Monday’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians was stalled by about a 90 minute rain delay. When the weather cleared out, the Cardinals rode a one-hitter from John Gant (no idea) to a 4-0 win.
Another wave of showers pushed back the start of Tuesday’s game, and once that delay was over, the Cardinals pounded Corey Kluber for six runs in less than two innings (again, no idea) en route to an 11-2 win.
Tonight, with blue skies and no rain in sight, the Cardinals’ offense appeared to dry up in the sun during a 5-1 loss to the Indians. The lesson here is to only play on rainy days.
After a scoreless first inning from both teams, Jack Flaherty gave up an absolute bomb to Edwin Encarnacion in the second to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. The fan who had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of catching a Major League home run thought, “You know, instead of keeping this home run ball as a keepsake or giving it to a kid nearby, I’m going to throw it back onto the field. Boom, got ’em.”
Then, after that fan presumably discovered that Encarnacion’s home run still counted, Lonnie Chisenhall put his first home run of the year into the right field seats. That ball remained in the seats*, as it should. Kudos to you, person who got that ball. 2-0 Tribe.
Things got dicey for Flaherty in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Chisenhall hit a soft grounder to Kolten Wong at second, who flipped to Greg Garcia for out number two, but Chisenhall just beat the throw to first, allowing a run to score. Then, Jason Kipnis dropped a bloop single into center that Tommy Pham couldn’t quite reach. 4-0 Indians.
Jose Martinez put the Cardinals on the board in the fourth with an RBI single to left scoring Matt Carpenter. It’s Martinez’s 51st RBI of 2018 – the team leader last season had 82. 4-1 Indians after three.
Here’s some hard-hitting baseball #analysis: if you’re pitching, it’s probably not going to be your night if you give the opposing pitcher on an American League team his first Major League hit. That’s exactly what happened to Jack Flaherty, who gave up a single to Shane Bieber in the fourth. Flaherty escaped the inning without giving up a run, but that would be the end of a disappointing night for the young right hander, who allowed four runs on six hits in just four innings of work.
Now, it was up to the suddenly hot Cardinals bullpen (0.75 ERA in the last five games entering tonight) to keep the game within reach. Austin Gomber took over for the Cardinals in the fifth and tossed a scoreless inning.
The top of the order came up for the Redbirds in the fifth, and Matt Carpenter ripped a leadoff double into left-center field. Two batters later, Jose Martinez snuck a sharp grounder under the glove of Edwin Encarnacion at first, but Carpenter was held up at third by Jose Oquendo. Off the bat, it looked as though Carpenter could’ve scored easily, but Lonnie Chisenhall made a great throw in from right that probably would’ve nailed Carpenter at the plate. Ozuna and Yadier Molina were unable to bring any runs home. Still 4-1 Indians after five.
The Indians took advantage of this missed opportunity in the sixth when Tyler Naquin drove in Jason Kipnis to extend Cleveland’s lead to 5-1. The Indians now have 8 hits tonight after having 10 in the previous two games combined.
In the sixth, Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch for the second time of the game, taking a fastball off the back of the thigh. He seemed to be shaken up and hobbled his way to first with the help of a team trainer. Jedd Gyorko came in to pinch hit, popped out to shallow right, and took over for the injured Wong at second. 5-1 Indians after six.
Sam Tuivailala came in to pitch the seventh inning and kept the Indians off the board. In the bottom half, Terry Francona turned the game over to his bullpen, which has had some trouble closing games out as of late with Andrew Miller on the DL. But Neil Ramirez had other things on his mind, and put the Cardinals down 1-2-3 to send the game to the eighth.
Tuivailala put up another scoreless inning in the eighth despite a dropped ball from Tommy Pham in center, who just can’t seem to do anything right at the moment. Later on in the inning, Neil Ramirez came to the plate with two men on and two outs…even though it was only a four-run game and some insurance runs wouldn’t hurt at this point. Shockingly, he struck out and Cleveland missed an opportunity to add to their lead.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals also missed an opportunity for a sweep, and went quietly in the eighth and ninth innings despite Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” playing over the Busch Stadium sound system. Final score: Indians 5 Cardinals 1.
The Cardinals are off on Thursday before starting a three game series against the Atlanta Braves over the weekend. Will the Cardinals ever win in sunny weather again? We’ll just have to wait and see.
*Update: I’ve been informed that Chisenhall’s home run fell underneath the seats and into the bowels of Busch Stadium where nobody can get it. Alas.