photo: Michael Wacha (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)
In this week’s St. Louis Cardinals action, the club rebounded from a series loss in Milwaukee to take three of four at home from the Pirates, a set that included two walk-off wins and eight innings of no-hit pitching by Michael Wacha. In our history feature, Cardinals no-hitters are remembered.
In the first of three game in Milwaukee, the Cardinals were overmatched by the Brewers. St. Louis’ offense was held scoreless by starter Brent Suter until the fifth inning, when the Cardinals got to him with the long ball. Yairo Munoz blasted a two run home run to left center, and Matt Carpenter hit a solo shot to right. Those three runs were the only output for the game, however. Only Carpenter had multiple hits, as he was 2-for-4.
St. Louis starter Luke Weaver pitched four innings, giving up four runs on five hits. The right hander struck out three and walked two. Mike Mayers surrendered an additional run in two innings pitched. Brett Cecil yielded three runs in the seventh inning. Only John Brebbia pitched cleanly, tossing a scoreless eighth, but by then, the damage was done. Weaver suffered his fifth loss of the season.
Weaver made an error on a pickoff attempt and Tommy Pham committed a fielding error.
The Cardinals redeemed themselves in Game 2 of the series, backing up a good Michael Wacha start with some offense. Wacha pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up one run on two hits. The right hander’s only blemish was four walks and he fanned three. Sam Tuivailala got the final out of the seventh. Jordan Hicks pitched the last two scoreless innings. Wacha earned his sixth win.
A 3-for-4 game with a solo home run made Harrison Bader one of the offensive stars of the game. Bader hit the ball over the fence to begin a four-run second inning. Matt Carpenter drew a bases loaded walk to plate a second run. Jedd Gyorko drove in two on a single to center. Carpenter’s solo shot in the fourth gave the Cardinals the 5-0 lead. The Brewers scored one in the seventh, but the Cardinals answered in the eighth with a solo home run off the bat of Francisco Pena. Pena was 3-for-4 to match Bader. Gyorko was 2-for-5.
In the field, Carpenter made a throwing error.
The hugely anticipated post-Tommy John MLB debut for Alex Reyes ended in disappointment. The disappointment was not only for the loss, but for Reyes’ unfortunate shoulder injury that put him back on the disabled list after pitching only four innings. The four innings were scoreless, but they came at a price. Reyes allowed four hits, struck out two and walked two and was replaced in the fifth with John Gant. Gant pitched two innings and gave up one run. Tyler Lyons’ appearance was short, as he gave up a home run to his first batter. Lyons was immediately removed and replaced by Sam Tuivailala. Tuivailala gave up the winning run in his two innings of relief and took the loss.
The two St. Louis runs came in the seventh inning, on Harrison Bader’s solo home run and Tommy Pham’s sac fly. Dexter Fowler went 3-for-4 and Yairo Munoz was 2-for-4.
On the base paths, Munoz stole his first base of the season. Tuivailala committed a fielding error. Reyes picked a runner off first base.
The Cardinals returned to St. Louis to take on the Pirates in a four-game series, and in Game 1, the bats on both sides were on fire. The Cardinals outslugged the Bucs in the end.
The scoring began with a four-run first inning for the Redbirds. Dexter Fowler singled to score two, and Yairo Munoz plated two more on a double. The Pirates came back to tie it in the fifth, but the Cardinals answered in the bottom frame with a Greg Garcia RBI single. The Cardinals held serve until the eighth, when the Pirates put four on the board against relievers Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris.
But the Cardiac Cardinals were not done. Down 8-5 in the bottom of the ninth, Harrison Bader and Tommy Pham reached base, Bader on a double, and Pham via an error. Marcell Ozuna walked to load the bases. Pinch hitter Luke Voit singled to score Bader and Pham to make it a one-run game. Yairo Munoz blasted a three-run home run to center field to walk it off. Matt Carpenter was 2-for-5, Bader was 3-for-5, Fowler was 2-for-4, Munoz was 2-for-5, and Greg Garcia was 2-for-3.
The game started with Jack Flaherty on the mound. Flaherty pitched five innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits. The right hander fanned five and walked none. Tyler Lyons and John Brebbia combined for 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Jordan Hicks got the final out of the seventh and returned for the eighth. Hicks left the eighth having gotten two outs and allowing three runs. Bud Norris gave up another run without recording an out. Mike Mayers secured the final out of the eighth and returned to pitch a scoreless ninth to earn the win.
Bader stole his sixth big league base of the season. Flaherty made a fielding error on a pickoff. Munoz committed a fielding error and Fowler made a throwing error. Francisco Pena had a passed ball.
The Cardinals bats must have been tired after the previous game, as they were shut out by the Pirates, managing only four hits. Marcell Ozuna was 2-for-4, both singles. Jose Martinez had the only extra base hit, a double. Dexter Fowler singled.
Starter Miles Mikolas pitched six innings with no run support from his offense. The right hander gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits, striking out two and walking one. Sam Tuivailala surrendered two more runs in his 1 1/3 innings of relief. Mike Mayers and Brett Cecil combined for the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Mikolas was tagged with the loss, his first.
Yairo Munoz made a fielding error.
The Cardinals bounced back to take game three from the Pirates, in a low scoring, one run walk off victory. Luke Weaver made the start, and pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits. The righty struck out four and issued no free passes. Austin Gomber, making his big league debut, pitched three scoreless innings to keep St. Louis in the game. Bud Norris blew the save in the ninth, as a home run gave the lead to the Pirates. The lead was taken back in the ninth, however, and Norris got the win.
The Redbirds took the initial lead on Marcell Ozuna’s solo home run in the second inning. After the Bucs tied it up in the fifth, Tommy Pham hit an RBI single in the bottom frame to recapture the lead. The next three innings were scoreless on both sides, until the ninth, and the solo home run by Austin Meadows that gave the lead back to the Pirates. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth, and Kolten Wong came through, hitting a home run to right on the second pitch he saw for the walk off win.
The Cardinals made an easy grab of the fourth and final game of the series, behind brilliant pitching by Michael Wacha. Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth inning for the second time in his major league career. The no-hitter was broken up by the first batter of the ninth, with a clean single over the head of Kolten Wong. Wacha exited to the thunderous applause of a standing ovation, having pitched eight-plus scoreless, one hit innings. Jordan Hicks pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve Wacha’s seventh win of the season.
St. Louis scored the bulk of its runs in the first inning. Matt Carpenter did Matt Carpenter things by getting on base with a walk. Tommy Pham then did his thing and singled to center. Jose Martinez reached on an error by Pirates shortstop Sean Rodriguez. With the bases loaded, Marcell Ozuna blasted a grand slam to left field to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. St. Louis added a run in the eighth, on Yairo Munoz’ single. Pham was the only Cardinal with multiple hits, as he was 2-for-4.
Munoz stole his third base of the season.
The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 4-3, having lost a series to the Brewers but winning the series against the Pirates. The Cardinals have a record of 32-25 and stand 3.5 games back of the Brewers, and 1.5 games back of the second-place Cubs in the NL Central.
The week brought some minor faltering signs in the rotation, with young pitchers Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty making a couple of shaky starts. Wacha has been excellent, and Mikolas remains steady. The week also included the brief return of Alex Reyes to the rotation, but the injury bug has again bitten the young pitcher. Reyes is on the DL with a significant lat strain, which means another long stint out. Fortunately, Carlos Martinez will return to the rotation on Tuesday, along with Yadier Molina. Injuries have plagued the Cardinals this season, mostly among the pitching staff.
The bullpen was mostly fine, but the usual consistent Bud Norris has blown a couple of saves this past week. The return of Luke Gregerson and Matt Bowman to the bullpen is imminent, however.
Offense continues to be inconsistent. Carpenter has come out of his slump, as has Dexter Fowler. Tommy Pham and Marcell Ozuna are showing signs of life as well. Jose Martinez is slumping, and Kolten Wong continues to struggle at the plate, but dazzles with the glove.
The loss of Paul DeJong has greatly affected the infield defense. Yairo Munoz and Greg Garcia have been filling in at shortstop, but neither have been particularly effective there. Munoz has made several harmful errors at the position, but his efforts at the plate have overshadowed his defensive shortcomings. Jose Martinez still struggles to look passable at first base. Outfield defense has been fine, though Marcell Ozuna has made some errors and misplays in left field. Baserunning has been fine.
The Cardinals play three this week against a poor Marlins team. There is no reason the Cardinals shouldn’t sweep this series. The team then plays the last-place Reds, who they have been dominating all season. If the Cardinals can’t gain ground this coming week, there is something seriously wrong.
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Over the past seven games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
- Harrison Bader has an OPS of 1.216. He has two HRs, one double, and three RBI.
- Matt Carpenter has an OPS of .946. He has two HRs, two doubles and three RBI.
- Marcell Ozuna has an OPS of .955. He has one HR, and two RBI.
- Yairo Munoz has an OPS of .984. He has two HRs, one double, and eight RBI.
- Michael Wacha has an ERA of 1.35 and a WHIP of 0.90.
- Austin Gomber has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.
- Mike Mayers has an ERA of 2.25 and a WHIP of 1.25.
Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday games):
- Carson Kelly has an OPS of .125.
- Kolten Wong has an OPS of .167.
- Francisco Pena has an OPS of .312.
- Jose Martinez has an OPS of .317.
- Bud Norris has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
- Brett Cecil has an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 2.00.
- Tyler Lyons has an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 1.50.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last seven games (does not contain recent Sunday game):
- The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter.
- The number two hitter has been Jose Martinez for two games, Harrison Bader for two games, Jedd Gyorko for two games, and Greg Garcia for one game.
- The number three hitter has been Tommy Pham for five games, and Martinez for two games.
- The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna for four games, Martinez for one game, Jedd Gyorko for one game, and Tyler O’Neill for one game.
- The fifth hitter has been Dexter Fowler for two games, Bader for two games, Ozuna for one game, Gyorko for one game, and O’Neill for one game.
- The sixth hitter has been Yairo Munoz for three games, Fowler for two games, Kolten Wong for one game, and Bader for one game.
- The seventh hitter has been Munoz for three games, Wong for three games, and Greg Garcia for one game.
- The eighth hitter has been Francisco Pena for four games, and Carson Kelly for three games.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 5/30 The Cardinals activated RHP Alex Reyes from the 60 day disabled list.
- 5/30 The Cardinals transferred RHP Dominic Leone from the 10 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list. Right upper arm nerve irritation.
- 5/30 The Cardinals optioned RHP Mike Mayers to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/31 The Cardinals placed RHP Alex Reyes on the 10 day disabled list. Right lat strain.
- 5/31 The Cardinals sent RHP Carlos Martinez on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
- 5/31 The Cardinals optioned OF Tyler O’Neill to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/31 The Cardinals optioned RHP John Gant to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/31 The Cardinals recalled 1B Luke Voit from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/31 The Cardinals recalled LHP Austin Gomber from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 5/31 The Cardinals recalled RHP Mike Mayers from the Memphis Redbirds.
- 6/2 The Cardinals sent C Yadier Molina on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals.
- RHP Dominic Leone (right upper arm nerve irritation) has been placed on the 10-day DL. Further tests revealed some nerve damage, but no surgery is required. Leone is expected to be out for an indefinite period. Leone has engaged in strength training and other rehab exercises but has not been cleared for any baseball activity.
- C Yadier Molina (pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma) was sent on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals on June 2. Molina is expected to be return to the active roster and lineup on Tuesday, June 5.
- RHP Carlos Martinez (right lat strain) was placed on the 10 day DL retroactive to May 9. Martinez was sent on a rehab assignment to the Springfield Cardinals and is scheduled to be activated and start on Tuesday, June 5 against the Marlins.
- RHP Alex Reyes (right lat strain) was activated from the 60-day DL and made a start on Wednesday, May 30. Reyes pitched four innings and was removed. It was later announced Reyes suffered a significant lat strain and was placed on the 10-day DL. Reyes is scheduled to see a doctor this week for a second opinion. It is expected Reyes will be out for a lengthy period of time.
- RHP Adam Wainwright (right elbow inflammation) continues on the 60-day DL. There is expectation that Wainwright will return later in the 2018 season.
- RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) continues on the 10-day DL. Gregerson has pitched bullpen sessions and could return to the roster sometime during the week of June 4.
- SS Paul DeJong (fractured left hand) continues to recover from hand surgery. No timetable for his return has been announced.
- RHP Matt Bowman remains on the 10-day DL with blisters on two fingers of his pitching hand. The right hander has thrown two bullpens, the most recent on Saturday. The right hander could be sent on a rehab assignment during the week of June 4.
- RHP Greg Holland (right hip impingement) continues on the 10-day DL. No timetable for his return has been announced.
The Cardinals begin the week with an off day Monday. Beginning Tuesday, the Cardinals take on the Miami Marlins for a three-game series at Busch Stadium. Carlos Martinez is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list and make the start on Tuesday. Jack Flaherty is scheduled for the Wednesday start, followed by Miles Mikolas on Thursday.
The Cardinals leave St. Louis on Thursday and travel to Cincinnati for a weekend series with the Reds, then return to St. Louis to begin a three-game set at Busch Stadium against the Padres.
The Cardinals have another off day on Thursday, June 14. The Cubs come to Busch Stadium on Friday the 15th for a weekend series.
Following the Cubs series, the Cardinals travel to Philadelphia to play the Phillies in a three-game set. The team then travels to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers from June 21-24.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
In Sunday’s game against the Pirates, Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the ninth inning for the second time in his career. On September 24, 2013, Wacha was one out away from a no-hitter against the Washington Nationals at Busch Stadium. The no-hitter was broken up by an infield single by Ryan Zimmerman. In Sunday’s game, the no-hitter was broken up by the first batter of the inning, Colin Moran, who lined a clean single over the head of second baseman Kolten Wong.
The Cardinals have had nine no-hitters in the history of the franchise. The first no-hitter was pitched by Jesse Haines on July 17, 1924. The opponent was the Boston Braves. The Cardinals won the game, 5-0. “Pop” Haines pitched for the Cardinals from 1920-1937, a period which included three World Championships.
The St. Louis no-hitter occurred on September 21, 1934 in the second game of a doubleheader against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The no-hit hurler was Paul Dean, nicknamed “Daffy” and the brother of Jay “Dizzy” Dean, the more famous Cardinal pitcher of the siblings. Paul Dean tossed the no-hitter during his rookie season.
Lon Warnecke pitched a no-hitter for the Cardinals on August 30, 1941 against the Cincinnati Reds. The next no-hitter occurred on September 18, 1968 against the San Francisco Giants in Candlestick Park. The author of that no-hitter was Ray Washburn.
Three years later, Bob Gibson pitched the only no-hitter of his career on August 14, 1971 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The only Cardinals pitcher to toss multiple no-hitters was Bob Forsch. His first was on April 16, 1978 against the Philadelphia Phillies and the second occurred on September 26, 1983 against the Montreal Expos.
Jose Jimenez threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 25, 1999 in his rookie season, and defeated Diamondbacks pitcher and future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, 1-0.
The most recent Cardinals no hitter occurred on September 3, 2001 with Bud Smith on the mound. Smith, also in his rookie year, defeated the San Diego Padres, 4-0. Smith gave up four walks and threw 134 pitches. Smith’s career was short; he was traded mid-season 2002 to the Phillies as part of the take for Scott Rolen, but never appeared in a major league game again.
No St. Louis pitcher has pitched a no-hitter since Smith’s 2001 gem.
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