St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of April 29-May 5

photo: Kris Bryant and Matt Carpenter (Quinn Harris/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals went 3-4 on the week, winning the series in Washington, but swept out of Chicago and into second place. Slumping Matt Carpenter went 5-for-10 to close out the weekend. In our weekly history feature, the Cardinals’ greatest ninth inning comeback of all time is remembered.


Game recaps

Monday, April 29 – Cardinals 6 at Nationals 3

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

In the first game of a four game road series, the Cardinals topped the Nationals 6-3.  Michael Wacha made the start and pitched five innings, giving up three runs on four hits.  The right hander struck out five and walked three.  Giovanny Gallegos followed with two scoreless innings of relief.  John Brebbia pitched a scoreless eighth, and Jordan Hicks tossed a scoreless ninth.

The Nationals took the 3-0 lead early as the Cardinals were held scoreless until the fifth inning.  Harrison Bader hit a solo home run to center field to get St. Louis on the board.  After Matt Carpenter walked, Paul Goldschmidt singled, and Paul DeJong walked to load the bases, Carpenter scored on a wild pitch.  Marcell Ozuna singled, Goldschmidt and DeJong came home.  Ozuna scored on a Jose Martinez double, and Martinez scored on a Yadier Molina single to bring the score to 6-3.

Ozuna, Martinez, and Bader each had two hits.  Bader was caught stealing for the second time in the season.


Tuesday, April 30 – Cardinals 3 at Nationals 2

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were victorious in the second game of the series, edging the Nationals by a run. As in the Game 1, the Nationals took the early lead before St. Louis came back.  With his team down 2-0 in the fourth inning, Kolten Wong’s bunt single with the bases loaded scored Paul DeJong.  With the bases still loaded, Harrison Bader’s line drive single to center, plated two.  Wong and Jose Martinez each had two hits in the game.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits. Two of the hits were home runs.  The right hander fanned five and walked two.  Tyler Webb, John Gant, and Andrew Miller combined to pitch the final 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Wong stole his fifth base of the season, but also made a fielding error.


Wednesday, May 1 – Cardinals 5 at Nationals 1

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The winning continued for the Redbirds in the third game of the series.  This time, St. Louis took the lead early with three runs in the first inning.  Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong hit back to back singles.  Marcell Ozuna doubled to right and Goldschmidt scored. Jose Martinez followed with a single to center that plated DeJong and Ozuna.

The Nats scored a run in the fourth, and the score remained 3-1 until the eighth inning.  Ozuna drew a leadoff walk and later scored on Yadier Molina’s single.  Jose Martinez singled, and a fielding error on a Harrison Bader fielder’s choice sent Martinez home.

Goldschmidt and Martinez each had two hits.  Ozuna had three hits and scored twice.

Starter Miles Mikolas tossed six innings and gave up one run on seven hits while fanning four and walking one.  Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless seventh and John Brebbia hurled the final two scoreless innings.


Thursday, May 2 – Cardinals 1 at Nationals 2

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Resting three starters prior to the Cubs series, the Cardinals failed to complete the sweep, falling to the Nats in a tough one-run loss.  Starter Dakota Hudson tossed six innings and surrendered two runs, one earned, on four hits.  The right hander struck out seven and walked two.   Dominic Leone and Tyler Webb combined for the final two scoreless innings of relief.

The offense got on the board first with a run in the third.  It would be their only run of the game. Yairo Munoz singled and later scored on Kolten Wong’s single.  Yairo Munoz had a nice day at the plate, going 3-for-4.  Jedd Gyorko was 2-for-5.

Wong stole his sixth base of the season, and Gyorko stole his first.  Matt Wieters was picked off second base.  Munoz committed a fielding error and Gyorko had a throwing miscue.


Friday, May 3 – Cardinals 0 at Cubs 4

In the first series against the Cubs of the season, the Cardinals were blanked 4-0 in Wrigley on Friday afternoon.  The Cardinals offense couldn’t figure out Kyle Hendricks, who pitched a “Maddux” against them, 81 pitches in nine innings.  St. Louis hitters scattered only four hits, singles from Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler, Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong.

Starter Jack Flaherty went 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on four hits. The right hander fanned nine and walked four.  Giovanny Gallegos surrendered one run in 1 1/3 innings of relief.  Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless eighth.

Flaherty stole his first base of the season.  Harrison Bader was picked off and caught stealing for the third time in the season.  Gallegos picked Anthony Rizzo off third base.  Yadier Molina had a passed ball.


Saturday, May 4 – Cardinals 5 at Cubs 6

The Cardinals lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, a one run loss to the Cubs late in the game.  The Cardinals took a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning, but an unfortunate pitch by Michael Wacha to the Cubs’ backup catcher resulted in a grand slam and a tied game.  The bases became loaded because Cardinals manager Mike Shildt made the decision to walk Kyle Schwarber ahead of backup catcher Taylor Davis, a textbook move that came back to bite.  Wacha went five innings and gave up five runs, four earned, on six hits.  Wacha fanned four and walked four.  John Gant and Andrew Miller added a scoreless sixth and seventh.  John Brebbia surrendered the winning run, a solo home run to Javier Baez, in the eighth.

The Cardinals initially fell behind 1-0 but tied it up in the second inning on a solo home run by Jose Martinez.  In the third, Matt Carpenter’s double plated a second run. Wacha added a two run single in the fourth, and Carpenter followed with an RBI single.  The Cardinals led 5-1 at that point but would not score again.  Carpenter broke his slump with three hits.  Wacha and Jose Martinez each had two.

Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and Dexter Fowler each stole their second base of the season.  Paul DeJong stole his third base.  Fowler made a fielding error.  Martinez had an outfield assist.


Sunday, May 5 – Cardinals 5 at Cubs 13

The Cardinals handed first place over to the Cubs with a trouncing at the hands of their arch rivals in Chicago on Sunday night.  It was a sweep at Wrigley Field, and the fourth St. Louis loss in a row.

Adam Wainwright had the start, and it wasn’t his best.  He gave up five runs on five hits, one a home run, struck out two and walked two in five innings.  Wainwright started the sixth, but gave up two singles and a double, and was replaced by John Gant, who surrendered a run.  Luke Gregerson, fresh off the IL, gave up a run in the seventh before Tyler Webb got the last out of the inning.  The eighth belonged to Dominic Leone, who allowed six runs on four hits, including a grand slam.  Giovanny Gallegos got the final out of the inning.

The Cardinals offense couldn’t get anything going against Cubs starter Jose Quintana until the sixth inning, when they finally broke through on Marcell Ozuna’s double to left that plated two.  They wouldn’t score again until it was too late.  In the ninth, Matt Carpenter singled, and Paul DeJong hit a two run home run to make the score 13-4.  A solo home run by Ozuna made it 13-5, and that is where it stood when the last out was made.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals played well against the Nationals to begin the week, winning 3 of 4.  It all fell apart at Wrigley Field, where they were swept by the Cubs in commanding fashion.  The Cardinals fell out of first place to the Cubs after the loss on Sunday night.

As well as the Cardinals played against the Nationals, it was cancelled out by very poor play against the Cubs.  When they could score runs, the pitching gave them back.  The home run continues to haunt the pitching staff.

There were some poor defensive plays and some outs on the base paths in the Cubs series that didn’t help.  All told, the Cardinals did not play well at Wrigley Field.

After missing the Nats series with a virus, Dexter Fowler returned to the lineup, supplanting Harrison Bader in center. Jose Martinez has been starting regularly in right.

The Cardinals return home for a seven game homestand against the two MLB clubs from Pennsylvania.  Perhaps home cooking will set the Cardinals back on the right path.


NL Central Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Chicago 19 12 0.613
St. Louis 20 14 0.588 0.5
Milwaukee 20 16 0.556 1.5
Pittsburgh 16 15 0.516 3
Cincinnati 14 20 0.412 6.5

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 4/29 The Cardinals activated RHP Michael Wacha from the 10 day injured list.
  • 4/29 The Cardinals optioned RHP Ryan Helsley to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/2 The Cardinals traded C Francisco Pena to the San Francisco Giants for cash.
  • 5/4 The Cardinals activated RHP Luke Gregerson from the 10 day injured list.
  • 5/4 The Cardinals optioned LF Tyler O’Neill to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 5/5 The Cardinals sent RHP Carlos Martinez on a rehab assignment to the Peoria Chiefs.

Injury Report

  • RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder cuff strain) has been sent on a rehab assignment to the Peoria Chiefs. He threw a 1-2-3 inning Sunday night, inducing three infield grounders on six pitches. A return sometime in May is expected, likely in a relief role.
  • LHP Brett Cecil (left arm fatigue) was placed on the 60-day injured list on March 28. Cecil has been shut down from throwing for an indefinite period following surgery to address carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • LF Justin Williams (fractured right hand) is close to a return from the injured list. Williams will likely be cleared to leave extended spring training by mid-May.  Williams will be sent to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • RHP Mike Mayers (right shoulder lat strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list on April 16. Mayers will be out indefinitely and any return will likely not come until after the All Star break.

Looking Ahead

The Redbirds host the Phillies and Pirates this coming week in a seven-game homestand.  On Monday the Cardinals begin a three games series against the Phillies. Miles Mikolas is scheduled for the Monday start, followed by Dakota Hudson on Tuesday and Jack Flaherty on Wednesday.

On Thursday the Pirates come to town for a four-game set.  The Cardinals will take Monday, May 12 to travel to Atlanta to play the Braves in a three game series starting Tuesday.  Next stop will be Arlington, Texas for an interleague series with the Rangers.

After another Monday travel day on the 19th, the Cardinals return home to continue interleague play with a two game series against the Royals.

There is a second off day on Thursday after Royals series, then on Friday the Braves come to St. Louis for a weekend series.

The Cardinals’ Regular Season schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

The Cardinals suffered a trouncing at the hands of the Cubs on Sunday night, losing 13-5 to their arch rivals.  The Cardinals attempted a ninth inning comeback with three runs on two home runs, but the effort fell short.

This week’s blast from the past remembers a ninth inning comeback that succeeded, a comeback in the ninth that was the greatest in franchise history.  This game occurred on May 2, 2005 at Great American Ballpark against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals entered the ninth behind 9-3, facing Reds reliever David Weathers.  Yadier Molina drew a walk.  Pinch hitter Abraham Nunez also walked.  Shortstop and leadoff hitter David Eckstein then hit a single to right field to load the bases.

Roger Cedeno struck out looking.  Albert Pujols followed with a ground out, force play that scored Molina, with Eckstein out at second.  It was 9-4.

Left fielder Reggie Sanders came to the plate with Nunez on third and Pujols on first.  Sanders hit a line drive single to left field and Nunez scored.  It was now 9-5.

The Reds replaced Weathers with reliever Danny Graves.  Up to the plate came CF Jim Edmonds.  On a 1-1 pitch from Graves, Edmonds tattooed a pitch over the wall in right center field for a three-run home run.  Score was now 9-8.

John Mabry (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Mark Grudzielanek reached on an error by the first baseman and advanced to second.  Up to the plate came John Mabry, who hit a two-run home run on the first pitch from Graves.  The Cardinals led 10-9.

The Cardinals had batted around, with Molina up again. He singled on a ground ball to second and Nunez did the same. Finally, Eckstein flied out to right field to end the inning.

The Reds failed to score in the bottom of the ninth against Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez and that was the ball game.  The Cardinals come back from a six-run deficit to win by one run, thus mounting the greatest ninth inning comeback in the history of the franchise.

However, history did not repeat itself against the Cubs on Sunday night.


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