Flaherty’s Mistake in the 5th Proves Costly, D-backs Snatch Game-Two 4-2
Zack Greinke and Jack Flaherty were both exceptional tonight, both settling in nicely after a few early runs.
Carpenter, leadoff guy, started tonight the same way he started last night, hitting a leadoff base-hit, beating the shift, taking it to RF. Greinke came back with two strikeouts to end the early threat, getting some crucial help from home plate umpire, Bill Welke. I’m not one to complain about umpires strike zones, given I umpired baseball for years, but this was blatantly brutal. Anyways, moving on. Greinke would get Pham looking at a slow curve, which gameday kept calling an eephus, and Swags Ozuna looking at a slider.
The D-backs would plate one first inning run, with two outs too, who would’ve thought? Flaherty got Jay to ground out to Carp and followed that striking out Goldschmidt on a tight slider. Jake Lamb would work a walk, that should’ve been strike three. Pollock would follow that drawing a walk to put two runners on for David Peralta. Peralta would inside-out a fastball on the hands and flare it into shallow LF for an RBI single, scoring Lamb to make it 1-0 D-backs.
The Cardinals would take the lead in the top of the 2nd, scoring two off Greinke. They got things started with three consecutive hits. Yadi would poke a two strike pitch into RF, classic Yadi. Trap House then doubled down the LF line to put runners in scoring position for Muñoz. Muñoz connected with an RBI single to LF, scoring Yadi to tie the game 1-1. Kolten Wong would swing at the first pitch offering from Greinke, lining it to deep CF for a sac-fly, scoring Trap House for the 2-1 lead. With Flaherty at the dish, the Cardinals would try a hit and run with Muñoz on first. Flaherty would line out to Jay in RF and Muñoz would be doubled off first to end the inning.
Flaherty would set down the next 9 D-backs in-a-row, striking out the first two of the 2nd inning. Flaherty’s slider was tight all night, forcing a lot of whiffs, 10 to be exact. Flaherty would get Ahmed and Mathis on the aforementioned slider and ended the inning getting Greinke to ground out to Gyorko.
Zack Greinke would find his own groove, throwing three hitless innings, allowing one base runner on a two out walk to Gyorko in the 4th. Greinke would throw 37 pitches over the course of those three innings, only picking up one strikeout, getting Muñoz swinging at a changeup.
My favorite Flaherty strikeout came on Goldschmidt in the bottom of the 3rd. Flaherty would set Goldschmidt up with a changeup inside and followed that up with a heater on the outside, blowing Goldschmidt away.
Flaherty turned in a 9-pitch 4th inning, picking up his 5th strikeout, getting Peralta to swing at a 95 mph fastball up in the zone.
The D-backs would take the lead in the bottom of the 5th, making Flaherty throw 30 pitches to get out of the inning. Again, all three runs coming with two outs, shocker. Ahmed opened the inning with a double to LF and Flaherty followed striking out Mathis looking at a fastball. Greinke then grounded out to Wong, bringing in the top of the order with Jon Jay. Flaherty would make his first mistake of the night, with two strikes he would overthrow a slider and it would break a little too much, nicking the back foot of Jay. This extended the inning to Paul Goldschmidt, the reigning NL player of the month in June. Flaherty already struck him out his first two at bats of the night, the third didn’t end that way. With two strikes, Flaherty would throw a slider that got too much of the plate and Goldy sent it to RF, clearing the wall for a 3-run shot to make it 4-2 D-backs.
The Cardinals would get their first hit since the 2nd inning in the top of the 6th with one out, coming off the bat of Cafecíto. Cafecíto would take a two strike Greinke slider right back up the middle for a single. Swags then grounded into a 5-4 fielder’s choice, a close play at second on Cafecíto. Yadi ended the inning, smoking a line shot down to Lamb at 3B.
Flaherty would work one more frame, retiring the side in order on 12 pitches. Flaherty ended his outing on a high note, striking out Marte on a slider, his 7th of the night.
Flaherty’s final line: (6IP, 4 hits, 4r/4er, 1 bb, 7 k’s, 103 pitches)
The Cardinals would try and piece together some two out magic off Greinke in the top of the 7th. After Gyorko and Muñoz were retired, Wong would line a single to CF, bringing in the pinch-hitter, Greg Garcia. Garcia caught the D-backs off guard, laying a perfect bunt down the 3B line for a single to bring in the top of the order.
Lovullo would turn to a lefty to face Carp, going with Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa would walk Carp, not throwing anything that was good enough to tempt the Cardinals leadoff guy. Lovullo went back to his pen with the bases juiced for Pham, turning to a very reliable reliever in Yoshihisa Hirano. Hirano did his job to perfection, throwing only one pitch, getting Pham to ground out to Lamb at 3B, stranding the bases loaded.
Tuivailala would throw the bottom of the 7th inning, working a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Descalso (pinch-hitting) on a two-seamer.
Archie Bradley would dominate the 8th inning for the D-backs, striking out the first two (Cafecíto & Swags) he faced on his blazing fastball. Yadi would fly out to Jay to end the inning.
Tui would go back out and toe the rubber for the second consecutive inning, getting Jay to fly out to Swags to begin the inning. Goldschmidt (2-4) then lined a base-hit to RF, ending Tui’s night.
Matheny would turn to a lefty in Austin Gomber, to face a lefty in Jake Lamb. This seemed like a reverse time to use Gomber, since he hasn’t been necessarily lights out vs LHH this year out of the pen. Lamb drilled a double to LF, missing Swags attempt because a fan would lean over the wall and interfere with the ball. The call on the field was originally a HR, but anyone with working eyeballs knew this one was coming back. After it was reviewed, the runners were put on second and third, and the fan was escorted to the exits, empty handed too.
With first base open, Pollock would draw an IBB to load the bases for Peralta. Peralta would smoke a ground ball to Muñoz, who rolled the 6-4-3 double-play to end the inning.
Brad Boxberger, on 5 days rest, came in and shut the door for his 20th save of the season, throwing 26 pitches to earn it. Boxberger would strike out Muñoz and O’Neill (pinch-hitting) on changeups, as the D-backs held on for the 4-2 win to even the series up.
Miles Mikolas (8-3, 2.61) looks to get a series win for the Birds as he will be countered with the lefty, Patrick Corbin* (6-3, 3.14). First pitch from the desert 9:10 c/t.
Everyone have a wonderful and festive 4th, let’s hope for a big Cardinals win. Enjoy the fireworks.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 84 is in the books