The St. Louis Cardinals, one night removed from winning their 30th game of the season, headed into Wednesday night looking to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks, and keep their winning streak going before they had their first off day in a month.
And in another thrilling finish, St. Louis walked off with a 4-3 victory, as well as the sweep of Arizona.
But before the game started, more bad injury news struck the team: first baseman Matt Adams is expected to miss the rest of the season (at the very least, three months). Mark Reynolds will now be taking the place of Adams, as general manager John Mozeliak has made it clear he has no intention of making a trade.
Meanwhile, for Wednesday night’s game, the pitchers were Lance Lynn (3-4, 3.46) for St. Louis and Josh Collmenter (3-5, 5.19) for Arizona.
Second baseman Kolten Wong got things started in the bottom of the first, following a scoreless top half by Arizona, as he took the very first pitch Collmenter threw deep over the right field wall, as his sixth home run of the season gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the second inning, Lynn continued his strong start to the game, by pitching a 1-2-3 inning. St. Louis would score once again, this time in the bottom of the second. Following a ground-rule double by catcher Yadier Molina, Reynolds stepped up and singled sharply to center field, scoring Molina to make it 2-0 Cardinals.
The top of the third inning started with a fly out by Ender Inciarte, which was followed by A.J. Pollock walking. Paul Goldschmidt popped out to second base for the second out of the inning. Pollock then stole second base with Yasmany Tomas at the plate, but Tomas could not score Pollock, ending the inning. Collmenter pitched a 1-2-3 inning of his own as the teams would head to the fourth inning with the Cardinals still ahead by the score of 2-0.
Mark Trumbo led off the top of the fourth inning with a solo homer run, his second of the series, to put the Diamondbacks on the board, though still trailing 2-1. Lynn then got three straight outs, the last one being a strikeout of Nick Ahmed.
St. Louis, meanwhile, missed a golden opportunity to bust the game wide open in the bottom of the fourth. It started with a single by Jhonny Peralta, a double by Randal Grichuk, and with one out (a ground-out by Molina), Reynolds walked, bringing up Jason Heyward with one out and the bases loaded. Heyward wound up popping out, and Lynn flied out to end the inning and the threat.
While the fifth inning was scoreless for both teams, Matt Holliday made history during the bottom half of the fifth. After a single by Matt Carpenter, Holliday, who was riding an on-base streak of 42 straight games, needed just one more game to set the Cardinals team record, as well as the National League all-time record.
And that’s exactly what Holliday did.
He hit a single to center field, making it 43 straight games being on base, as the Busch Stadium crowd, and fans of both teams, stood up to acknowledge the historic achievement.
Heading into the sixth inning down a run, Arizona bounced back. After a strikeout by Trumbo, Cliff Pennington singled to right field, Tuffy Gosewisch grounded out, sending Pennington to second base. Gosewisch ended up hurting his knee on the play, and was tended to by team trainers. After the injury delay, Ahmed walked, and pinch-hitter for Collmenter, David Peralta, singled to right field. But a fielding error by Heyward scored not one, but two runs for Arizona, as they took a 3-2 lead.
Lynn was taken out before the seventh inning begun, and his final line for the evening was: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. Mitch Harris entered in relief for Lynn, pitching a shutout top of the seventh.
The score remained 3-2 as the game headed to the bottom of the ninth inning, with Diamondbacks’ reliever Brad Ziegler entered to attempt to close out the game. First up stepped Heyward, who struggled during the game and was looking for redemption.
And redemption he got.
With a pitch right down the middle, Heyward took the side-arm throw from Ziegler deep to right field, just barely staying fair, but just enough to tie the game. Pinch-hitter Peter Bourjos then singled, and Carpenter was intentionally walked, bringing up Holliday with one out. Holliday walked, and Peralta stepped up, looking for his second walk-off in three games.
Peralta grounded into the five-man infield, who threw out Bourjos, but an errand throw over first base allowed Carpenter to score, as the Cardinals walked off win a 4-3 victory.
The Cardinals improve to 31-16 with the win, and the Diamondbacks drop to 21-25 with the loss.
Seth Maness won his first game of the season, and Ziegler lost his first.
St. Louis is off tomorrow, but then start a big series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in which John Lackey will get the first start.
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)