Daily Rant: Cardinals Power Surge Brings Hard-Fought Win


The St. Louis Cardinals are a much better team than what they’ve shown us on the field lately.  They are, after all, the defending World Series Champions.  They flexed their muscle last night, to the tune of a 10-9 win over the Washington Nationals, and got September started on the right foot.

Box Score:

St Louis Cardinals02240001110142
Washington Nationals4200030009100
WPMitchell Boggs (3-1, 1.90)
LPDrew Storen (1-1, 3.86)

Kyle Lohse allowed four first-inning runs, as the bottom of the 1st looked a little like this:  Jayson Werth groundout, Bryce Harper double, Ryan Zimmerman ground out.  Adam LaRoche followed that up with an RBI single, making it 1-0.  Michael Morse singled, and Ian Desmond hit a long fly ball that was misplayed by Matt Holliday, allowing two more runs to cross the plate.  Another fielding error followed, this time by Daniel Descalso.  Kurt Suzuki then singled, allowing Ian Desmond to score, 4-0 Washington Nationals.

In the second inning, there was a little life from the St. Louis Cardinals bats, as they scored twice off of Jordan Zimmerman.  Yadier Molina led off the frame with a single, and David Freese followed that up with his 18th homer of the season to deep center field.  After 2 strikeouts and a ground out, the frame was over.  The score then stood 4-2.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the Redbirds got two quick outs, but that was followed by a Ryan Zimmerman single, and Adam LaRoche’s 24th jack of the season.  Washington led 6-2, and it looked as though the miserable weekend of baseball would continue to spiral out of control.

The 3rd inning brought about more life to the Cardinal bats, and there looked to be some hope.  After a Jon Jay single and a Matt Carpenter fly out, Matt Holliday deposited a Jordan Zimmerman over the center field wall, scoring Jon Jay to make it 6-4.  His 25th homer of the season propelled him even further into the NL MVP debate, with 92 RBI and a .304 batting average.

Kyle Lohse was finally himself in the 3rd frame, as he had a 1-2-3 inning, making quick work of Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, and Kurt Suzuki.

The top of the 4th was when things got even more interesting.  David Freese led off with his 22nd double of the year, and Skip Schumaker followed that with a popup to short.  Daniel Descalso was hit by a pitch, and Kyle Lohse follwed that with a pop out bunt.  Jon Jay was hit, loading the bases.  Matt Carpenter then hit a bases-clearing double to the wall in right, giving the Redbirds their first lead of the day, 7-6.

After a Matt Holliday walk, Allen Craig smoked a single to left, scoring Matt Carpenter.  The lead then stood 8-6.  Yadier Molina grounded into a force out to end the inning, and it was off to 4th we went.

Other than a Bryce Harper single in the inning, Kyle Lohse was untouched.  Opening off the 5th, the St. Louis Cardinals went down in order, as David Freese and Skip Schumaker struck out, and lined out.  Daniel Descalso then flew out to Bryce Harper.

In the bottom of the 5th, Kyle Lohse was on his game once more, getting yet another 1-2-3 frame.  In the top of the 6th, the Cardinals returned the favor, as neither Kyle Lohse, John Jay, nor Matt Carpenter could reach base.

Danny Espinosa led off the 6th with a homer to right, and the score was 8-7.  After a Jayson Werth double 3 batters later, Kyle Lohse was replaced by Marc Rzepczynski.  He walked Bryce Harper, and gave up a Ryan Zimmerman single, which scored Jayson Werth easily, and Bryce Harper on the throw.

The score was 9-8, and it agin looked as though the Redbirds would suffer another 1-run defeat.  Rzepczynski was yanked, and Fernando Salas came in, and uncorked a wild pitch, which sent Ryan Zimmerman to 3rd.  With Adam LaRoche at the plate, I just held my breath, hoping that he wouldn’t do even further damage.  He didn’t, as he grounded softly to Salas, who threw to Matt Carpenter to end the threat.

The 7th inning passed without any scoring from either team, and it was off to the 8th.  After a Shane Robinson walk and Daniel Descalso sacrifice bunt, Carlos Beltran entered the game as a pinch hitter, and singled on a soft liner to center, scoring Robinson to tie the game at 9.  Beltran would reach as far as 3rd, but Jon Jay, Matt Carpenter, and Matt Holliday couldn’t bring him home.

Mitchell Boggs pitched a scoreless frame, and it was off to the 9th, the Cardinals hoping for some late-game magic.  Allen Craig singled leading off the inning, and Yadier Molina followed with a fly out.  Allen Craig then stole second, and David Freese singled towards left, scoring Craig, and bringing home the Cardinals 10th run of the game.

Jason Motte entered to face the heart of the Washington Nationals lineup.  He struck out Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman grounded out harmlessly to Matt Carpenter.  Adam LaRoche stood in as the Nationals final chance, and flew out to center to end the game.  After a hard-fought grind it out type game, the Cardinals stood victorious.

Quick Look At The Standings:  It was a better than good day as the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped their game to the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Cincinnati Reds lost to the Houston Astros.  The Reds trouble came after Brandon Phillips got thrown out of the game, and Wilson Valdez was forced to replace him.  It proved costly, as Jose Altuve reached on his fielding error in the 9th, scoring recent call-up Matt Downs, ending the game on a 2-1 walk-off.  The Brewers had a walk-off of their own, Corey Hart‘s 26th homer of the season to deep left in their 3-2 victory.

 Cincinnati Reds (19)8253.60742-2440-29592506+86Won 16-4
 St. Louis Cardinals7262.5379.540-2632-36646550+96Lost 14-6
 Pittsburgh Pirates7063.52611.040-2630-37554541+13Lost 33-7

The Redbirds return home this afternoon to face the New York Mets, who are 6 games under the .500 mark.  Joe Kelly (4-6, 3.61) faces off against Collin McHugh who makes his second major league start after 7 innings of no run ball and 9 Ks in his first start.