Alex Reyes’s eagerly awaited return to MLB happened today, and literally nobody got to watch, because 1) day game and 2) Facebook had exclusive broadcast rights. I know what you’re thinking, dear reader. But trust me when I say that I really think this Facebook thing is never gonna catch on.
At any rate, it was probably just as well that nobody watched it. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions, but ultimately frustrated and disappointed. At the top of the hill, Reyes dominated the first three Brewers he faced, striking out Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar, and erasing Christian Yelich’s seeing-eye single with a perfectly executed pickoff.
The experience climbed a little higher in the top of the first as Dexter Fowler and Yairo Munoz rattled off 1-out singles, with Fowler going first-to-third on the latter hit. Alas, Carson Kelly struck out, and Reyes got jobbed by a ridiculous strike zone, and the opportunity was gone.
The struggle continued through the bottom of the frame. Reyes issued a walk and a single to open the inning, then a double play ball brought Travis Shaw to third with two outs. Reyes walked Eric Sogard on four pitches, then hit Erik Kratz with a pitch after a tough battle, jamming the bases up. Junior Guerra lined out to left, but Reyes had spent 28 pitches in the frame.
The third and fourth passed quickly for both sides. Yairo led off the fifth with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a 2-strike Carson Kelly sac bunt. Mike lifted Reyes, who was at 73 pitches in his first major league game back from Tommy John, for pinch hitter Greg Garcia, suggesting that either Mike made a really smart move or something wrong with Reyes. I’m voting on smart move here, for the record. Garcia and Carpenter went down in sequence, thanks in large part to a questionable strike zone, and the Cardinals had frittered their second man on third with 1 out of the night.
John Gant relieved Reyes in the bottom of the 5th. he gave up a 1-out single to Kratz, then Junior Guerra laid down a sac bunt and Carpenter went for the lead runner. Unfortunately, Yairo wasn’t on the bag, and we wound up with runners at first and second with one out. Lorenzo Cain walked to load them up, then Christian Yelich served up a double play ball to Yairo, which became a simple FC 6-4 because of yips or something. Gant walked another guy, but escaped without further damage, courtesy of a flyout from Travis Shaw. 1-0 Brewers.
The Cardinals continued to drag in the sixth, but at least we didn’t strand any baserunners. Then Gant struggled through another inning, bending with another pair of walks and another single, before recording an ultimately clean frame.
In the top of the seventh, the Cardinals decided to do something about it, jumping all over the (very good) Jeremy Jeffress for a pair of runs. Harrison Bader hammered a no-doubter to lead off the frame, then Dexter Fowler hit a hard liner to right for a single. Yairo hustled out a grounder to third, then Kelly sac bunted both runners over (again, with 2 strikes on the bunt. weird.). Tommy Pham cashed in Fowler with a sac fly, then an intentional pass to Carpenter put runners on the corners with Gyorko at the plate. Gyorko had a great at-bat and got rung up on a ridiculous called strike 3, marking the fourth questionable strikeout of the game and stranding another runner on third for the Birds. Even so, Cardinals up, 2-1.
Tyler Lyons took over for Gant in the bottom of the frame and threw a single, perfect pitch. Perfect for Christian Yelich to smash off the siding above the batter’s eye, I mean. You’re pretty, Tyler, but maybe this pitching thing ain’t your style. Sam Tuivailala took over and gave up singles to Aguilar, Santana, and Arcia to cough up another run. Brewers back up, 3-2.
The Cardinals made an honest run at taking the game back in the top of the 9th. Ozuna walked on four pitches, and Gyorko moved him to third with a 2-out single. (Josh Hader is not, contrary to popular belief, invincible.) Corey Knebel came in to face Jose Martinez, and after a protracted PA marked by two near-wild-pitches and a count that reached 3-1, Knebel came back to slam the door and convert the save. Cards lose 3-2.
This marked a series loss where we really would rather have had a series win. But welcome back, Alex. There’s a lot of baseball left in the season, and I’m looking forward to watching you play it.
Next game is at Busch tomorrow at 6:15, and features Jack Flaherty taking on Trevor Williams and the Pirates. Be there.