Indians Salvage Sweep with 5-1 Win Behind an Excellent Shane Bieber Start
Jack Flaherty would take the mound for the Cardinals tonight, looking to complete the sweep of the Indians, who sit atop the AL Central by 7.5 games.
Jack Flaherty got things started on the right foot, throwing a 1-2-3, 8 pitch, 1st inning, striking out Ramírez on a nasty slider to end the inning.
The Cardinals wouldn’t have an easy task ahead of them, facing a good young right-hander, Shane Bieber. Bieber has absolutely dominated in AA/AAA this season, going (6-1, 1.29). Carp got the first go at Bieber, striking out on a good curveball. Bieber then got Pham and Cafecíto to fly out, matching Flaherty’s 1-2-3 inning, throwing 12 pitches.
The Indians would jump on Flaherty the next two innings, scoring two runs in each, making it 4-0 early. Edwin Encarnacion jumped on a 2-0 fastball from Flaherty, smacking it to deep LF for a solo HR. Lonnie Chisenhall followed that with a solo shot of his own, golfing a breaking pitch over the wall in RF for the 2 run lead. Flaherty shook the back-to-back blasts, striking out the side (Kipnis, Pérez, Bieber), his 4th in 2 innings.
The Cardinals would get back-to-back one out singles from Yadi and Garcia in the bottom of the 2nd. Bieber then struck out back-to-back batters, getting Dex looking at a curveball and Wong looking at a fastball up and in.
Flaherty would open up the 3rd inning surrendering a leadoff walk to Lindor. Michael Brantley followed that with a double into RF, advancing Lindor to third. Ramírez then smoked a grounder to Cafecíto at 1B, so hard that Lindor couldn’t even attempt to go home. After falling behind Encarnacion 2-0, Matheny elected to give the slugger the free base, loading the bases for Chisenhall. The Cardinals were inches away from escaping the jam with a double-play. Chisenhall would hit a slow grounder to Wong, who flipped it to Garcia at second, who fired over to Cafecíto at first. Chisenhall just beat it out, driving in Lindor. Kipnis then blooped an RBI single in front of Pham, extending the Indians lead to 4-0. Flaherty ended the inning striking out Pérez on a fastball on the outer half.
The Cardinals put together on of their two outs rallies in the bottom of the 3rd, although it was only good enough to plate one run. Carp would work a one out walk, advancing to second on a Pham ground out to Ramírez at 3B. Cafecíto then showed his excellent plate coverage and ability to go to all fields, poking an RBI single into RF, scoring Carp. Swags extended the inning with a base-hit into RF, both runners would be stranded as Yadi grounded out to Ramírez to end the threat.
Flaherty turned in an 11 pitch, 4th inning, working around a one out double from the pitcher, Shane Bieber. This was Bieber’s first career hit, lining the ball to the LCF gap. Flaherty then retired Lindor and Brantley, ending the inning and also his night.
Flaherty’s final line: (4IP, 6 hits, 4r/4er, 2 bb, 5 k’s, 75 pitches)
Bieber would only need 27 pitches through the 4th and 5th innings, stranding 3 Redbirds on base. Kolten Wong would get HBP with two down in the 4th, getting stranded at first. Carp, leadoff guy, would smack a leadoff double to the gap in LCF to begin the bottom of the 5th, first pitch swinging too. After Pham was retired on a groundout to Ramírez, Cafecíto would poke his second single to RF, putting runners on the corners for Swags, representing the tying run. Ozuna would strikeout on a breaking pitch out of the zone, bringing in Yadi. Bieber would get the Cardinals backstop to ground out to Lindor.
Austin Gomber would get the 5th and 6th innings, giving up a run on 2 hits, striking out two. The Indians would push across an insurance run against the lefty in the 6th. Kipnis would bloop his second base-hit into LF, advancing on a sac-bunt from Pérez. Naquin then hit an RBI double to CF, scoring Kipnis to make it 5-1 Tribe.
The Cardinals offense would go hitless the last 4 innings, unless you count Wong getting HBP for the second consecutive time as a hit.
Bieber’s final line: (6IP, 6 hits, 1r/1er, 1 bb, 5 k’s, 99 pitches)
Tui and Brebbia would combine to throw three scoreless innings to end the night for the Cards pen. In Tui’s last inning, with two outs, Pham would drop an easy fly ball, his fourth error of the season, extending the inning for a reliever nearing 30 pitches. Naquin followed that with a walk, to bring in the pitcher, Neil Ramírez. Tui struck out Ramírez after falling behind 3-0 in the count. Brebbia worked a quick, 8 pitch inning in the 9th. Lindor and Brantley flew out to Swags to start the inning. Ramírez would take a high fastball to RF for his first base-hit of the game before Encarnacion struck out on a tight slider from Brebs.
The Cardinals drop the potential sweep of the Indians, 5-1. Ending their modest 4-game win streak. The Cardinals (42-37) have an off-day tomorrow before welcoming in the NL East leading, Atlanta Braves (45-34).
The Lizard King (8-2, 2.69) gets things underway, taking the ball against Julio Teheran (5-5, 4.52). First pitch 7:15 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 79 is in the books