Okay, so there’s basically four things you need to know about this game:
Uncle Charlie flirted with one of those Edwin Jackson type no-hitters
Mike Shildt made terrible decisions that miraculously paid off (thx baseball gods)
KoWo flexed his junk on the Cubs all afternoon.
Andrew Knizner made his MLB debut
Waino held the Cubs hitless thru the first 5.1 innings, tallying up 6 strikeouts along the way. The defense behind him didn’t disappoint either, turning 3 double plays during his start: an unconventional 3-4-1 DP vs Báez, an L4-3 DP off the bat of Russell (KoWo doubling Contreras at 1B), and a sensational L6-3 DP off the bat of Rizzo (Deez flashing the leather, climbing the ladder to take away a sure hit).
Waino did give up his fair share of walks, and oddly enough, the broadcast crew started spewing nonsense about how it was some sort of strategy Waino had in his back pocket. That wasn’t the case, obviously. And I’m glad Waino cleared that up for us in his post game interview.
KoWo delivered the offense for the Birds today, going (2-2) with a sac-fly to score Trap House in the 5th to make it a 1-0 Cards lead. KoWo also swiped his 9th bag of the season, getting picked off 1B, still finding a way to somehow sneak into 2B.
On his sac-fly that plated Jedd, Jedd would put himself in scoring position, stealing 2B after a walk, and advancing up to 3B after the throw from Contreras sailed into CF.
Hamels found himself blessed with a couple of double plays throughout the course of his outing, too. But the sweep was imminent.
So, for some odd reason, Waino went back out to the mound for the 8th inning, past the 100 pitch mark. And Shildt wouldn’t dare take his starter out. Descalso (PH for Hamels) would walk and Schwarber blooped a single into LF, getting under a sliding Ozuna’s glove. But Waino battled back, striking out Bryant for the third time in the game for the second out.
What happened next was insane. On Waino’s 126th pitch of the afternoon, Rizzo looped what looked to be a game tying single into RF. But KoWo wasn’t having any of that, going so far and back to his left, reaching over his shoulder to rob Rizzo of tying the game. Seriously, this was the play of the year so far. The ball had an xBA of (.940). That has to be a
5-star rated catch.
And low and behold, KoWo slapped a one out single to LF in the bottom of the 8th. This is when the aforementioned pickoff/steal of 2B happened, which led to the Leadoff Guy getting a PH opportunity with 2 outs. And he cashed in, beating the shift with an rbi single to CF to score Wong, making it 2-0 Cards.
And that second run was huge, because the Cubs got one back in the 9th vs Jordan Hicks. Hicks would come in looking for his 12th save, striking out Báez on an unhitable slider on the outer half. But Contreras would walk and Heyward would single into LF next, forcing Shildt to go to G-Spot Gant.
Gant sealed the deal, securing his 3rd save of the season. Russell would ground into an rbi 6-4 fielder’s choice, and Bote would ground out to Deez to end the game, completing the sweep of the Cubs, returning the favor on their home turf this time around. The season series is now even at (3-3).
The Cardinals (30-28) have the day off tomorrow (so they better be at Enterprise supporting the Blues in game 4) before welcoming in the Reds (27-32) for three games starting Tuesday. Génesis Cabrera* (0-1, 7.36) gets the nod in game-one, matching up with my favorite non-Cardinal, Luis Castillo (5-1, 2.45). First pitch 7:15pm c/t.