It wasn’t a great MLB debut for Cardinals’ rookie pitcher Tim Cooney on Thursday afternoon, but the offense, namely the trio of Matts, which has sparked as of late, continued to roll.
Cooney, 24, took over the fifth spot in the rotation (at least, for now) to fill up the rotation after Adam Wainwright’s injury. While he was on the mound for the Cardinals, David Buchanan (0-4, 7.52) was on the mound for the Phillies, who looked to snap their two game losing streak to St. Louis.
The top of the first started with a couple base hits by Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis, but Cooney would eventually get Jeff Francoeur to strike out, for the first strikeout of his MLB career. As for the bottom of the first, the Cardinals didn’t hesitate to start scoring early. Jon Jay singled to right field, which was followed by a Matt Carpenter double, scoring Jay, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Matt Holliday then doubled to right, scoring Carpenter. Matt Adams then singled, putting runners at the corners and Jason Heyward at the plate.
And while Heyward hit into a double play, Holliday still scored, giving St. Louis a 3-0 lead, which would remain until the top of the second, when, after two consecutive strikeouts by Cooney, Herrera would score Roberto Hernandez, who walked to lead off the inning.
Robinson would pitch a scoreless second inning, as the teams headed to the third with the score 3-1 St. Louis.
But that Cardinal lead wouldn’t last long, as in the third, Darin Ruf would lead off with a home run, cutting the lead to 3-2, followed by a double from Ryan Howard. He would advance to third after a Hernandez single. Cody Asche then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard, and tying the game at 3-3. And that would be the last out for Cooney, as the Cardinals would bring in
Tim Cooney’s final line in his first Major League start: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (52 pitches/28 strikes).
Carlos Villanueva entered the game for St. Louis, starting off by pitching to Cameron Rupp. Before the inning ended, however, Yadier Molina did what he does best, throwing out Hernandez trying to steal second, ending the top of the third.
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the third, and following a Carpenter walk, with one “Big City” swing of the bat, Adams would give the Cardinals the lead, and they would not let go of it.
On the mound, Villanueva would continue to shut down the Phillies’ lineup, as Philadelphia could not gain any momentum throughout the game, despite being able to tie it up earlier.
During the bottom of the fifth inning, Carpenter would walk, bringing up Holliday who, once again, doubled (this time to left field) to score Carpenter, and give the Cardinals a 6-3 lead. Adams stepped up to bat, and singled home Holliday, as the trio of Matts provided a major spark in the St. Louis lineup, now with a 7-3 lead.
Justin De Fratus relieved Jake Diekman for the Phillies during the bottom of the sixth inning, and would pitch a shutout inning. The Cardinals would bring it Matt Belisle to relieve Villanueva, who pitched shutout baseball throughout his relief appearance of Cooney. Belisle, meanwhile would pick up right where Villanueva left off, pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Randy Choate entered in the eighth to get one out, that out being Howard, and Seth Maness entered to finish off the eighth inning, as both pitchers threw scoreless baseball.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Luis Garcia entered in relief for Philadelphia, as they trailed by four. After two groundouts by Molina and Kolten Wong, Pete Kozma walked, and Peter Bourjos singled to right. Jay would single to left, scoring Kozma, putting runners at first and second. Carpenter then got an infield single, loading the bases for Jhonny Peralta, who would walk, bringing in another run, as the score was now 9-3.
And after a non-save shutout ninth inning by Kevin Siegrist, that was what the final score wound up being.
St. Louis not only won the series 3-1, but they improved to 15-6 on the season, and Philadelphia fell to 8-15, as they continue to dwell in the National League East as April draws to a close.
Villanueva picked up his second win of the season, while Robinson lost his fifth game, as he is still win-less in 2015.
While the lineup as a whole has picked up over the past week, it’s the trio of Carpenter, Holliday, and Adams that has stood out the most. During this four game series, the “Matt trifecta” went 20-44, one HR, 11 XBH, and 13 RBI.
Lance Lynn will get the start for the Cardinals as they look to continue the impressive home-stand as the rival Pittsburgh Pirates come to town tomorrow night.
(AP Photo/Bill Boyce)