The Cardinals offense continued its double digit scoring in this first game of three against the Brewers and the 2016 home opener, though in this contest it was accomplished without the aid of the long ball.
Starter Michael Wacha sailed to the win with six scoreless innings. Only four hits accompanied seven strikeouts and one free pass. Rule 5 addition Matt Bowman had the task of taking over, and while initially giving up the only Brewers’ run on a leadoff solo home run to Chris Carter, Bowman settled down and kept the Brewers off the board for the remainder of his two innings of work. Tyler Lyons pitched the ninth in scoreless fashion.
Doubles and triples were the order of the day for the Cardinals offense. Two-base knocks were provided by Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Yadier Molina, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and two each by Aledmys Diaz and Stephen Piscotty. Triples were struck by Hazelbaker and Carpenter. Hazelbaker ended the day 4-for-4, while Molina was 3-for-4. All total, 19 hits came off the bats of Cardinals’ hitters.
On the basepaths, fans were treated to a stolen base, a Molina Special, his first of the year.
Tuesday, April 12---off day
Starter Mike Leake was okay, but failed to get the quality start, as he gave up four runs in six innings of work. He did strike out six and walk only one. Seung-hwan Oh followed with a scoreless seventh, and a clean eighth by Kevin Siegrist. Closer Trevor Rosenthal came into a tied game in the ninth, and left it untied, surrendering two Brewers runs on a Domingo Santana blast. Seth Maness was brought in to secure the final out.
Brandon Moss provided another pinch hit home run, a solo shot in the eighth. Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk and Jeremy Hazelbaker doubled. In addition to Moss plating a run, Grichuk drove in two, and Yadier Molina one.
Hazelbaker was erased trying to steal third, his first caught stealing of the season in three attempts.
Jaime Garcia took the mound for this day game, and he was brilliant. The injury-plagued lefty pitched arguably the best game of his career, a one hit complete game shutout. 13 strikeouts, and only one walk highlighted this gem. It was a thing of beauty.
Randal Grichuk hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning. Jeremy Hazelbaker provided his own two-run blast in the seventh. Matt Carpenter was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Kolten Wong plated a run on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Yadier Molina was 2-for-4, and Garcia, in addition to his brilliant pitching, contributed two hits.
Hazelbaker was caught stealing for the second time, in his fourth attempt.
One notable moment in the game came when Grichuk, following his home run in the third inning, clearly committed a faux pas that would have resulted in an out when he passed Brandon Moss on the basepaths between first and second base. Moss had been at first, and was headed back to tag up in case Grichuk’s ball was caught, and Grichuk made the turn at first and passed him on his way. The Cardinals caught a break in that neither the umpires nor the Brewers appeared to notice.
Another game, another blowout. Who knew this Cardinals offense existed? This win was created via the long ball, six to be exact, including two from Matt Holliday, and another pinch hit home run, this one from Matt Adams. All in all, Holliday, Adams, Aledmys Diaz, Randal Grichuk, and Brandon Moss contributed 13 of the Cardinals’ 14 scores. Only Molina plated a run without going over the wall, doing it with a mere single. Molina also contributed a double, as did Diaz.
Amidst all this home run blasting, starting pitcher Carlos Martinez quietly did his job, pitching a quality start of seven innings with three earned runs allowed on six hits. Jonathan Broxton and Matt Bowman pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth. Martinez earned the win, his second of the season.
The Cardinals defense was errorless, but not so for the Reds, who committed three errors. The Cards were quiet on the basepaths, as the score suggests it was mostly trotting, not running.
After being embarrassed on Friday, the Reds exacted their revenge on Saturday, unfortunately at the expense of struggling Adam Wainwright, who pitched his third consecutive ugly game. Wainwright appeared to be fine for the first three innings, but the fourth came and the floodgates opened. In the next three innings, Wainwright got knocked around good, giving up seven earned runs and leaving with one out in the sixth to top off a worrisome trend. Not what Cardinals’ fans want to see.
Seth Maness relieved in the sixth, and after promptly yielding another run, was immediately given the hook in favor of Kevin Siegrist, who got out of the inning on two pitches like a boss. Seung-hwan Oh pitched two scoreless, and Jonathan Broxton surrendered the Reds’ final run in the ninth.
One would think scoring eight runs would win the game, but not this time. Stephen Piscotty hit his second long ball of the season, a three-run shot. Brandon Moss scored two with his ninth-inning blast. Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko each drove in a run. Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-5.
In the rubber game of the Reds series, many regulars received a day off. The game was close, was tied a couple of times, but the Cardinals put it away late with the help of the backup catcher.
Michael Wacha made the start and pitched six innings, giving up three runs, one earned, on seven hits. Five strikeouts and one walk completed his line. Matt Bowman pitched 2/3 of the seventh inning, getting the first two outs, but surrendering a double. Bowman was pulled for Kevin Siegrist, who got the final out on three pitches. Siegrist returned for the eighth and retired all three batters. Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth and closed out the game without allowing a runner.
The offensive hero was backup catcher Eric Fryer, who went 3-for-3 and stroked an eighth-inning RBI double to drive in the winning run. Greg Garcia, who started at shortstop, was 2-for-3. Jedd Gyorko hit a second inning solo home run, while Matt Carpenter added his second long ball of the season, a solo shot in the fifth.
The defense committed two errors, a fielding error by Garcia, and a throwing error by Wacha.
To read more about Fryer’s record-setting 6-for-6 start, check out The Cardinal Nation Blog.)
NL Central Standings
W L % GB
Chic. Cubs 9 3 .750 ---
St. Louis 7 5 .583 2.0
Pittsburgh 7 6 .667 2.5
Cincinnati 6 6 .500 3.0
Milwaukee 5 7 .417 4.0
Hot/Cold Players of the Week
Hot: Eric Fryer, 5-for-5 1.000 AVG; Greg Garcia, .600 AVG 1 HR 2 RBI; Yadier Molina, .311 AVG 4 2B 6 RBI; Jeremy Hazelbaker, .394 AVG 3 HR 7 RBI; Aledmys Diaz, .406 AVG 2 HR 8 RBI; Jaime Garcia 1-0, 2.40 ERA .067 WHIP.
Cold: Kolten Wong, .200 AVG; Jedd Gyorko, .200 AVG; Adam Wainwright, 0-2 8.76 ERA 1.90 WHIP
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
Cardinals sent SS Ruben Tejada on a rehab assignment to Springfield Cardinals for the weekend, where he went 3-for-9 including a double in three games. The open question is when Tejada is activated, who will be dispatched to Memphis – red-hot Greg Garcia, red-hot Aledmys Diaz or someone else?
SS Ruben Tejada (left quad strain) was sent on a rehab assignment to Springfield.
Memphis LHP Marco Gonzales (left elbow) underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the season.
The Cardinals end their home stand with a three-game series against the division-rival Cubs starting on Monday, April 18. The scheduled pitcher for Monday’s game is Mike Leake. The probable pitcher for Tuesday is Jaime Garcia with Carlos Martinez set to go on Wednesday.
The Cardinals have a travel day on Thursday, and head to the West Coast to play a weekend series in San Diego against the Padres. Into the following week, the Cardinals play the Diamondbacks for four games and then head home for a weekend series against the currently 9-2 Nationals.
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