ST. LOUIS- After nearly 20 winless major league starts stretched out over two seasons and a few weeks short of the one year anniversary of his big league debut, St. Louis Cardinals Johan Oviedo did just about all he could to break through Tuesday in the win column for the first time. Oviedo pitched five innings against the Cubs, giving up one run on 3 hits, with five strikeouts and a walk. He also had a hit and a run batted in as part of a three run third inning for St. Louis.
It ended up not being enough, as Chicago touched the St. Louis bullpen for six runs in the top of the ninth, leading to a 7-6 Cubs win.
Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley and Justin Miller pitched scoreless innings in relief. Luis Garcia gave up a hit, a wild pitch and a walk in the top of the ninth. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was forced to go to closer Alex Reyes. Three runs that scored were charged to Garcia, while Reyes walked two, gave up two hits and three runs.
Oviedo had his homeland on his mind and literally on his cap. Cubans have been protesting in the streets because of massive shortages of food and other basic necessities. Oviedo had SOS CUBA and PatriaYVida (My Homeland My Life) written on his hat, just as his teammate Nolan Arenado has recently.
Arenado’s grandfather was a political prisoner under the Fidel Castro regime before his family fled the country.
Oviedo was born in Cuba in 1998 and in a 2018 interview with MILB.com, described the journey of leaving for the Dominican Republic via Equador and Haiti. He said after the game that his entire family is in Cuba, that he talks with them everyday and that they’re ok.
“This was one way I got to really support them and try to make things better for the people,” he said.