The St. Louis Cardinals took two of the three games against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre this weekend. They got off to a precarious start last Friday, as Lance Lynn was often in trouble, allowing home runs by Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie in a 3-1 loss. Lynn pitched five innings, as his pitch count soared over 100 pitches quickly. The Cardinals got their lone run in the first inning. Marcus Stroman pitched six innings for the victory, and had seven strikeouts.
On Saturday, Shelby Miller threw a complete game shutout, striking out five in a 5-0 victory. It was a pitching duel against Mark Buehrle, and there was no score until Randal Grichuk hit a home run to center field in the fifth inning. In the finale, Jaime Garcia pitched seven shutout innings before giving way to Pat Neshek in the eighth, and Trevor Rosenthal in the ninth inning, to preserve the second shutout of the high-powered Blue Jays in consecutive days.
Sterling Cardinals hurlers left the series with a collective 1.00 ERA. The Blue Jays’ pitching wasn’t bad either, posting a 2.45 ERA. The Cardinals did, however, jump starter Drew Hutchison for four runs in the second inning Sunday. Matt Carpenter capped off the scoring with a two-run homer. Jhonny Peralta lined a solo homer in the third inning. Hutchison lasted three innings. Todd Redmond pitched five scoreless innings of relief.
The Cardinals outscored the Blue Jays 11-3. They averaged almost nine hits per game. Cardinals batters walked 16 times. They did all this with Kolten Wong sidelined for the series by his shoulder injury, Matt Holliday missing the last game, and Tony Cruz filling in behind the plate for Yadier Molina on Saturday and Sunday. The Cardinals out-homered the MLB-leading Jays 3-2.
The artificial turf played fast and seemed to pose a few problems for Matt Carpenter in the field, as he made two errors over the three games. Otherwise, the club shined in the field, with Allen Craig and Peter Bourjos both making excellent plays to create outs on Saturday.
Highlights were Shelby Miller challenging Jose Bautista with a 96 mph fastball to strike him out with men on second and third to end the sixth inning on Saturday. And Sunday, Garcia used his changeup to pepper the left side with ground balls.
Going into the series, the Blue Jays were the hottest team in baseball, while the Cardinals were threatening to fall back in the National League Central. Redbird Rants headlined that the club was limping towards a buzzsaw in Toronto. “You can’t predict baseball” is a Twitter meme. It’s a truism we always appear to forget. Cardinals pitching turned out to be the buzzsaw, through which the mighty Toronto bats were ground up into sawdust.