Balls sailing swiftly
Great American Ballpark
Every hitter’s dream
The Cardinals entered play today with an 8-0 record over the Reds this season. Even as bad as the Reds have been, this is pretty impressive. The Cardinals need to keep beating up on bad teams to stay in the running for the division, and I would absolutely love to see them sweep the season series against a former division rival.
Michael Wacha took the hill against Reds starter Luis Castillo. Castillo, once considered a top pitching prospect, has been anything but for the Reds this season. Castillo started the day with a record of 4-6, sporting a 5.64 ERA and a 4.89 FIP. His 3.49 BB/9 is one of the worst in the league. Though Wacha hasn’t been much better in this department, he is coming off an excellent outing, throwing 8 innings of no-hit baseball against the Pirates last Sunday.
The Cardinals’ offense did what it could to support Wacha, spotting him with a lead before he ever even threw his first pitch. In the top of the first inning, Jose Martinez and Marcell Ozuna hit back-to-back home runs to put the Cardinals on top early, 2-0. Both dingers were impressive in their own right: Martinez’s marked his third consecutive game with a home run; Ozuna’s traveled about 845 feet (Game Day said 435 feet, even though he absolutely MURDERED that ball…good grief GAB is tiny).
The Redbirds piled on three more runs in the third inning. Wacha led off with a walk, advanced to second on a single by Carpenter, and advanced to third when Martinez also walked. Yadier Molina followed with a bases-clearing triple (FINE, it was scored a double, but he ended up on third base when the throw went home). This hit gave the good guys a nice, big 5-0 lead. The fans chanted YADI! YADI! YADI!, even though they were in Cincinnati!
Wacha was not nearly as dominant today, but did pitch well, allowing just two runs off a Eugenio Suarez home run in the fourth inning, bringing the score to 5-2 Cardinals. He walked three, but struck out six, throwing 96 pitches over 5 2/3 innings.
A solo home run by Carpenter in the top of the seventh gave the Cardinals a coveted insurance run – 6-2 Cardinals. The Reds did not go quietly in this one, however. Mike Mayers gave up two doubles in the bottom of the seventh inning (6-3 Cardinals), and Jesse Winker homered off Sam Tuivailala in the bottom of the eighth (6-4 Cardinals).
Jordan Hicks, who seems to have really figured something out, got the ball in the bottom of the ninth. He gave up a single to Joey Votto (which I honestly cannot blame him for; it’s Votto), but struck out the side to secure the win.
In a game featuring 5 home runs, 17 combined hits, and 16 combined runners left on base, it felt somewhat lucky to see the Cardinals come away with the win. They carry their 9-0 season record into the final game of this set tomorrow. Carlos Martinez will face Anthony DeSclafani – first pitch at 12:10 CT.