardinals two run 9th inning was enough to give them the 3-2 come from behind win.
Carlos Martínez (2-1, 1.43) will keep his ace-like campaign going today, as he is matched up against Lucas Giolito (1-3, 7.71). First pitch 12:15 c/t.