photo: Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
A gutsy Sunday complete game by Adam Wainwright enabled the St. Louis Cardinals to break a four-game losing skid and salvage a 6-6 homestand. Our history feature outlines prior complete-game gems in Wainwright’s illustrious 15-year career.
In the first game of a three-game set against the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals bats were active as they defeated their cross-state visitors, 9-3.
The Redbirds got on the board in the first inning on a sac fly by Paul DeJong. Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt drew walks and Matt Carpenter was hit by a pitch to load the bases. DeJong drove in Edman on a fly ball to right field.
The score remained 1-0 until the fifth inning. Edman and Brad Miller singled, and Goldschmidt drove in Edman on an infield single. Carpenter walked and DeJong doubled to score Miller and Goldschmidt. Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch, then Dexter Fowler plated Carpenter and DeJong on a double to right field. The Cardinals led 6-0.
The Royals scored three in the top of the sixth to cut the Cardinals lead in half. In the bottom half of the inning, Miller singled, and Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run to left center field to make it 8-3. The Cardinals added on a run in the seventh on an Edman RBI single.
Starter Jack Flaherty tossed five scoreless innings with one hit allowed and three strikeouts. He threw 64 pitches, 41 for strikes.
Alex Reyes started the sixth but struggled. The right hander yielded three runs, two earned, and was replaced with one out in the inning by Austin Gomber. Gomber pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Jake Woodford hurled the final two scoreless innings. Flaherty earned the win.
St. Louis’ defense committed three errors, on throws by Brad Miller and Paul DeJong, and a fielding miscue by Tommy Edman. Harrison Bader stole his second base of the season.
The Cardinals were edged by the Royals in the second game of the series. A four-run burst was not enough to hold off the Royals offense.
Adam Wainwright took the mound to start. It was a struggle for the veteran right hander, but he kept his team in the game for seven innings. Wainwright allowed four runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked two. He threw 98 pitches, 62 for strikes.
John Gant relieved in the eighth and yielded the winning run. Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless ninth.
The offense put all four runs on the board in the third inning, but did not score again. Dylan Carlson singled and Harrison Bader drew a walk. Tommy Edman’s ground rule double plated both runners. The inning continued as Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk and Brad Miller singled to right to score Edman. Goldschmidt came in via an infield single by Paul DeJong.
DeJong went 3-for-4, all singles. The Redbirds had three extra base hits, a triple by Bader, and doubles by Edman and Molina.
Edman made a throwing error, his fourth miscue of the season. Carlson had an outfield assist at third base.
It was the Cardinals turn to win by a thin margin as they defeated the Royals in the rubber game of the series 6-5. This time the four-run surge came in the ninth, enabling St. Louis to overcome a 5-2 deficit.
The Royals took a 2-0 lead in the third, but the Redbirds cut the lead by one run in the bottom half of the inning. Kolten Wong drew a walk to lead off and Tommy Edman’s single advanced Wong to third base. Paul Goldschmidt followed with a sac fly. The Cardinals tied the game up at 2-2 in the fourth innings on an RBI double by Dylan Carlson.
The game remained tied until the top of the eighth when the Royals pulled ahead, 3-2. The Royals added two more runs for 5-2 lead in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Goldschmidt walked and Brad Miller hit a ground rule double. Paul DeJong walked to load the bases. Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch and Goldschmidt scored. Tyler O’Neill singled to plate Miller and DeJong. Molina advanced from second to third on a wild pitch and Carlson drew a walk to load the bases. Wong followed with a walk that pushed Molina in with the winning run.
Starter Dakota Hudson pitched six innings and gave up two runs on three hits. The right hander struck out three and walked three. He threw 83 pitches, 49 for strikes.
Genesis Cabrera relieved in the seventh and yielded one run on two hits. Alex Reyes tossed the final two innings and earned the win. Reyes yielded two runs on two hits, struck out two and walked two.
Molina had a passed ball and a throwing error in the field. Edman stole his first base of the season.
In the first game of a twin bill, the St. Louis Cardinals were edged by the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 in extra innings on Thursday afternoon at Busch Stadium. An eighth inning rally fell short for the Redbirds.
Left hander Kwang-Hyun Kim made the start and pitched six innings, yielding one unearned run on three hits. Kim fanned three, walked one, and threw 80 pitches, 52 for strikes.
Giovanny Gallegos took the seventh and tossed a scoreless frame with only one hit allowed. John Gant and Tyler Webb combined for the extra, eighth inning, as a shaky Gant gave up three runs, one earned, on two hits. After a runner started the inning on second base, a costly fielding error by third sacker Brad Miller led to the winning run. Webb recorded the final out. Gant was tagged with the loss.
St. Louis’ offense was kept off the board until the bottom of the fifth inning. Yadier Molina hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left center field to tie the game at 1-1.
After Pittsburgh took a 4-1 lead in the top of the eighth, the Cardinals rallied. The inning began with Dexter Fowler on second base, and Dylan Carlson led off with a single to left that moved Fowler to third. Kolten Wong added a sac fly to plate Fowler and it was 4-2.
Tommy Edman was next with a single to center field. With Carlson on second, Paul Goldschmidt singled to right and Carlson came home to make it 4-3. However, the rally ended there, as the next two Cardinals hitters, Brad Miller and pinch hitter Max Schrock, struck out to end the game.
In addition to the Miller fielding error, Wong also made a fielding miscue. Fowler was caught stealing for the first time this season.
Game 2 of the doubleheader began with rookie right hander Johan Oviedo on the mound for the Redbirds. Oviedo tossed two scoreless innings but ran into some trouble in the third. With one out, Oviedo issued a walk and gave up back to back singles that led to a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead. A third single plated a second run, and the Pirates were up 2-0, a lead they would not relinquish.
Oviedo tossed two more scoreless innings and was relieved by Austin Gomber. The left hander hurled the final two scoreless frames, yielded two hits, and struck out two. Gomber threw 20 pitches, 18 for strikes. Oviedo took the loss.
The St. Louis offense scattered just five hits over the seven innings. Paul Goldschmidt and Dylan Carlson each doubled, and Brad Miller tripled in the sixth but was stranded. Singles by Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina rounded out the meager five-hit effort. The offense was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base.
The two losses to the last-place Pirates dropped the Cardinals to 11-11, three games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division.
The St. Louis Cardinals met the Cleveland Indians in the first game of a three-game set on Friday night at Busch Stadium. The Indians pounded Redbirds pitching to the tune of a 14-2 drubbing.
Daniel Ponce de Leon made the start and didn’t make it out of the first inning. In 2/3 innings, the right-hander yielded four runs on two hits and walked four. Jake Woodford tossed 3 1/3 innings of relief, yielding two runs on five hits. The 23-year old righty fanned three and issued no free passes.
Junior Fernandez began the fifth and took a mound beating. In his first action off the COVID IL, the right-hander allowed six runs on six hits, walked two and struck out one. Cleveland tacked two more runs onto its tally off left hander Ricardo Sanchez, who hurled the sixth and seventh.
Tyler Webb pitched a scoreless eighth inning and infielder Max Schrock got the ball to pitch the ninth. Schrock retired all three batters he faced for a scoreless inning to close the game.
Scoring for the Cardinals was limited to a two-run home run in the second inning off the bat of Dexter Fowler. Paul DeJong went 3-for-4 and Brad Miller had the only other extra base hit, a double in the eighth inning and he was 2-for-3. With his two-base hit, Miller became the only Cardinals runner in scoring position all evening, but neither Matt Carpenter nor Schrock could bring him home.
On defense, Yadier Molina made a costly throwing error in the first inning on a stolen base attempt that led to a Cleveland run. The game also featured a 3-2-8 double play. Dylan Carlson made an outfield assist at second base but as a batter, he had three of the team’s five strikeouts.
Their third consecutive loss dropped the Cardinals to a record of 11-12. They remain three games back of the Chicago Cubs, who suffered a 6-5 loss to the Reds.
Saturday, August 29 – Cardinals 1, Indians 2 (12 innings)
In Saturday’s second of the three-game weekend set against Cleveland, the St. Louis Cardinals battled into extra innings but were finally edged by the visiting Indians due to a run in the top half of the 12th inning.
Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty tossed five innings, yielding one run on three hits. The right-hander fanned five and walked two. Flaherty threw 83 pitches, 53 for strikes and faced 20 batters in his five innings pitched.
Genesis Cabrera relieved for the sixth inning and gave up no runs and no hits. The 23-year old lefty struck out three and walked one. Another left hander, Austin Gomber, followed with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Gomber allowed one hit and walked two.
Next up in relief was Giovanny Gallegos who hurled 1 2/3 scoreless innings, with no hits, no walks, and one strikeout. John Gant started the first extra inning, and had a scoreless, no hit, one walk outing.
Alex Reyes closed out the final two innings, striking out three but relinquishing the winning run, unearned due to the runner starting on second base. He took the loss.
As in the first game of the series, there was a dearth of offense. Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-5 with a double and was the only Redbird with multiple hits. Matt Carpenter’s single in the seventh plated the only Cardinals run. Yadier Molina had the only other hit, a single. Batting ahead of Molina, Brad Miller was walked three times, two intentionally. Collectively, the Cardinals were a dismal 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Baserunning was another nemesis for St. Louis. In the 10th inning, the runner on second to start the inning, Paul DeJong, failed to tag up on a fly ball by Paul Goldschmidt. Brad Miller was intentionally walked, and the next batter, Yadier Molina, grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Another important baserunning mistake occurred in the 12th inning. Molina, the potential tying run, was on third and only one out as Matt Carpenter grounded toward first. Molina, apparently thinking the ball was foul when it was not, had taken off from third base and did not return there as Carpenter was retired. A quick throw over and Molina was caught in a rundown for the game-ending double play.
In the field, Molina had a passed ball and made a throwing error. Harrison Bader had an important outfield assist at home plate in the second inning.
St. Louis’ record now stands at 11-13 with this fourth consecutive loss and fifth in the last six games.
The Cardinals avoided being swept with a win over the Indians on Sunday at Busch Stadium in the third and final game of the series. Adam Wainwright, on his 39th birthday, pitched a complete game, his first since July 16, 2016.
Wainwright allowed two runs on four hits in his nine innings pitched. He fanned nine and walked two. It was a brilliant, memorable performance for the veteran. The right hander threw 122 pitches, 82 for strikes.
The Indians took an early 2-0 lead on a home run in the second inning, but it was lights for Wainwright going forward. In the bottom of the second, Paul DeJong singled, Yadier Molina singled, and Matt Carpenter walked to load the bases. Dexter Fowler to right to plate DeJong and Molina. Dylan Carlson followed with a single that scored Carpenter and Fowler to make it 4-2.
The Cardinals added on with one run in the third. Paul Goldschmidt doubled and advanced to third on a groundout by Brad Miller. Goldschmidt scored on a balk.
The score remained 5-2 until the seventh, when Fowler hit a solo home run to lead off the inning. In the eighth, DeJong hit a ground rule double and Molina singled to drive him home for the 7-2 final score. It was Molina’s 2000th game as a Cardinal, third all-time.
The Cardinals’ bats generated 11 hits on Sunday. DeJong led the way, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Fowler added a double to his long ball in three at bats, touching home twice and driving in three. Left fielder Tommy Edman joined Molina and Fowler with two hits.
Edman and Dylan Carlson were each caught stealing.
The Big Picture
The Cardinals ended a four-game losing streak with the Sunday win over Cleveland. The team took 2 of 3 from the Royals, lost both games of a doubleheader to Pittsburgh, and won 1 of 3 against Cleveland for a 3-5 week. The homestand ended at 6-6. The Cardinals remain in second place in the division, 3.5 games behind the Cubs.
Lack of offense and some uncharacteristic defensive issues were the main factors in the losses. Some baserunning blunders were also in the mix. The top OPS’s in the last seven days (not including Sunday’s game) were Harrison Bader with an OPS of 1.088, Brad Miller and Paul Goldschmidt at .947, Yadier Molina at .889, and Dylan Carlson at .806. While Miller, Goldschmidt, Molina, and Carlson have been full time starters in the last week, Bader has not. Tyler O’Neill and Kolten Wong struggled at the plate during the week.
Starting pitching has been mostly fine, with Jack Flaherty and Kwang-Hyun Kim the top starters for the week. Daniel Ponce de Leon struggled in his start and was optioned to the Alternate Training Site in Springfield, to be replaced in the rotation by rookie Johan Oviedo. In relief, Giovanny Gallegos and Austin Gomber have stood out, Alex Reyes has been up and down.
Defense has been shaky, with eight errors over the past week. Baserunning miscues by Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina in Saturday’s game were especially costly.
The Cardinals play in Cincinnati for three games to start the next week and then move to Chicago for a four game series. These will be a challenge for the Cardinals, but they need to make up some ground, especially against the Cubs.
NL Central Standings
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
As Monday’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline nears, there are no trade or acquisition rumors involving the Cardinals to report.
- 8/27 The Cardinals activated RHP Junior Fernandez from the injured list.
- 8/27 The Cardinals placed LHP Andrew Miller on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 24, 2020. Left shoulder fatigue.
- 8/27 The Cardinals optioned SS Edmundo Sosa to the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/27 The Cardinals recalled RHP Seth Elledge from the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/28 The Cardinals optioned RHP Seth Elledge to the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals recalled RHP Ryan Meisinger from the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals recalled 1B John Nogowski from the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals optioned 2B Max Schrock to the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals recalled RHP Rob Kaminsky from the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals recalled RHP Seth Elledge from the Alternate Training Site.
- 8/29 The Cardinals placed LHP Ricardo Sanchez on the 10-day injured list. Left elbow pain.
- RHP John Brebbia underwent Tommy John surgery on June 1. He will miss the entire 2020 season.
- RHP Jordan Hicks (Tommy John surgery) has opted out of the 2020 season.
- RHP Miles Mikolas (right forearm strain) had surgery and will miss the remainder of the season.
- RHP Junior Fernandez and SS Edmundo Sosa were activated from the injured list and optioned to the Alternate Training Site.
- RHP Carlos Martinez has been throwing to live hitters at the Alternate Training Site. The right hander is expected to be activated and make a start for one of the upcoming doubleheaders.
- RHP Ryan Helsley (COVID-19 positive) is throwing live batting practice. He is expected to be activated early in the week.
- RHP Kodi Whitley (COVID-19 positive) experienced discomfort in his right elbow during throwing sessions at the Alternate Training Site. He returned to St. Louis to receive a scan on his elbow.
- OFs Lane Thomas and Austin Dean (COVID-19 positive) continue to work out at the Alternate Training Site. No timetable for a return to the roster has been announced.
- 1B Rangel Ravelo (COVID-19 positive) has been sent to the Alternate Training Site and is getting live at bats as he works to return to the roster.
- C Matt Wieters remains on the 10-day injured list. Right great toe contusion. Wieters was running the bases and working out before Saturday’s game. He will make the road trip with the Cardinals and will be activated some time during it.
- LHP Ricardo Sanchez has been placed on the 10-day injured list. Left elbow pain.
- LHP Andrew Miller has been placed on the 10-day injured list. Left shoulder fatigue.
- LHP Genesis Cabrera left Saturday’s game with a cracked fingernail on his left middle finger. He hopes to return Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Cardinals head out on the road for a three-game series in Cincinnati beginning on Monday. Dakota Hudson is scheduled to make the Monday start, with Kim starting on Tuesday, and Oviedo on Wednesday.
The team has a travel day on Thursday before playing the Chicago Cubs in a four-game weekend set at Wrigley Field.
The Cardinals return home on Tuesday, September 8 for a doubleheader against the Twins at Busch Stadium.
After an off day a week from Wednesday, the Cardinals will face the Tigers in a doubleheader on Thursday.
Blast from the Past
On Sunday, veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright pitched a complete game against the Cleveland Indians on his 39th birthday. Wainwright’s 15-year career with the Cardinals features 23 complete games, including Sunday. This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at some of the memorable complete games in Wainwright’s career.
Wainwright pitched his first complete game on August 10, 2007 in a 2-1 loss to the Dodgers at Busch Stadium. In that outing, Wainwright gave up two runs on six hits, struck out five and walked one. The Dodgers scored on a two-run home run by 1B James Loney in the ninth inning.
Wainwright tossed one complete game in 2008 and 2009. He finished third in the Cy Young Award voting in 2009 with a record of 19-8 and an ERA of 2.63.
In 2010, Wainwright authored five complete games. He came in second in the Cy Young voting that year, with a record of 20-11 and an ERA of 2.42. On June 4, he pitched a complete game shutout against the Brewers in an 8-0 win. Wainwright allowed only two hits, struck out eight, and walked one.
On August 6, Wainwright spun another complete game shutout against the Marlins in a 7-0 victory. He again allowed only two hits, struck out seven, and walked three.
In 2013, Wainwright again twirled five complete games, and that year led the NL in complete games. He finished second again in the Cy Young voting, with a record of 19-9 and an ERA of 2.94. The right hander pitched another 8-0 complete game against the Brewers on April 13, and a 3-0 complete game against the Rockies on May 11.
Wainwright tossed five complete games and had a record of 20-9 and an ERA of 2.38 in 2014, finishing third in the Cy Young voting. That year, he pitched an 8-0 complete game against the Nationals on April 17, a 5-0 complete game against the Diamondbacks on May 20 and a 2-0 complete game over the Brewers on September 17.
Wainwright had no complete games in 2015, as he sat out most of that season with an Achilles tendon injury. His last complete game prior to Sunday’s win over Cleveland was on July 16, 2016, a 5-0 win over the Marlins. He gave up three hits, struck out five and walked two.
Wainwright has had a stellar career with the Cardinals and will no doubt be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame someday. He may not be finished, as he has said he would like to return for 2021. But whether or not 2020 is his final season, he is certainly one of the team’s top pitchers of all time.
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