This is the first article in a weekly series about St. Louis Cardinals news and happenings. This series will recap the remaining games of the 2015 season and continue into the offseason with Cardinals’ news and transactions.
Beginning Monday, September 21, the Cardinals started a seven-day home stand with a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds and ended with a four-game set versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals were behind by one run until the bottom of the eighth inning, behind the starting pitching of Jaime Garcia. Tommy Pham led off the eighth with a line drive triple to right field and scored on a single by Jhonny Peralta. Peter Bourjos pinch ran for Peralta, and Stephen Piscotty drilled a double to left field scoring the speedy Bourjos from first base easily to take the lead. Trevor Rosenthal closed out the ninth.
Starting pitcher John Lackey gave up a first inning home run to Jay Bruce to put the Reds ahead by one. The Redbirds tied it up in the third when Matt Carpenter hit a ground rule double down the right field line. Tommy Pham then doubled to center to score Carpenter. The game remained tied until the seventh when Tony Cruz singled, Carpenter singled advancing Cruz to third, and Tommy Pham hit a sac fly to center to score Cruz from third. In the eighth, the Cardinals added an insurance run when Peralta drew a walk, Stephen Piscotty singled, moving Peralta to third and Kolten Wong hit a sac fly to right to score Peralta. Kevin Siegrist pitched the eighth inning, while Steve Cishek closed and got the save. Rosenthal was given the night off rather than pitch in three straight games.
The rubber game of the series was a laugher, with four Cardinals home runs on the night. Randal Grichuk got it going with a solo home run to left center field in the second inning. In the third, Matt Carpenter hit the first of his two two-run long balls, the first to right field. After Tommy Pham singled, Matt Holliday doubled him home to put the Cardinals ahead 4-0. In the fifth inning, Carpenter hit his second home run. In the sixth, with Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk on the bases, Mark Reynolds doubled to left field, scoring two more runs for a nine-run lead. The Reds put one on the board in the seventh. In the bottom of the frame, defensive replacement Peter Bourjos hit a mammoth 450 ft. home run past Big Mac Land, the longest home run by a Cardinal this season. The Reds added another run in the ninth off reliever Sam Tuivailala, but it was too little too late as the Reds were swept out of Busch Stadium.
Starter Michael Wacha had a tough first inning, giving up three Brewers runs and putting the Cardinals in a hole. The Redbirds battled back though, as a Jhonny Peralta three-run blast in the fourth inning tied the game. Stephen Piscotty immediately followed Peralta with a solo home run to give the Cardinals a 4-3 lead. The Cardinals added two more runs in the fifth when Matt Carpenter drew a walk and Tommy Pham singled into left field. Peralta was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Piscotty singled to center, scoring Carpenter and Pham. Consecutive singles by Jason Heyward, Peralta, and Piscotty added an insurance run in the seventh. Relief appearances by Steve Cishek, Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate, Jonathan Broxton and Matt Belisle kept the Brewers bats relatively quiet after Wacha exited after five innings.
Starter Carlos Martinez was pulled after seven pitches in the first inning due to right shoulder tightness. Tyler Lyons replaced him. The Cardinals scored first on a third-inning double by Tony Cruz followed by a sac bunt by Lyons and a single by Matt Carpenter. The Brewers tied it up in the fourth, but the Cardinals responded by scoring in the next frame. A Jason Heyward walk plus a stolen base and singles by Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Piscotty brought Heyward home. A sac bunt by Greg Garcia moved the runners over and a sac fly by Tony Cruz scored Peralta from third, bringing the score to 3-1. The Brewers added another run in the sixth, and tied it up in the seventh due to a fielding error by Greg Garcia. The Brewers took the lead in the ninth on a solo home run by Khris Davis off Trevor Rosenthal. The Cardinals tried to rally in the ninth, when Garcia singled and Jon Jay bunted him to second, but Randal Grichuk and Carpenter both struck out to end the game.
The Cardinals got on the board right away in the first inning. Stephen Piscotty hit an infield single, and Matt Holliday blistered a line drive to the left center field gap, scoring Piscotty from first base. Jason Heyward drew a walk and a base hit by Jhonny Peralta scored Holliday. Brandon Moss walked to load the bases, then Kolten Wong singled up the middle and Heyward and Peralta scored. Tony Cruz grounded into a double play to end the inning, with the score 4-0. In the second inning, a double by Piscotty and a double by Holliday scored run number five. Starter Jaime Garcia held the Brewers scoreless through five innings, but in the sixth, the Brewers put a run on the board. Garcia was dominant, pitching eight innings and striking out eight while walking none. In a non-save situation, Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Brewers scored first, on a solo home run by Khris Davis in the second inning. The Cardinals tied it up in the fourth. Matt Adams singled, Kolten Wong singled, Greg Garcia grounded into a force out, advancing the runners, and Tony Cruz grounded out, scoring Adams. The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run to center to take the lead 2-1. Stephen Piscotty immediately followed Carpenter with a solo home run of his own.
In the top of the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal loaded the bases and then gave up a grand slam, and the Brewers took the lead 5-3. Rosenthal was removed and Seth Maness came in. Maness gave up a single, then an intentional walk, and finally a three-run home run to put the game out of reach. In the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Tommy Pham singled and then took second on defensive indifference. Piscotty then reached on a throwing error and Pham scored. Jason Heyward singled, and with a man on first and third, pinch hitter Brandon Moss flied out to end the inning, game and a rough series for the Cardinals.
NL Central Standings
Cardinals’ magic number to clinch the Division: 4
Hot/Cold players of the week
Hot: Jhonny Peralta, 9-for-24; Stephen Piscotty, 10-for-29 with three home runs; Matt Carpenter, 10-for-31 with three home runs; Matt Adams, 4-for-8.
Cold: Kolten Wong, 4-for-22; Brandon Moss, 2-for-12, Trevor Rosenthal, one save, one blown save, two losses, five earned runs in two innings.
The Cardinals designated Xavier Scruggs for assignment on Sept. 21 and sent him outright to Memphis. The move was made to make room on the 40-man roster for Memphis catcher Travis Tartamella, who was called up on Sept. 21 to add catching depth in the wake of the thumb injury to Yadier Molina.
Reliever Jordan Walden remains on the 60-day disabled list and is not expected to pitch again in 2015. Walden was placed on the disabled list on April 29 with right biceps inflammation. Walden made 10 appearances in April with an ERA of 0.87. Offseason shoulder surgery is a possibility, but no decision has been made.
Adam Wainwright (torn Achilles tendon) was medically cleared for baseball activity on Sept 21 and pitched in a simulated game on Sept. 23 and again on Sept 26. Wainwright remains optimistic he will pitch again in 2015. If Wainwright pitches, he will do so out of the bullpen. Wainwright tore his left Achilles tendon while batting in a game on April 25 and had surgery shortly thereafter.
Yadier Molina (partial tear of left thumb ligament) is expected to be out a minimum of 10 days and will be reevaluated this week. Molina was injured during the Sept. 20 game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Molina remains optimistic he will return to play in 2015.
Carlos Martinez (right shoulder tightness) was removed after seven pitches in the first inning of the Sept. 25 game against Milwaukee. Martinez had an MRI on Sept. 26 and it was announced he had a right shoulder strain and would be shut down for the remainder of the season.
The Cardinals begin their last road trip of the regular season on Monday, Sept. 28. They will play a three-game series in Pittsburgh with an off day on Thursday and then the last series of the regular season in Atlanta over the weekend. With a magic number of four, the Cardinals can clinch the division by winning two of three in Pittsburgh. The Bucs will finish their regular season with three at home versus Cincinnati.
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Link to master article with all 2015 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for every level of the Cardinals minor league organization as well as system-wide awards ahead.
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