Tuesday Night Preview:
After taking the series finale against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals embarked on a trip to Cleveland, squaring off against the Indians for a brief two game series beginning Tuesday @ 6:10 PM CDT.
St. Louis has started to figure things out. Following a frustrating first half, the Cardinals have been hitting their stride as of late. Despite the 6-4 record over the past ten games, the starting rotation has been going deeper and the offense has lit up as well. Pitching and offense, two critical aspects of a winning formula.
For Cleveland, they continue their homestand after dropping three out of four to Tampa Bay this past week. The Indians have scuffled just as much as the Cardinals, as they sit 8.5 games back of the White Sox in the AL Central entering Tuesday.
St. Louis coming in is in third place and eight games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. Losing two of three to the Reds certainly dampers their chances of regaining a substantial lead, or at least tying things up and making it interesting.
Nonetheless, this two game series is vital for both the Cardinals and Indians, two teams who are in similar positions looking to gain some traction over the next couple months.
Adam Wainwright, coming off a seven inning one run performance in his last outing against the Cubs, would get the ball for game one. Wainwright has been the anchor for a Cardinals starting rotation which has battled injury and instability. St. Louis is hopeful to add Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas back after their rehab assignments in Memphis, but for now, Waino is the ace of the squad.
Cleveland would send out Cal Quantrill. Quantrill has pitched in 28 games for the Indians, but is making just his 11th start of the season. His prior outing against the Rays saw him work six innings allowing one run off four hits with three walks and a couple strikeouts. Quantrill has also been a steady arm for an Indians rotation that is absent of Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale. He’d look to continue his fine work against the Cardinals.
Both Wainwright and Quantrill kicked off the action retiring the first six batters they faced. Harrison Bader ended that streak, hitting a ball sharply just over the right field wall for a home run, giving St. Louis an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third. For Bader, it was his first opposite field home run of the season, and it was the 5th of such type of his career.
Stay hot, Harrison! pic.twitter.com/EMYBcCsCKi
The Indians had an opportunity to tie the game during the bottom half of the third after a lead off single by Bradley Zimmer, and a ground ball out by Roberto Perez which advanced Zimmer over to second base. Wainwright caught Daniel Johnson looking on strikes after he was ahead in the count 3-1, and Cesar Hernandez flew out to O’Neill, ending the Cleveland threat.
In the home half of the fourth, Jose Ramirez put the Indians on top with his 21st home run of the season, making it 2-1 Cleveland. Wainwright bounced back, as the Indians would go one two three after the two run shot by Ramirez.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Bader scorched a ball down the left field line on a 3-0 count, sending Matt Carpenter to the plate with a chance to tie the game for St. Louis. Unfortunately, Carpenter hit a ball softly to the shifted second baseman Hernandez for the third out.
Amed Rosario came to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Rosario hit a ball hard to Nolan Arenado who threw it to second for the force out, closing the book on another scoring opportunity for the Indians.
Back Half of the Action:
Back-to-back singles from Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt set up a chance for Arenado to tie or take the lead for the Cardinals in the top of the sixth. Arenado would draw a one out walk, loading the bases for O’Neill, who could break things wide open with one swing of the bat. O’Neill would hit a ball right in front of the plate that Quantrill would quickly scoop up and throw to Perez for the force out.
After the play, the Indians training staff came in to check on Quantrill, who came up hopping around after making the force out at the plate. He would end up staying in the game, but the pitch count for Quantrill was at 87, so his night would soon be over.
Yadier Molina with the bases loaded and two outs lined a ball to Harold Ramirez in left, stranding three for St. Louis and getting Quantrill out of the jam.
Wainwright walked the lead off batter Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the sixth, but in the next at-bat, Franmil Reyes on a 3-2 count struck out and Molina caught Ramirez stealing for a struck him out throw him out double play. Another strikeout by Bobby Bradley made it seven Ks on the night by Waino.
St. Louis Cardinals on Twitter: “We all know how this one ends… pic.twitter.com/TxFm30kwBv / Twitter”
We all know how this one ends… pic.twitter.com/TxFm30kwBv
Tommy Edman made a huge mistake for St. Louis in the top of seventh. After hitting a ball in the right center field gap, the throw back in was bobbled by the cut off man, giving Edman a chance to get to third, but he stumbled around second and was thrown out a third by a mile.
That play would loom large as Carpenter with two outs hit a single to center, a single which could’ve tied the game. In the next at-bat, Paul DeJong came through when the Cardinals needed it the most with a go-ahead two run home run, giving St. Louis a 3-2 lead.
The Cardinals would have chance late to add to their 3-2 lead. Bader continued his hot night with a two out double off the wall in left center field. Three consecutive walks by Jose Rondon, DeJong, and Carlson would give St. Louis an insurance run in the top of the ninth. The score was now 4-2, with more potential damage in sight.
Goldschmidt would promptly strikeout swinging, setting up a save opportunity for Alex Reyes. Reyes recorded the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but he’d hit Bradley, sending the tying run to the plate for Cleveland. The hit-by-pitch would be all for not as Harold Ramirez flew out to Bader to seal things for St. Louis in game one.
The Cardinals behind a terrific pitching performance by Adam Wainwright take game one against the Indians by the final of 4-2. Wainwright went seven innings allowing just two runs and struck out eight. Another notable performance was from the red-hot Harrison Bader. Bader went 3-4 with a home run, two doubles, and two runs scored.
Overall, St. Louis made quick work of Cleveland. The action from the buckeye state will continue tomorrow @ 12:10 PM CDT. Kwang Hyun Kim will face Zach Plesac.
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