We’ve officially reached August in the rich pageant that is the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals season. Tuesday’s act included one of the team’s best and most likable players being traded for a really underwhelming return, along with video from last Friday’s game showing a firework flying into the stands. There’s a metaphor somewhere in that last part, but I’m not smart enough to find it.
On Wednesday night, things went more according to plan. Yadier Molina drove in two runs, the bullpen had a stellar night, and the Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3. And as far as I know, nobody got hit with an errant firework.
Cardinals starter Luke Weaver worked a scoreless first two innings against a potent Rockies offense, but it wouldn’t last. With two outs and two runners aboard in the third inning, Weaver gave up a single from Trevor Story gave Colorado a 1-0 lead. Weaver’s pitch count continued to go up, and Gerardo Parra ripped a single down the third base line to score Ian Desmond. Just like that, Weaver’s night was done after throwing 74 pitches in 2 2/3 innings.
Enter Daniel Poncedeleon, who came in to put out the fire by striking out the first batter he faced.
Luckily for the Cardinals, the long inning for Weaver also meant a long inning in the dugout for Rockies starter Kyle Freeland. In the bottom of the third, Paul DeJong snapped a personal 0 for 15 streak with a one-out RBI single to left, scoring Matt Carpenter. 2-1 Rockies after three.
The Cardinals rally continued in the fourth. Following base hits from Yairo Munoz and Harrison Bader, Poncedeleon hit a sacrifice groundout to score Munoz from third, tying the game at 2-2. This brought up Matt Carpenter with the go-ahead run on third, but a flyout to left ended the inning.
Poncedeleon kept the Rockies scoreless during his 2 1/3 innings of work with two strikeouts and a series of ground ball outs. Austin Gomber came on in the sixth and struck out two batters to keep the game tied. Credit to Mike Shildt for managing his pitching staff effectively tonight.
In the sixth, with Kyle Freeland still in the game but nearing 100 pitches, Harrison Bader doubled down the right field line and pinch hitter Tyler O’Neill drove him home with a base hit to center, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Freeland managed to stay in the game long enough to walk Matt Carpenter before Bud Black pulled him at 112 pitches. The Cardinals put in some good at bats the rest of the inning, but couldn’t add to their lead. 3-2 Cardinals after six.
Dakota Hudson threw a scoreless seventh inning to continue his strong debut. The Cardinals’ revamped bullpen has been really impressive in the short time that they’ve been together. Hopefully they keep getting more opportunities to hold leads and close out games.
After Jordan Hicks got out of trouble in the top of the eighth, the Cardinals added some insurance runs when Yadier Molina hit a line drive into the left-center field gap to score Harrison Bader and Matt Carpenter. A bloop RBI single from Marcell Ozuna later in the inning made is 6-2 Cardinals. Cheap sodas for everyone!
With the game officially out of save status, Mike Mayers came in for the ninth. The Rockies got one run back on an RBI double from Nolan Arenado, but that was all they could muster, as the Cardinals went on to win 6-3.
The Cardinals are now 55-53 on the year, and wrap up their series with the Rockies tomorrow with a day game at Busch.