St. Louis — It was an immediate turnaround for both the Cubs and Cardinals, as they would face off in game three of four Wednesday night. After one of the toughest defeats of the season, Adam Wainwright would be on the hill to help right the ship. Wainwright in his last outing went six full innings, but took the loss in a 7-2 vanquish against the Giants.
“Stuff was ok,” said Wainwright in his post game interview. “Nothing was great and I’ve got to start getting hits. I’m killing this team with my offense. I know people will laugh when I say that, but it’s pathetic and I’m sick of it and I’m going to work really hard.”
Kyle Hendricks, who throughout his career has dominated against St. Louis, would have the opportunity to extend his hot streak against the Redbirds. Hendricks went six innings with one earned run off six hits, three walks, and four Ks in his last outing vs. Arizona on July 16th. Things were shaping up to be a classic pitchers duel on Wednesday.
Both starters have been the aces of their respective staffs. Waino, 39 years old, in 18 starts is 7-6 and has posted a 3.71 ERA with 106 Ks in 111.2 IP. He leads St. Louis in several pitching categories, including ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, opponent batting average, and innings. Wainwright has been a tone setter for a rotation that has been riddled with injuries and inconsistency.
Hendricks has performed in a similar fashion, making 19 starts for Chicago with a 12-4 record and a 3.65 ERA in 111 IP with 84 Ks. “The Professor,” as he’s nicknamed, will not overpower you by any means, but utilizing a 2-seam fastball that compares to one Greg Maddux will make you stand out. He also mixes in a wipeout changeup.
Outside of Hendricks, the Cubs pitching staff hasn’t been consistent enough either. Their strong suit is their bullpen. A 3.45 bullpen ERA ranks in the top five in the MLB.
Action From Game Three
The game would start with a lead off hit from Rafael Ortega. Wilson Contreras followed with a deep fly ball hit out to center. OF Harrison Bader raced back, leaped, and snagged the ball up against the wall. The crowd was loving it, and so was Bader. Anthony Rizzo would proceed to fly out to Dylan Carlson, and after a stolen base from Ortega, Javier Baez struck out swinging.
In the bottom of the first, Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a double out to left, just over the leftfielder Ian Happ’s head. Unfortunately, the Cardinals couldn’t grab an early lead off Hendricks. The second inning would be quite for both teams, as both Wainwright and Hendricks were settling into the game.
The Cubs would get on the board in the top of the third, courtesy of a one out stand up triple by Ortega that scored Nico Hoerner, who lead off the inning with a soft single out to right. Wainwright hit Contreras that ricocheted off Contreras and caught Yadier Molina on his mask. Surprisingly, Molina said he was alright, but the Cardinals faced a tough situation with runners at first and third with one out and Anthony Rizzo coming to the plate.
Rizzo popped up in foul territory to Nolan Arenado who made the catch. A huge out for Waino and the Cardinals. With Baez at the plate, Wainwright stepped off the plate and forced Ortega at third to get into a run down. Between Molina and Arenado, they would get Ortega to run out of the inning. It’s not clear if this was a designed play, but the Cardinals were not complaining as they escaped the jam.
Bader lead off the bottom of the third with a single to center, but got a little too greedy trying to stretch it into a double. Nothing more would come out of the inning. Not much else happened in the fourth inning. In the home half, Arenado lined a one out base hit to center, but Tyler O’Neill and Molina would pop out to conclude the threat.
Jason Heyward started off the fifth with a double hit into the gap in right center. Heyward would advance over to third over a lineout from Hoerner. Wainwright would record a big strikeout of his counterpart Hendricks and Ortega hit a ball sharply to DeJong who fielded it off a tough hop to get the third out.
The Cardinals got a rally going in the bottom of the fifth. Tommy Edman hit a one out single and Harrison Bader singled to center, and with the aggressive base running by Edman, he’d reach third, making it first and third with one out and Waino coming to the plate.
A bunt in the air pushed towards Hendricks would advance Bader to second, but it wasn’t enough to get the ball away from the pitcher to allow Edman to score. Not ideal, but a good bunt nonetheless. Hendricks got Carlson to strike out looking on a pitch off the right side of the plate. Carlson would argue with homeplate umpire Jeff Nelson to no avail.
Mike Shildt joined Carlson in the argument. Jeff Nelson heard enough and ejected the Cardinal’s skipper. Shildt had a legitimate argument as a similar pitch was called a ball in the Cubs favor earlier in the game. The ejection got the St. Louis crowd pumped up and it was a message to the players saying to get a sense of urgency.
Contreras hit another lead off double in the top of the sixth. Rizzo grounded out to Goldschmidt which let Contreras to go to third with one out. Nolan Arenado the next play fielded a ball hit off the bat of Baez and wasted no time throwing to Molina to nab Contreras at the plate. A perfect example of Nolan being Nolan and one of the difference makers thus far in the game. Happ grounded out for the third out, blanking the Cubs yet again.
Arenado almost followed up his nice defensive play with a nice offensive play, but Happ caught it just in front of the warning track. With two outs in the sixth, O’Neill lined a ball the other way for a base hit. Molina sent one to the warning track that would be caught again by Happ. Still no damage done for St. Louis.
Heyward hit another double for Chicago with one out in the top of the seventh. Hoerner hit a hard ball over to Nolan Arenado who dove to his left, got up on one knee and slung it over to Goldschmidt for the out. Arenado saved the day once again. Wainwright struck out Hendricks to keep his fine night going.
Cardinals caught a break in the bottom portion of the seventh. DeJong lead off with a ball that Contreras threw wide of first, allowing him to advance to second. Edman bunted a ball straight up to Hendricks. Not what you want to see. St. Louis finally got to Hendricks after Bader lined a go-ahead RBI double into the gap in left center, his third hit of the night, chasing Hendricks out of the game.
Hendricks was responsible for the runner at second. He’d finish his outing going 6.1 innings with one run off eight hits, no walks, and three strikeouts. Andrew Chafin came into the game afterwards. Chafin would get pinch hitter Matt Carpenter to fly out and Carlson came through when St. Louis needed them the most with a big two out double in a key situation, making it 2-1 Cardinals.
Goldschmidt reached on a strikeout and a wild pitch that went to the backstop past Contreras, extending the inning for Arenado with the potential of braking this game wide open. Cubs manager David Ross ask Tepera to keep things at a one run game. Tepera got the job done, striking out Arenado to end the Cardinal’s rally.
Adam Wainwright’s evening would come to a close after going seven strong innings with one run off six hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. Genesis Cabrera would have the top of the eighth. Het got pinch hitter Jake Marisnick to fly out to O’Neill for the first out, but Contreras would draw a walk. Rizzo hit a ball into shallow left which O’Neill snagged. Giovanny Gallegos would come in to get the final out of the inning
Baez on the first pitch from Gallegos just got hit on his padding, sending Happ to the plate, who in game two delivered the big hit for Chicago in the ninth. Happ wouldn’t be so lucky tonight, grounding out to Edman for the final out. O’Neill kicked off things in the bottom of the eighth with a nice base knock back up the middle. Molina then popped out DeJong struck out and Contreras threw O’Neill out at second, sending it to the ninth.
Gallegos would stay in the game to face Wisdom, Heyward, and Hoerner. Gio struck out Wisdom for out number one. Heyward grounded out to DeJong for the second. It would be Hoerner who’d be the last hope for Chicago. With one strike away, Gallegos hit Hoerner, his second hit batter of the night, sending pinch hitter Eric Sogard to the plate. The drama continues for St. Louis.
Cardinal fan’s hearts were broken for a second night in a row. Sogard whacked a ball into the, scoring Hoerner, and tying the game at two. Another game turned in the wrong direction. All could’ve been avoided if Gallegos didn’t hit Hoerner, who was the 70th hit batter of the year. John Gant was tasked with ending the comeback. Sergio Alcantara would pinch run for Sogard. Gant hit yet another Cub, this time Jake Marisnick, the fourth Cub to be hit by a pitch in this game.
The heart of the Cubs order would be coming up, starting with Contreras. He’d be hit by the pitch as well, now the fifth of the night and third in the inning, sending Rizzo to the plate with the bases loaded, with no place to put him and looking to break things wide open. All the pressure was on Gant to fix this colossal mess. He’d get Rizzo to ground out, but the damage was done.
Chicago, down to their final strike, tied things at 2-2 in the ninth. Ninth inning magic once again for the Cubs, and nothing but disappointed by the Cardinals. Edman got the crowd back into it with a lead off single in the bottom of the ninth. Bader followed up with a strikeout. Edmundo Sosa, who later came in as part of a double switch, struck out as well. Carlson came through with a big hit earlier in the game and had another chance to help his boys out. He’d walk and give Goldy a chance to come up in the clutch.
Things wouldn’t be easy, as Craig Kimbrel would come in specifically to face Goldschmidt and send the game into extra innings. On a full count with two outs and the bases loaded, Goldy grounded sharply to Baez for the third out, sending it to the tenth.
Rizzo would start at second base to begin the inning with Baez at the plate. Gant remained in the game. Baez wasted no time a hit a ball the other way to make it first and third with nobody out. The Cardinals would throw out TJ McFarland, closing the book for Gant, who did much of nothing.
On the first pitch of the next at-bat, Happ hit a ball to Sosa. Rizzo at third was stuck between staying put and going home as Sosa smartly gets him in a run down, resulting in two outs. A huge mistake in a key spot. McFarland would intentionally walk Wisdom to send Robinson Chirinos to hit with runners at first and second and two outs now. McFarland does the job by getting Chirinos to fly out to Bader, setting up the potential for a walk-off win for St. Louis.
Arenado, who saved the game a couple times already, had one job, get Goldschmidt to come around and score. Problem was Kimbrel was still on the mound. Not to worry though, as Arenado drew a walk, extending the inning to O’Neill. Kimbrel got O’Neill to strikeout. Now it was Yadi’s turn to deliver the big moment. The eventual hall of fame catcher provided another memorable moment with a walk-off hit over the right fielder Wisdom, closing the book on a wild night.
Reaction & Looking Forward
It might’ve not come easy or looked pretty at times, especially late, but the Cardinals were able to sneak out a walk-off win in the tenth by the final of 3-2. Wild is all you can say about this game, but you can’t expect anything less from the Cubs and Cardinals.
It was a pitcher duel early on as Wainwright and Hendricks both put up strong starts for their teams. Bader and Carlson both had big nights, Arenado made two ridiculous plays, and a few hairs were pulled in the ninth. All in all, Cardinals take game three and look for the series win Thursday night.
Kwang Hyun Kim and Adbert Alzolay will be on the mound with first pitching coming an hour early @ 6:15 PM CDT. Tune in for more coverage tomorrow night.
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