The first 4.5 innings of this Cardinals and Brewers game saw no runs, a dominant Carlos Martinez, and a lucky Ariel Pena. In the bottom of the fifth inning Carlos gave up a solo home run to Khris Davis for the first tally of the game. This was ever frustrating because once again the Cardinals had ample enough opportunity to give Carlos a lead before this, most notably loading the bases with two outs in the top half of fourth inning for Jon Jay who grounded out to end the inning.
The Cardinals got the run back when Jason Heyward was driven in by Peralta after Heyward doubled to lead off the top half of the sixth inning. Matt Adams then grounded into a double play and Yadier Molina then struck out to end the inning, another missed opportunity for a team struggling to come through with runners on.
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The Brewers then nearly countered in the next frame by getting the first two to reach against Martinez. The next play saw Elian Herrera try to get on via the bunt until Martinez decided to fire a cannon to Mark Reynolds to record the out. After a walk to Ryan Braun, Adam Lind then grounded into a 3-2 double play.
The Cardinals were then able to get a scoring opportunity in the eightth when Peralta singled to put runners on 1st and 3rd for Mark Reynolds, Reynolds then hit a ball that looked like it would land in front of the fielders, but it hung up just enough for Logan Schaefer to grab it to end the inning and strand Heyward and Peralta.
The Cardinals were then unable to make anything of the two out walk by Jon Jay in the top of the ninth and handed the ball off to Kevin Siegrist to escape the ninth unscathed despite raising the collective blood pressure of the Cardinals’ fan base by walking two in the inning.
This set things up beautifully for the Cardinals’ offense to falter again and send us all into a long extra inning affair where neither team wants to score. It seemed that was going to happen as even though Carp was lucky enough to reach on an error by Adam Lind he was promptly erased on ground ball by Piscotty that just missed escaping to the OF.
Lucky enough for my sleep schedule, Jason Heyward was in no mood to play all night as he smashed a 3-1 offering from Tyler Thornburg into the RF bleachers for a two-run home run that put the Cardinals on top 3-1. Rosenthal was able to shut the door on a Milwaukee rally striking out Scooter Gennett with a 101 MPH fastball to end the game.
The story of the night was definitely Carlos Martinez’s strong start. Martinez went eight innings allowing just four hits, two walks, and one run all while striking out nine. This was as dominant as he has been all season and he made some key plays in the field, as well as pitching in a double on offense. It would have been a shame to see Martinez outing go for naught and see the Cardinals drop a game they dearly needed.
Jason Heyward was your lone offensive star on a night where the team collected just seven hits through ten innings. Heyward went 3-4 with two doubles, a stolen base, and the game winning two run home run. Although Peralta’s 2-4 and one RBI was a welcome sight considering his recent performance.
The win was their second in a row and was the first time they have opened a series with win since the August 31st win against Washington.
Their record now stands at 90-54 and they are now three games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates who split the double header with the Chicago Cubs earlier in the night. These two teams face off again tomorrow night as Jaime Garcia toes the rubber against Wily Peralta.