In the first of a three-game home series, the Cardinals scored little but won anyway because the Pirates scored even less. Kolten Wong hit his first home run of the season in the third inning to put the Cardinals on the board. A Jose Martinez RBI single in the seventh plated the second tally. Randal Grichuk had two of the team’s five hits, all singles except the Wong home run.
Starter Lance Lynn was very good, pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits while fanning five and walking one. Trevor Rosenthal added a scoreless eighth. Seung-Hwan Oh surrendered the only Pirates run in the ninth. Lynn earned his first win of the season.
The second game of the series was a repeat of the first. Different pitcher, different catcher, same score, but with one less hit for St. Louis. The Cardinals scored in the first inning when Dexter Fowler tripled and then came home on a fielder’s choice groundball error. A double from Greg Garcia scored a run in the fifth.
Starter Mike Leake gave up the lone Pittsburgh run in 6 1/3 innings. Brett Cecil, Matt Bowman, and Seung-Hwan Oh all pitched scoreless innings of relief. This led to Leake’s second win and Oh’s second save.
Wash, rinse, repeat, in the rubber game of the series. Add Matt Carpenter, subtract Aledmys Diaz. The first Cardinal run came in the third inning via a Dexter Fowler solo home run. The second run scored in the fifth inning. Wait for it,…..it was a Fowler solo shot. But the Cardinals had eight, yes, eight, hits this time. Beyond Fowler, the rest were singles, one each from five players.
Michael Wacha pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up a solo home run, but just three other hits. Matt Bowman. Kevin Siegrist, and Trevor Rosenthal all pitched scoreless innings. Rosenthal earned the save and Wacha picked up his second win.
New series, new opponent, and finally a different score. Unfortunately for St. Louis, the score favored the other side. Carlos Martinez’ start began similarly to the last one, meaning not so good. The right-hander gave up three runs in the first inning on a three run home run. The next three innings went better, all scoreless. In inning five, Martinez give up another home run, a two run shot. Martinez did not come back out for the sixth so his line was 5 IP, 7H, 5R, 7K, 2BB.
Kevin Siegrist pitched the sixth and gave up a home run for another two scores. Jonathan Broxton and Miguel Socolovich pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth. Martinez was tagged with his third loss.
The Cardinals hit home runs also. Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko hit solo shots in the fifth and eighth, respectively. Earlier, the Cardinals scored three runs in the second inning. Kolten Wong cleared the loaded bases with a triple. The triple and the two home runs were the entirety of the scoring for the Cardinals. Carpenter and Aledmys Diaz were both 2-for-5. Gyorko was 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
Carpenter was picked off second base and made an error at first base.
St. Louis picked up a victory in the second game of the series - a victory fueled by the pitcher, but not just for his pitching. In fact, starter Adam Wainwright only lasted five innings; he gave up two runs on six hits, but he fanned a large number of Brewers, nine to be precise. Wainwright contributed with his bat as well, driving in four of the Cardinals’ six runs.
The other two runs came in via a Randal Grichuk double and a Dexter Fowler sac fly in the fourth. The sac fly run was a play at the plate on Kolten Wong that the umpire originally called an out, but replay showed he was safe because the catcher did not make the tag. Wainwright shined with the bat, hitting a two-run home run in the second inning and driving in two in the fourth with a single to left. Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong also had two hits each.
Jonathan Broxton and Brett Cecil followed Wainwright with a scoreless inning each. Trevor Rosenthal pitched the eighth and surrendered a run. Seung-Hwan Oh tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his third save. Wainwright earned his first win of the season. It was a win that he richly deserved in more ways than one.
In the third game of the four game set, the Cardinals won with a late-inning surge. Starter Lance Lynn pitched well, giving up a run in the first, then cruising in the next five innings in scoreless fashion. The right hander allowed only three hits, while fanning seven and walking two. Matt Bowman, Brett Cecil, and Seung-Hwan Oh each pitched a scoreless inning. Oh earned his fourth save, Lynn received his second win.
The Cardinals tied the game in the fourth on a weird play in left field. Kolten Wong hit a fly ball with Randal Grichuk on second base. Ryan Braun caught the ball, but then made a poor throw to second to attempt to double off Grichuk. The throw ended up in the first base dugout instead, and Grichuk scored.
In the seventh, Aledmys Diaz’ solo home run to left center field gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead. In the ninth, Jedd Gyorko smoked a ball into the right field corner that scored Matt Carpenter from first base. The throw from right field was bobbled by the cutoff man, allowing Gyorko to come home as well. It was scored a triple and an error, but many would refer to it as a “little league home run” for Gyorko.
St. Louis pulled out a win in the rubber game of the series, thereby taking three of four at Miller Park Things got a little dicey in the ninth, but the Cardinals prevailed. It was Mike Leake’s day on the mound, though he was not as sharp as he has been. The right hander pitched six innings, giving up two runs on three hits. Leake fanned six, but walked an unusual three batters, all of them leading off an inning.
Matt Bowman continued his streak of scoreless innings of relief, pitching the seventh with no hits and one strike out. Trevor Rosenthal added a scoreless eighth. Jonathan Broxton was sent out to finish the ninth with a 6-2 lead, but after giving up two runs, including a home run, he was yanked and replaced by Seung-Hwan Oh, pitching for the third straight day. Oh got the three outs necessary to seal the win and get his fifth save. Leake picked up the win, his third.
St. Louis put the first run on the board in the third inning on an Aledmys Diaz RBI single. In the fourth, Kolten Wong doubled to center to plate Stephen Piscotty. Leake then hit an RBI single that scored Randal Grichuk and Wong. Two crucial insurance runs were added in the eighth on an Eric Fryer single and a pinch hit single by Matt Adams. Wong was 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
One blemish to the day was three Cardinals runners being picked off. Piscotty was caught into a rundown between first and second, Wong was picked off second base, and Diaz was picked off first.
The big picture
St. Louis swept three from the Pirates at home and took three of four at Milwaukee for a 6-1 week. The Cardinals are now 9-10 on the season and just 1.5 games behind Chicago.
The offense has scored 69 runs, tied for 11th in the National League, and the hitters are batting a collective .231, 13th. That is up from .212 a week ago. However, the 6-1 mark is more due to pitching. St. Louis’ team ERA of 4.09 improved by almost a run from last week’s 4.98, vaulting the staff up to 10th from last in the league. The starters are second at 3.33, but the relievers still lag far behind at 5.63, 14th in the NL and 28th in MLB. Even so, the bullpen knocked off nearly a run and three-quarters off last week’s season-to-date 7.34 mark.
NL Central Standings
Over the past 7 days:
Jedd Gyorko is batting .412 with an OPS of 1.347 and has 1 HR, 1 3B, 2 2Bs, and 2 RBI
Matt Carpenter is batting .316 with an OPS of .935 and has 1 HR, 1 2B and 1 RBI.
Kolton Wong is batting .263 with an OPS of .912 and has 1 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, and 4 RBI.
Mike Leake has an ERA of 1.42 and a WHIP of 1.11.
Lance Lynn has an ERA of 0.69 and a WHIP of 0.69.
Matt Bowman has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.82.
Brett Cecil has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.82.
Over the past 7 days:
Stephen Piscotty is batting .174 and has an OPS of .470.
Aledmys Diaz is batting .208 and has an OPS of .583.
Carlos Martinez has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.80.
Kevin Siegrist has an ERA of 6.00 and a WHIP of 1.67.
Miguel Socolovich has an ERA of 45.00 and a WHIP of 6.00.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last 5 games:
The leadoff hitter has been Dexter Fowler with Greg Garcia for one game.
The number 2 hitter has been Aledmys Diaz, plus Garcia for one game, and Jose Martinez for one game.
The number 3 hitter has been Matt Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty for two games.
The number 4 hitter has been Piscotty for three games, Randal Grichuk for two games, and Jedd Gyorko for two games.
The number 5 hitter has been Yadier Molina for three games, Martinez for two games, Piscotty for one game, and Matt Adams for one game.
The number 6 hitter has been Molina for three games, Martinez for two games, Garcia for one game, and Gyorko for one game.
The number 7 hitter has been Grichuk for three games, Gyorko for two games, Garcia for one game, and Eric Fryer for one game.
The number 8 hitter has been Kolten Wong, and Grichuk for one game.
Garcia played one game in the 9th spot.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Cuban outfielder Luis Robert has been cleared to sign with an MLB team on May 20 or after. The Cardinals are rumored to be one of the favorites, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.
On Thursday, April 20, the Cardinals activated Tyler Lyons from the 10 day disabled list, but the left-hander has yet to pitch. In the corresponding move, 3B Jhonny Peralta was placed on the 10 day DL.
Peralta was placed on the 10 day DL with an upper respiratory infection. Apparently, the infielder had been suffering with the illness for a while and the medication he was taking was causing further issues with his stomach and with fatigue. After blood tests were taken, it was decided to put Peralta on the DL to aid in his recovery.
Matt Carpenter missed several days during the Pirates series due to soreness and swelling in the finger he injured in last Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium. Carpenter returned to the lineup on Wednesday.
Dexter Fowler is dealing with a sore heel, referred to as “right heel bursitis”. It is an issue that Fowler has dealt with for several years, but it flared up in Friday’s game and he was removed. After taking Saturday off, Fowler returned to the lineup Sunday.
Aledmys Diaz sat out Saturday’s game with a stiff lower back. The shortstop returned to the lineup for Sunday’s game.
After an off day on Monday, the Cardinals begin a three game interleague series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. Michael Wacha is set to make the Tuesday start, followed by Carlos Martinez on Wednesday, and Adam Wainwright on Thursday.
St. Louis will continue the homestand with a weekend series against the Mets. Starters have not yet been announced, but they will likely be Lance Lynn on Friday, Mike Leake on Saturday, and Michael Wacha on Sunday.
The Brewers come to Busch on Monday, May 1 for another four game series that ends on Thursday. The Cardinals will then travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves in a weekend series.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
This past week, St. Louis swept the three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates by identical 2-1 scores. This feat occurred just twice before in team history.
The 1917 Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug 31, in the second game of a doubleheader, and September 1 in both games of a double header. The score in all three games was 1-0. The winning pitcher in the Aug 31 game was Red Ames. The winning pitchers in the Sept 1 games were Oscar Hortsman in Game 1 and Milt Watson in Game 2. Ironically, it was Ames who drove in the only run in the Aug 31 game. In the Sept 1 doubleheader, second baseman Dots Miller drove in the winning score in Game 1. In Game two the winning RBI was from center fielder Walton Cruise.
The same thing happened again in 1981. This time, it was three games against the New York Mets by the score of 4-2. These games were played on September 11, 12, and 13. On the 11th, the winning pitcher was Bob Forsch, and the runs were driven in by 3B Ken Oberkfell, 1B Keith Hernandez, LF Gene Roof, and RF Dane Iorg.
On the 12th, Doug Bair, a reliever, was the winning pitcher in a game that went 13 innings. RBIs came from shortstop Julio Gonzalez, who didn’t start but hit a two run home run in the 13th inning, and second baseman Tom Herr, who drove in a run in the eighth on a sac fly. Another run scored in that inning on a wild pitch.
The September 13 contest was a regulation nine inning game with the winning pitcher Joaquin Andujar. Roof had an RBI double in the first inning and then stole third and scored on a throwing error. In the sixth inning, Tito Landrum was awarded home on a balk by Mets reliever Jesse Orosco. The final run came in during the eighth on an RBI single by 2B Tom Herr.
Many thanks to researcher Tom Orf, who provided the dates and scores for this segment.
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