It’s game 3 of a 4 game series at home. Thursday night featured a thrilling walk-off finish followed by Friday’s disappointment of getting shutout. The inconsistency of the offense continues to plague this Cardinals team. But today is a new day. On this summer Saturday afternoon, it’s 76 degrees and cloudy. We had some rain earlier but it’s gone now. Let’s play ball.
Pitching matchup: Luke Weaver vs. Chad Kuhl
1st – 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors.
2nd – Dickerson registers the first hit of the game, a single between first and second. Carson Kelly allows a ball to get past him and Dickerson advances to second. Weaver gets the next 2 batters to fly out. Weaver’s pitch count is at 31. That was a longer inning than the first.
Marcell Ozuna launches career homer no. 100. It was a line drive that landed just over the center field wall. That’s #4 on the year and the first one at Busch this season. It’s about time. After a Gyorko K and Fowler fly out, Wong gets hit by the pitch and takes second on one in the dirt. Carson Kelly hit a fly ball to the warning track, ending the inning. Score is 1-0, STL.
3rd – Pirates have one runner in scoring position, but Weaver gets his first strikeout of the afternoon to end the top half of the third.
Meanwhile, Carpenter flies out. There’s a 2 out base hit into right for Garcia. Pham flies out. Still 1-0 Cards.
4th – Weaver records two more strikeouts. He’s through 4 and his pitch count is at 67. To me he looks pretty sharp so far.
There’s something you don’t see very often. Ozuna’s bullet grounder knocks Kuhl’s glove off and he can’t find the ball in time, so Marcell is safe. Gyorko strikes out again. Fowler hits it hard but it’s chased down by Pirates’ LF Dickerson. Wong strikes out and we go to the fifth.
5th – Colin Moran hits his 5th homer of the year. Weaver’s pitch was right in the middle of the plate there. Rick Horton mentions on the FS Midwest broadcast that Cardinals starters have allowed the fewest homers among any NL team’s pitching staff. That’s a pretty cool stat. Weaver allows another base runner but gets out of the fifth with the score notched at 1. His pitch count has risen to 90, though. He threw a lot of pitches that inning.
Kuhl walks Weaver. He later walks Garcia with two outs. With two runners on, Tommy Pham comes through with an RBI single. Ozuna grounds out. Birds lead 2-1 after 5.
6th – Austin Gomber takes the mound for his MLB debut, wearing #68. He walked a batter but recorded his first strikeout and forced an inning-ending double play. Not bad. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Gomber and I’m really excited to see how he’ll help this bullpen.
Quick inning with no offense for the Birds. Still 2-1 us.
7th – It’s another scoreless inning for Austin Gomber.
Tyler Glasnow is pitching for the Bucs. An insurance run would be nice here. Nothing doing. Let’s hope our relief pitchers can get 6 outs before they allow a run.
8th – Gomber is back out there for a third inning. I mean, why not? He hasn’t run into any trouble. For the first out, Ozuna makes a fantastic leaping catch near the wall in left center. The fans stand and applaud as David Freese approaches the plate. He lines out to left. And another fly out to left. It’s an 8 pitch inning and that’s now three scoreless frames for Gomber.
9th – Bud Norris is in the game. This is his time. With nobody out, Austin Meadows blasts a solo shot that ties it 2-2. Norris settles down and strikes out the side. Can the Cardinals walk it off again? Our 6 total walk-off wins in 2018 lead the majors.
There it is. Make that 7 walk-off wins. Kolten Wong sends a curveball down the right field line and the Birds win 3-2. That was a laser.
Cardinals 3, Pirates 2
Overall thoughts and game notes:
- This game didn’t have much offense from either side. We saw a few of solo bombs and strong outings from both starters
- Chad Kuhl pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5
- Luke Weaver tossed 5 innings, allowed 1 run on 4 hits, no walks and struck out 4
- With his first big league appearance, Austin Gomber pitched three scoreless innings in relief
- A win is a win, and the Cardinals got just enough offense combined with good pitching and outfield defense to win
- Kolten Wong had been struggling. He was due for another big moment and delivered
- As Danny Mac tweeted earlier, this was the 1,000 regular season game in Busch Stadium history
You’d like to see Bud Norris continue his dominant season and close out the game in the ninth. But as a fan you’ll take the W. And it doesn’t get better than another walk-off. Who’s next? I say it’s Tommy Pham’s turn.
In other news, Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final starts at 7. I’ll be at my cousin’s wedding, checking for frequent updates. I’d love to see former Blue T.J. Oshie hoist the Cup for the first time. Washington has endured many consecutive years of playoff failure, and not just in hockey. I wouldn’t mind seeing them win. The first two games in Vegas kept me on the edge of my seat.