St. Louis Cardinals: Matt Carpenter walks off in the 11th

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Matt Carpenter
ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 10: Matt Carpenter /

Matt Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals got back in the win column thanks to the first baseman’s heroics late last night.

Fortune swung the St. Louis Cardinals’ way late last night against the Milwaukee Brewers to salvage the second game of the series. The Redbirds managed to sneak out a win against the Brewers with some help from Brewers’ pitching, timely hitting, and late inning heroics. While the Cardinals may have won, the victory was hard-earned.

Game recap

Carlos Martinez took the mound last night and once again pitched extremely well against the Brewers for a second straight time. He did allow a first inning solo home run to Eric Thames, but managed to scatter five other hits across the next five innings. He struck out four batters and only issued two walks to the Brewers. As the game went on, Martinez only seemed to get stronger.

His counterpart, Brent Suter, was equally tough on the St. Louis Cardinals hitters. Suter held the St. Louis Cardinals hitters hitless through 4.2 innings, mixing his fastball and off-speed pitches to throw hitters off-balance. But with two outs in the bottom half of the fifth, Kolten Wong laid a bunt for a hit down to break up the no-hitter. Carlos Martinez then singled to left to break up the no-hitter the old-fashioned way.

Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch to the load the bases, prompting the Brewers to make their first pitching change of the day. Paul DeJong stepped up to the plate, but popped out to the shortstop to end the threat.

After Carlos Martinez’s 1-2-3 sixth inning, the St. Louis Cardinals finally found some light at the end of the tunnel. After singles by Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader drew a walk to load the bases for Yairo Munoz. Munoz also drew a walk to score Carpenter to tie the game at 1-1. Unfortunately, the Cardinals were not able to capitalize further as Wong grounded into a double play to end the inning.

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Martinez came out to start the seventh inning, but quickly found himself in a hole. After giving up a single and a walk to start the inning, manager Mike Matheny went to work and pulled Martinez from the game and brought in Jordan Hicks.

The young fire-baller put on a show, saving the Cardinals from further damage by recording three outs with the final one coming with the bases loaded. Hicks also pitched the eighth inning with little worry as well.

The game would remain at 1-1 until the ninth inning. Bud Norris came in to preserve the tie for the bottom half of the ninth. After quickly getting two outs, Norris faced trouble after a double from Thames.

Domingo Santana singled to score Thames and put the Brewers ahead 2-1. It was an all too familiar feeling for the Cardinals. Norris struck out Travis Shaw to end the threat.

Needing a run to tie the game, the Cardinals turned to Tommy Pham to get the job done. He pinch hit for Norris and drew a walk to start the inning. Greg Garcia did his job and bunted Pham over to second to get Pham in scoring position. Cue the Brewers’ help. Pham raced to third on a wild pitch by Jacob Barnes with Fowler up to bat. Then two pitches later, Barnes uncorked another wild pitch and Pham raced home to score the tying run.

Fowler then stole second with DeJong up to bat to get himself into scoring position. However, DeJong could not bring him in and after a Carpenter walk, Ozuna could not finish off the Brewers then either.

The Brewers would score a run in the inning thanks to a two-out single by Orlando Arcia to score Hernan Perez from second base off of Matt Bowman. Fortunately, Bowman was able to limit the damage to a single run for the bottom half of the tenth inning.

The St. Louis Cardinals quickly fell down to their last out in the game, but then late inning heroics took over. Munoz walked with two outs to bring up Jose Martinez to the plate. Martinez, who was out of the lineup due to injury, singled to right field to put the tying run 90 feet away. Greg Garcia was the next Cardinal to get a clutch hit, putting a soft liner into right field to score Munoz and tie the game at 3-3.

Dominic Leone secured a 1-2-3 eleventh inning after taking the loss in last night’s game. In the Cardinals bottom half of the eleventh, Paul DeJong singled to start inning and in stepped Carpenter to provide the biggest highlight of the night.

Quick thoughts

  • First off, this series just feels oddly familiar to the one in Milwaukee. Hopefully the Cardinals can take game three today.
  • Martinez once again looked sharp. What was more impressive was his ability to maintain control of the game even after giving up a home run to Thames in the first inning. He was able to get back into a groove and that allowed him to get into the seventh inning. That in itself was also important given the use of the bullpen lately by Mike Matheny. If Martinez continues to build off his starts, then there is no ceiling for him this season.
  • Speaking of pitching, what else is there to say about Hicks? The kid just continues to impress and show why he is here. I know I’m jumping the gun here, but there is no doubt in my mind he is the Cardinals’ closer next year and for the foreseeable future. He is just that good.
  • Mike Matheny actually made a good pitching change in a game when he needed to, but I’ll chalk that up to luck.
  • The Cardinals came into the game with the fewest runs scored in the 7th-9th innings. Even though they scored a couple more runs, you’d like to see them be able to tack on some more late in games especially on the road.
  • Lastly, wins like yesterday can have a profound impact on teams. The Cardinals had to battle good pitching and cold weather once again to win. Hard-earned wins can boost the team’s confidence. As I said on Monday, this is an opportune time to pile up some wins before heading to Chicago.

Next: Molina suspended for a game

The Cardinals wrap up their second series with the Brewers today. Game starts at 12:15pm CT.