St. Louis sits alone atop the NL Central.
Johan Oviedo has always had pretty good stuff. A toasty fastball that can run up to 97 mph on a good day and a tight slider to keep hitters from locking in on the fastball. But he just didn’t stick last season in the rotation. On Wednesday, he retired all seven batters he faced out of the bullpen after Adam Wainwright was unable to make it through five innings, and earned his first career win.
Nolan Arenado hasn’t been elite this season with the stick, but he wacked his 14th homer of the season in a crucial spot, giving St. Louis a lead that they would not relinquish. Nolan’s batting average ticked up to .278, his OPS up to .856, and he now has 48 RBI.
Big win in Milwaukee. Here’s how it unfolded:
Eric Lauer struck out Tommy Edman to start the game, and then Dylan Carlson singled to left field with one out. Paul Goldschmidt then obliterated a 1-0, inside fastball into the left field seats for his 17th homer of the season, scoring Carlson and making it 2-0 St. Louis in the first inning.
Nolan Arenado flew out to Christian Yelich in left field for out number two, and Juan Yepez popped out to second base for the final out in the top of the first.
Adam Wainwright got two quick outs in the first inning, with Yelich flying out to Harrison Bader in center field and Luis Urias striking out looking. Rowdy Tellez then golfed an ankle-high fastball just over the right field wall for his 11th homer of the season to get the Brewers on the board in the first.
Andrew McCutchen grounded out to Edman at short to end the first inning, with St. Louis leading 2-1.
The Cardinals were sat down in order in the second. Albert Pujols grounded out to Jace Peterson at third base and then both Nolan Gorman and Bader struck out.
The Brewers also went three up, three down. Hunter Renfroe struck out swinging, Omar Narvaez grounded out to Gorman at second, and Keston Hiura struck out swinging.
Lauer retired all three Cardinals in the third inning on nine pitches. Andrew Knizner hit a sharp ground ball into the gap between third and shortstop, but Luis Urias made a sliding play to snag it, and then popped up to throw out Knizner at first. Edman flew out to Tyrone Taylor in center field for the second out, and Carlson struck out swinging.
Peterson grounded out to Edman and Taylor struck out for the first and second outs in the bottom of the third inning. Yelich singled to center field with two outs, but Urias grounded out to Edman to end the inning.
Both teams got back into the scoring column in the fourth inning. After Golschmidt led off the fourth with a strikeout, Arenado doubled down into the left field corner. Yepez singled to center on a shallow fly ball that dropped in front of Taylor, with Arenado advancing to third. With runners on the corners and one out, Pujols drove the ball back to the warning track in left field for a sac fly — scoring Arenado and making it 3-1 St. Louis.
Gorman flew out to Taylor in center field for the third out, stranding Yepez at first.
Tellez grounded out to a shifted Edman up the middle for the first out in the bottom of the fourth. Wainwright then made a mistake to McCutchen, leaving an 82 mph changeup too high. The former NL MVP clubbed it 423 feet to left-center field, over the Milwaukee bullpen for his fifth home run of the season, cutting St. Louis’ lead to 3-2 in the fourth.
Renfroe worked the count to 2-2 and then doubled to left field as the potential tying run, still with only one out. But Narvaez struck out swinging on a high fastball and Hiura flew out to Bader, stranding him in scoring position to end the inning.
Bader led off the fifth and hit a scorcher up the middle, but Hiura was shifted to the right and was able to make a play and throw out Bader for the first out of the fifth. For the second at-at in a row, Knizner swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to Urias at shortstop. Edman hit a line drive at Hiura at second base for the final out in the top of the fifth.
Wainwright struck out Peterson on a big breaking curveball for the first out in the bottom half of the inning. Taylor singled to right field with one out. Yelich then hit a fly ball the opposite way into left field, and Yepez — very much a below average defender out there — misplayed it, and the ball dropped on the warning track for a double. Taylor scored from first base, and the game was tied, 3-3.
Urias struck out looking on a 2-2 fastball that apparently skimmed the outside of the zone, although he wasn’t going to get any favorable calls after arguing with home plate umpire Brian Knight in the first inning. Wainwright walked Tellez on four pitches, and it looked like an “unofficial” intentional walk where Waino and Knizner would rather face McCutchen.
McCutchen rewarded Wainwright by hitting a ground-rule double to left field, scoring Taylor from second — who was only in scoring position because of the walk to Tellez. It made the score 4-3 Milwaukee, and that was all she wrote for Wainwright. Marmol made the walk out, and it was Johan Ovideo from the bullpen.
Oviedo got Renfroe to ground out for the final out of the fifth inning, but Milwaukee led 4-3 heading into the sixth.
Wainwright’s final line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K’s (101 pitches)
Milwaukee didn’t have the lead for long, as the Cardinals got back on the board in the sixth inning against Lauer. Carlson flew out to right field for the first out of the inning, and then Goldschmidt drew a walk. Then, Lauer hung a slider over the middle to Arenado and he hit it 406 feet into left field, over the bullpen and into the standing room only seats. His 14th home run of the season traveled 406 feet and gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead in the sixth.
Yepez singled to center field with one out — his second knock of the day. But Pujols grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play to record outs two and three.
Lauer’s final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s (97 pitches)
Oviedo pitched a clean bottom of the sixth, getting Narvaez to fly out to center field and then striking out both Hiura and Peterson.
Side-arming left-hander Hoby Milner took over in the seventh after six innings from Lauer. Gorman struck out looking. Bader struck out swinging. Knizner struck out looking.
Oviedo got both Taylor and Yelich to ground out, and then struck out Urias on a high fastball to end the seventh. Johan retired all seven batters he faced on 32 pitches, striking out three of them.
Do we….. do we have our reliable bridge man to get to our good relievers? * knock on wood *
Edman led off the eighth against Milner and doubled off the base of the wall in left-center field. Carlson walked, and Craig Counsell pulled Milner. He brought in another sidearmer, but this time of the right-handed variety — Trevor Kelley. Kelly struck out Goldschmidt for the first out, and then while Arenado was hitting St. Louis executed a double steal, with Edman taking third and Carlson swiping second. Arenado then flew out to shallow center field, and neither runner advanced. Lars Nootbaar — who subbed in as a defensive replacement for Yepez in left field — struck out swinging, stranding both runners.
Genesis Cabrera took the mound in the eighth inning, his 25th appearance of the season. He walked Tellez — the potential tying run — on six pitches leading off the inning. McCutchen then grounded into a force out, with Arenado going the short way to second to wipe out Tellez. Renfroe grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play (Edman to Gorman to Pujols) to get Cabrera and the Cardinals out of the eighth with a one-run lead.
Brendan Donovan pinch-hit for Pujols against the sidewinding Kelley, and struck out swinging. Gorman struck out swinging as well, his fourth three-strikeout game of the season. Bader struck out swinging as well to end the top of the ninth.
St. Louis struck out eight times over the final three innings.
Cabrera stayed out there for the ninth inning, looking to convert his first save of the season. Willy Adames pinch-hit for Narvaez and struck out. Hiura grounded out to Gorman at second base. Victor Caratini pinch-hit for Peterson and drew a two-out walk, and Taylor was hit by a 99 mph fastball from Cabrera on the hand, which not only put him on as the potential winning run, but moved the tying run to second base with two outs.
But Cabrera got Yelich to ground out to Gorman at second base, stranding both runners and wrapping up a nail-biting, 5-4 win for the Cardinals.
Congratulations to Johan Oviedo on his first career win!
FINAL: Cardinals 5, Brewers 4
With a split secured, the Cardinals (40-31) go for the series win tomorrow afternoon at American Family Field. Dakota Hudson (5-3, 3.31 ERA) will start for St. Louis. He earned the win against Boston his last time out, allowing two earned runs over five innings despite allowing nine total baserunners. Rookie right-hander Jason Alexander (1-0, 2.42 ERA) — who is 29 years old — will make his fifth start of the season for Milwaukee (39-32). He earned a win against Cincinnati over the weekend, giving up two earned runs over 5.2 innings despite allowing nine total baserunners. First pitch is at 1:10 p.m.
Around the Central
Dodgers 8, Reds 4 – The no good, very bad Reds bullpen blinked in the seventh, and the Dodgers broke the 4-4 tie.
Cubs 14, Pirates 5 – Jerad Eickhoff became the first pitcher since Chubby Dean in 1940 to give up 10 ER or more in back-to-back starts.
Pickle #105 – 5/9
I actually traded Max Fried away for this player in fantasy baseball at the beginning of last season….. it has not worked out well for me.