photo: Tommy Edman via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
Despite just nine hits in 14 innings, the St. Louis Cardinals (18-17) split a twin bill with Minnesota (27-18) at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, falling 7-3 in the opener but claiming the finale 6-4. The Game 2 victory prevented a season series sweep by the Twins, which claimed both July games played at Target Field.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 – St. Louis 3 vs. Minnesota 7 (Game 1, seven innings)
The first contest featured the return of starting pitcher Carlos Martinez after his extended absence due to the coronavirus. While Martinez absorbed his second loss in as many decisions, the primary damage against him came on a three-run long ball that occurred just after his defense was unable to initiate an inning-ending double play. Overall, the right-hander allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk in 3 2/3 frames.
Jake Woodford and Ryan Helsley shared pitching duties for the game’s balance and both fell prey to the home run ball Woodford went 2 1/3 innings, yielding a solo shot comprising one of his two hits given up to go with a base-on-balls before Helsley surrendered a two-run shot in the seventh.
St. Louis was blanked until the home half of the sixth when Tommy Edman launched a two-run blast over the right field wall with Kolten Wong (walk) aboard. It was the third baseman’s second home run in three games and only his third of the season.
Paul Goldschmidt accounted for his team’s last run, following Edman’s bomb with a single to center. A passed ball and groundball out put the first baseman in position to score via a wild pitch. Goldschmidt’s two singles in three at bats were half of the Cardinals’ meager total of four hits.
St. Louis 6 vs. Minnesota 4 (Game 2, seven innings)
The Cardinals triumphed in the nightcap thanks to a truly odd third inning that had reporters checking the Elias Sports Bureau for similar occurrences.
St. Louis began the third facing a 2-0 deficit but the momentum swung their way by the end of the frame after the home team touched home five times but managed just one hit, a single, with runners in scoring position.
Matt Carpenter singled to open the inning but the bases were quickly filled after Matt Wieters was plunked and Harrison Bader walked. Tommy Edman became the first of eight Cardinals that inning to have a plate appearance with the bases loaded. (The last team to have eight or more straight plate appearances with the bases loaded in a game/inning was the Florida Marlins in 2009.)
Edman was hit by a pitch, a call that was reviewed and upheld, bringing Carpenter across home. Paul DeJong was issued a free pass, forcing Wieters in to tie the game at 2-2. Goldschmidt K’d swinging. Brad Miller hit a squibber toward the first baseman whose throw home arrived after Bader slid feet first across home.
Rangel Ravelo’s single to left drove in Edman, the team’s sole hit that inning with runners in scoring position. After Tyler O’Neill grounded into a force at home, Carpenter returned to the plate. His base-on-balls pushed Miller across home, making the score 5-2. The walk was the 600th of Carpenter’s career, tying him with The Rajah, Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, for seventh all-time in team history.
The third ended with yet another unusual feat – a 19-pitch at bat by Wieters ending in a fly out. That was the most pitches seen in a plate appearance by a Cardinals hitter dating back to 1988, the first time pitch counts were tracked. It was also the most in a bases-loaded situation and the third most overall in that span among Cardinals.
The home team managed just five hits in all, all singles, with the last one a sixth-inning RBI single by Kolten Wong. It drove in Edman, who had worked the last of his squad’s six free passes and scored two runs in Game 2. Every Cardinals starter except Tyler O’Neill reached base at least once via hit, walk or hit-by-pitch (Wieters).
Tuesday’s 29th man, up from the alternate camp, Daniel Ponce de Leon, tossed the initial three frames. The right-hander yielded two runs on five hits and a walk, both scores the result of one home run. Genesis Cabrera (W, 3-1) and John Gant each hurled a scoreless inning. Andrew Miller retired his first two batters but got the hook after hitting the next one. Giovanny Gallegos recorded his four save but not before giving up a solo shot in the seventh.
Wednesday’s game: Off
Thursday’s games: doubleheader vs. Detroit, 1:15 p.m. Game 1, RHP Jack Flaherty (2-1, 2.95) vs. TBA, Game 2 (45 minutes after Game 1), LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 0.64) vs. TBA, FS Midwest // KMOX // WIJR
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