The St. Louis Cardinals have kicked things into another gear as they swept the New York Mets overtook the second wild card position.
After weeks and months of struggle, the St. Louis Cardinals have kicked things up a notch with a series win over the New York Mets that leaves this once struggling team in the second wild card spot with two weeks remaining on the regular-season schedule.
It was a high scoring effort by the Cardinals as they won Monday 7-0, Tuesday 7-6, and on Wednesday 11-4. After a summer filled with inconsistent hitting, this was impressive and nice to see. Kind of relieving, too.
Let’s discuss the good … and an ugly moment.
The scoring started in the second inning on Monday. Dylan Carlson hit a double to left field to score Yadier Molina. In the third inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit a single to center field, scoring Tommy Edman. In the fifth inning, Paul Goldschmidt launched his 25th home run of the season to left field.
In the ninth inning, Nolan Arenado singled to second base, scoring Goldschmidt. Molina singled on a grounder to left field, scoring Tyler O’Neill. Edmundo Sosa singled to right field, scoring Arenado. Harrison Bader singled to right, scoring Molina.
Monday also featured a heck of a pitching performance from Adam Wainwright. It was the 301st start in the careers of Waino and Yadi.
Wainwright, now 16-7 on the season, pitched six innings, giving up four hits and three walks. He struck out four batters. T.J. McFarland pitched the seventh inning, giving up only a hit. Alex Reyes had a superb outing as he pitched the eighth inning, he gave up a hit and a walk but ended up striking out three batters to get out of the inning. It was great to see!
Kodi Whitley pitched the ninth inning, striking out all the batters.
Down two to nothing, the scoring began in the fourth inning on Tuesday. Tyler O’Neill singled to center field, scoring Goldschmidt. Carlson hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring O’Neill. In the eighth inning, O’Neill blasted his 26th home run of the season to center field, scoring Goldschmidt.
The game was tied up in the ninth thanks to a home run from Cards’ nemesis Javier Baez off Giovanny Gallegos.
The Cardinals got a defensive gem to save themselves from being walked off in the tenth inning. Take a look:
In the 11th inning, Sosa singled to left field scoring Molina. Andrew Knizner hit a single to center field scoring Jose Rondon and Sosa.
Jake Woodford pitched four innings, giving up four hits, two walks, and two earned runs. Daniel Ponce de Leon’s third of an inning will be discussed in the ugly moment.
Kodi Whitley pitched 1.2 innings, giving up one walk and striking out one. Genesis Cabrera looked excellent pitching 1.2 innings, striking out two. Luis Garcia pitched a third of an inning. Gallegos pitched one inning, giving up the home run to Baez and striking out one. Gallegos, unfortunately, leads the league with his eighth blown save. Yikes.
Alex Reyes earned his eighth win of the season, pitching the tenth and only walking one.
Kwang Hyun Kim earned his first save of the season with a shaky outing in which he gave up one hit and a walk and two runs.
On Wednesday, the Cardinals wasted zero time getting started. Tyler O’Neill doubled to center field, scoring Edman and Goldschmidt. Carlson singled to left field to score O’Neill. Harrison Bader singled to center field to score Carlson and Sosa.
In the fourth inning, Bader hit his 12th homer run of the season to left-center field. It was great that he was able to do this with his parents and other loved ones in the crowd.
In the seventh inning, Goldschmidt hit his 26th home run of the season to left-center field. Nolan Arenado followed that up with his 32nd home run of the season on a fly to left field.
In the eighth inning, Sosa hit his sixth home run of the season to right center field. Goldschmidt singled to right field, scoring Edman. Arenado singled to right field, scoring Goldschmidt.
Jon Lester is now 6-6 on the season after pitching six innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, including two home runs to Peter Alonso and Kevin Pillar. He struck out seven batters. Andrew Miller pitched in the seventh inning but gave up three hits and one earned run. T.J. McFarland pitched two innings, giving up two hits. Justin Miller pitched the ninth inning, giving up two hits and striking out one.
Take a look at this defensive gem from Lars Nootbaar.
Not sure what was better – Nootbaar’s tongue out, his jump with Bader, McFarland’s reaction or Alonso’s reaction. So much goodness.
What a great series sweep by the Cardinals.
The Ugly Moment
In the fifth inning of Tuesday’s game, Daniel Ponce de Leon was brought in to take over pitching duties from Jake Woodford. Ponce was able to get Tomas Nido to ground out to Tommy Edman and then things got a little complicated.
Ponce walked pitcher Marcus Stroman. Ponce then had a mound visit with Yadier Molina and the infield. He then proceeded to walk Jonathan Villar and two more mound visits, including pitching coach Mike Maddux, transpired.
Ponce threw a wild pitch which moved Stroman to third and Villar to second. He then walked Francisco Lindor. Another mound visit ensued, and then Kodi Whitley was brought into the game.
Whitley got Michael Conforto to hit into a sacrifice fly to Tyler O’Neill allowing Stroman to score. Whitley was then able to get Pete Alonso to strikeout to end the ending.
During the break between innings, cameras were able to capture a dust-up between Ponce and Molina ending with the two having to be separated and Ponce appearing to be sent to the clubhouse.
Here’s a tweet with a gif including said dust-up. Manager Mike Shildt, who appeared to be one of several coaches keeping the two apart, said it was nothing more than “brotherly love” in a post-game press conference.
Ponce appeared to shake off Molina several times and the two were definitely not on the same page for whatever reason while he was on the mound. It seemed a little more than a “brotherly love” type of incident.
What a wonderful series sweep by the Cardinals.
Having won five in a row, the Cardinals are now 76-69 on the season and in the second wild card spot. The Cardinals are 1.5 games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central and wild card.
The Cardinals are one game ahead of the San Diego Padres in the wild card race. The Padres come to St. Louis for a three-game set this weekend. This is a very important series for the Cardinals to maintain the second wild card slot against a team battling to get the position back.
The Cardinals will also honor the 2011 World Series Championship team. It will be nice for this current edition of Cardinals to have the 2011 squad at Busch to remember that team’s amazing ride.
Let’s hope the Cardinals keep up their amazing play and expand their lead over the Padres.