photo: Daniel Ponce de Leon via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
After a dismal offensive showing in Game 1 of Friday’s twinbill vs. Milwaukee, the St. Louis Cardinals pitched and hit well in Game 2 for a decisive win and split. Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning.
The St. Louis Cardinals continued the final homestand of 2020 with a Friday doubleheader against the Brewers. In Game 1, the Cardinals offense couldn’t get anything going against Milwaukee pitching. A total of five hits was all St. Louis hitters could muster against Brewers starter Brent Suter and relievers Devin Williams and Josh Hader and their only runner to reach second base did it in the final inning.
Kolten Wong reached to begin the home first on an infield single to third base. He was erased in a double play off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt. Paul DeJong singled to right in the fourth but was stranded.
Dylan Carlson hit an infield single in the fifth, but was erased in a double play, this time by Brad Miller. The double play struck again in the sixth after Harrison Bader singled to center and Wong followed with a ground ball that enabled the Brewers to turn two.
The Cardinals finally got a runner safely to second base in the seventh when Paul Goldschmidt doubled to left field. A ground out and two strikeouts ended that scoring possibility and the game.
St. Louis starter Jack Flaherty continued to have issues with Milwaukee hitters. Flaherty pitched five innings and allowed three runs on four hits, one of which was home run. The right hander also fell victim to the walk, issuing four free passes, though he did fan five.
John Gant started the sixth in relief, but after facing one hitter, left the game with groin tightness, a recurring issue with the right hander. Ryan Helsley replaced Gant and pitched a scoreless frame. Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless seventh inning. Following the game, Gant was placed on the 10-day injured list.
A pitching gem from Cardinals starter Daniel Ponce de Leon plus a much better offensive performance led St. Louis to a decisive win over the Brewers in the second game of the twin bill. St. Louis was designated as the road team in this make-up contest from August 2.
Ponce de Leon kept the Milwaukee offense not only scoreless but hitless until the sixth inning. In his six innings of work, the right hander yielded one run on one hit, a home run by Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia. Ponce de Leon struck out six and walked two, throwing 99 pitches, 60 for strikes, to earn his first win of the season. It was also his first career win as a starter in his 20th try.
Noted by many (and known by the player himself), #stlcards RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon earned his first career win as a starter tonight in his 20th try. It wasn't always bad pitching; it was inefficiency. Of those 20 starts, he fell short of the minimum 5 IP needed to win 12 times. pic.twitter.com/kwAor7NhFn
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) September 26, 2020
Kodi Whitley made his second appearance since being activated from the injured list on Tuesday and pitched a scoreless seventh inning. He allowed one hit, struck out one, and walked one.
The offense got on the board in the first inning, when Tommy Edman singled to right field, and Matt Carpenter drove him home on a double to right. Two more runs came home in the second. Paul DeJong singled and later scored on a wild pitch. Matt Wieters drew a walk, and Kolten Wong followed with an RBI triple to center.
The big inning was the fifth. Wong singled to lead off and came home when Edman thumped a home run to center to make it 5-0. Matt Carpenter singled on a ground ball to third base and Harrison Bader pinch ran. Dexter Fowler and Paul DeJong each walked to load the bases. Dylan Carlson doubled to left to score Bader and Fowler. Wieters then drove DeJong and Carlson home on a single to center.
Wong, Edman, and Carpenter each had two hits. Edman, Carlson, and Wieters had two RBI each.
The Cardinals have a record of 29-27 and are in second place in the NL Central by winning percentage. The Cardinals and Reds are three games back of the Cubs. The Cubs and the Reds have clinched postseason berths with two games left in the regular season. The Cardinals, by virtue of not having played 58 games but only 56 games, have not yet clinched, but could do so by winning either Saturday or Sunday. A doubleheader against the Tigers on Monday is tentatively scheduled and will be played if needed to either determine postseason qualification or Wild Card Round home field advantage, but not seeding.
Saturday’s game: vs. Brewers at 6:07 p.m. Adam Wainwright (5-2, 3.05) vs. Brandon Woodruff (2-5, 3.43). FOX Network/KMOX/WIJR
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