St. Louis Cardinals: Roller coaster ride as Yadier Molina comes up in the clutch
The St. Louis Cardinals in a must-win situation vs. the Reds with future ace Alex Reyes on the mound is the dream scenario as Reyes has been lights out coming into tonight. He didn’t disappoint, if you were wondering but someone did.
The St. Louis Cardinals came into tonight’s game, one game back from the second wildcard spot, held by the San Francisco Giants. With the Giants throwing their two aces, Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner, the next two nights, all the pressure is on the Redbirds. Luckily for them, Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez are not too shabby either.
The first six innings were somewhat of a pitcher’s duel between Reyes and Cincinnati Reds starter, Dan Straily. Both were under 100 pitches, had success striking out the opposing team, and made minimal errors. Alex Reyes threw his third quality start, in possibly the biggest game of the season, allowing only one run and keeping his walk numbers down.
The Cincinnati Reds struck first in the second inning from an Adam Duvall double, moving up to third later on a passed ball before Tucker Barnhart had a single to score him. The St. Louis Cardinals answered in the bottom half of the second with Jedd Gyorko’s 28th home run of the season, his first in 62 at-bats.
It was a stalemate third inning before Aledmys Diaz in the fourth turned a Reds outfield miscommunication into a double with heads up base running. He moved up to third on a Jose Martinez sacrifice fly, and scored on a slow ground ball from Alex Reyes when Reds’ shortstop Jose Peraza struggled to get a grip on the ball.
The fifth inning saw Reyes work out of a mini-jam when he walked the lead-off batter, but got a ground ball double-play off of Peraza’s bat. The bottom half was highlighted by a Yadier Molina solo home run, eighth of the season, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 3-1 lead.
Matt Bowman piggy-backed off of Alex Reyes performance with one inning of relief, striking out the side, allowing just one hit.
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Joey Votto and his .400+ average in the second half of the season continued to produce with a double in the eighth inning off of Zach Duke. Unfortunately, Votto had to leave the game early after getting hit by Tommy Pham’s throw into second, busting open his chin. It did not matter much as Duvall laced a ball into right, scoring the pinch runner Tyler Holt easily.
Zach Duke gave the Cardinal fans the same headache they’ve had all season with a poor performance, only getting one batter out allowing a run before Kevin Siegrist shut the Reds attack down with two runners on.
Seung-Hwan Oh, after getting banged up last night, came on to close the ninth inning. Ramon Cabrera looked to spoil Oh’s night right off the bat. Actually, Randal Grichuk was the spoiler here by botching a routine fly ball giving up a double to Cabrera.
The Final Boss, Stone Buddha himself proceeded to strike out Jose Peraza, got Iribarren to ground out to Kolten Wong, and looked as if the St. Louis Cardinals were going to escape before Scott Schebler dribbled a ball up the third base line, tying the game at three.
In the bottom of the ninth, Matt Carpenter walked after a Jeremy Hazelbaker ground out. Randal Grichuk had a chance to redeem himself of that terrible fielding mistake (not ruled an error by the way), instead he whiffs and strikes out, bringing up the St. Louis Cardinals leader, Yadier Molina.
Yadi took his place in the box, with Blake Wood on the mound, and Cardinals fans moved to the edge of their seats and started biting their nails. Ball 1, ball 2; all the pressure on Wood, and he makes the mistake of putting a fastball dead red in the strike zone that Molina grooves to left field, bouncing off the wall! Matt Carpenter scores all the way from first!
There was some question if the ball hit an area of the field that is deemed ground-rule-double territory that caused the Reds coaching staff to seek out the umpires and not leave the field for an extended period of time. The ruling stood thanks to the amount of time it took the Reds to challenge and the St. Louis Cardinals get the key win!
Next: Odds not in the St. Louis Cardinals favor
All eyes turn to the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies game, where Johnny Cueto has had some struggles early on. We’re all Colorado fans tonight!