Kolten Wong Walks it Off with HR for Cardinals Seventh Walk-off Win, Beat Bucs 3-2
Swags Ozuna got the Cardinals on the board first, after Luke Weaver worked through the first 2 innings scoreless, allowing a single to Dickerson, on 31 pitches. Ozuna led off the bottom of the second hitting his 100th career bomb, blasting (417 feet, 110 mph) the solo shot to Freese’s landing for the 1-0 lead.
Luke Weaver would work around a leadoff single from Jordy Mercer starting the top of the 3rd inning. Kuhl would move Mercer up on a sac bunt to Carp and Harrison would move Mercer over to third on a groundout to Garcia at SS. Weaver picked up his first strikeout of the afternoon on the young Pirates prospect and NL rookie of the month, Austin Meadows.
Weaver got Meadows on an excellent changeup, a pitch he had going his way all afternoon.
Weaver would work his best inning in the top of the 4th, recording two strikeouts on the changeup, getting Marte and Dickerson swinging.
The Pirates would tie things up the next inning, getting on board via a Colin Moran solo blast to RF. Weaver picked up his 4th and final strikeout of the game for the second out in the inning, following a Mercer single up the middle. Weaver got his counterpart, Kuhl, to foul out on a bunt attempt. Weaver escaped the inning getting Harrison to fly out to Pham.
The Cardinals would get that run back in the bottom half of the 5th, and I’m not too sure with the managerial strategy to get this run, but it worked, so why would I be one to complain?
I say this because Luke Weaver would bat for himself sitting at 90 pitches in a tie game, plus you have a five man bench, so why not use it to your advantage? Well, Matheny didn’t feel that way, and Weaver drew a one out walk, so jokes on me. Kuhl shook off the walk, striking out Carp looking on a curveball for the second out. Greg Garcia would work a two out walk, bringing in the always dangerous, Tommy Pham. Pham would make the walk to Weaver hurt Kuhl, driving an RBI single to LF, scoring Weaver to make it 2-1 Cardinals.
Enter Austin Gomber:
Gomber would finally get the opportunity to make his major league debut, and he was excellent. The 24 year-old lefty would save the taxed bullpen, throwing 3 scoreless innings, allowing no hits, striking out two.
Gomber started the 6th inning off walking Austin Meadows before striking out Starling Marte on a beautiful hook for his first career strikeout. Gomber got out of the inning facing the switch-hitting, Josh Bell. Gomber got Bell to ground into a 6-4-3 double-play, ending the inning on 11 pitches.
Gomber worked an equally as fast inning in the 7th, retiring the Bucs in order on 13 pitches, picking up his second strikeout, getting Moran swinging on a high 94 mph fastball.
Gomber returned to the mound for the 8th, throwing 8 pitches, recording all three outs on fly outs to Ozuna in LF. Ozuna made a fantastic play opening the inning, taking extra bases away from Mercer. Swags was a busy man this inning to say the least.
Bud Norris was called upon to close the door, in search of his 12th save in 12 opportunities. Austin Meadows led the inning off with a solo HR down the RF line, tying the game at 2-2. Meadows got a fastball on the inner half and just got his hands inside it enough, it wasn’t a bad pitch either. Norris missed his spot, maybe, by an inch or two. That HR pissed Bud off enough that he struck out the side, retiring the next three he faced, all on fantastic cutters. Norris would dice up Marte, Bell, and Dickerson, so that is a fantastic sign after that leadoff bomb.
An extra inning game is something this bullpen didn’t need, and Kolten Wong would make sure that didn’t happen. Leading off the bottom of the 9th against the newly entered reliever, Richard Rodríguez, Wong would send home the Busch Stadium crowd happy. On a 1-1 pitch, Wong got a breaking pitch in his wheelhouse and lined it to RF for a walk-off HR. This was the 7th walk-off win for the Cardinals in 2018, and the 5th ending with a walk-off HR. That’s a storybook ending for the 1,000th regular season game played in Busch Stadium III history.
Kolten Wong moved his way up a historic list for the Cardinals, now in a tie for 4th place all time in walk-off HR’s with Ken Boyer with 5. Wong trails only Edmonds (6), Pujols (10), and Musial (12). I found this pretty darn cool.
Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.71) eyes to get the series win for the Cardinals as he faces off against Nick Kingham (2-1, 3.75).
First pitch 1:15 c/t.
Game 56 is in the book
by Stew // @StewStilez