Righty Pablo Lopez took the mound for the Marlins and issued a leadoff base hit to left-center to Tommy Edman on a high hanging 1-1 cutter. But Edman was quickly erased when Paul Goldschmidt hit a hard grounder to Jesus Aguilar towards the first base line. Aguilar happened to be standing there after holding Edman on at 1st base, and initiated a 3-6-3 double play. Nolan Arenado chopped a low 2-2 sinker to 3rd to end the inning. Jack Flaherty took the hill for the Cards for his 2nd start of the season, and got into a little trouble early. Corey Dickerson sliced a low curve that was almost into the dirt into left for a leadoff base hit, and Starling Marte drew a 3-2 walk. With the count 3-2 on Jesus Aguilar, Dickerson moved for 3rd base as soon as Jack lifted up his left leg from the stretch, but instead of going to the plate, Jack spun around and fired to Carpenter at 2nd, who threw Dickerson out at 3rd trying to advance. The official scoring play was 1-4-5 caught stealing.
Marte advanced to 2nd base on the play. Aguilar walked, and instead of bases loaded nobody out, the Marlins had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Garrett Cooper flied an outside 2-2 fastball to the track in right that allowed Marte to advance to 3rd, but the out on the bases cost the Marlins, as Brian Anderson grounded out to Carpenter at 2nd base near the bag for the 4-6 flip to end the inning.
From here on out, there were hardly any baserunners until the 7th inning. Paul DeJong worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the top of the 2nd, but he was erased when Matt Carpenter grounded into the shift on the right side of the infield for a 5-4 force. Carpenter was stranded at 1st when Yadier Molina popped up to 2nd and Tyler O’Neill struck out swinging at a changeup right down the middle. Flaherty threw 25 pitches in the first inning, but settled down to strike out the side in the bottom of the 2nd, getting Jazz Chisolm on a high fastball, Jon Berti looking at a fastball on the inside corner and Chad Wallach swinging at a slider nowhere close to the plate.
It was Lopez’s time for strikeouts in the top of the 3rd, as he got Carlson swinging at a fastball right down the middle and Flaherty swinging at a 3-2 fastball on the inside corner. Edman got the bat on the ball, but grounded a 3-2 change weakly to 2nd base. After Flaherty got the pitcher to ground out to lead off the bottom of the 3rd, Dickerson worked a 9-pitch walk after fouling off some tough pitches and being behind in the count 0-2. But he was stranded when Flaherty induced both Marte and Aguilar to fly out to shallow center.
The Cards got a runner to 3rd base in the top of the 4th, but couldn’t capitalize. With 1 out, Arenado ripped a change for a sharp grounder through the hole and a base hit to left. He moved to 2nd base on DeJong’s slow groundout to 3rd and advanced to 3rd base when the catcher Wallach got crossed up with the pitcher and dropped an unexpected first-pitch four-seamer to Carpenter, with the ball getting away. Carpenter got ahead in the count 2-1, but ended up striking out swinging at two straight fastballs near the middle of the zone to end the threat. In the bottom of the 4th, Flaherty allowed a walk to Jazz Chisolm after striking out Cooper on 3 pitches and Carlson ran down Anderson’s 100 mph liner to right-center that stalled at the wall. But Flaherty made a nice athletic grab of Berti’s grounder to the mound to end the inning.
At this point, the Marlins’ starter Lopez was actually more efficient than Flaherty, having thrown only 59 pitches to Flaherty’s 76 and allowed 2 fewer baserunners. Lopez continued his efficiency by retiring the Cards in order on 7 pitches in the top of the 5th. O’Neill smoked the ball with the 2nd out, but lined the ball close to the left fielder. Jack picked up two more strikeouts in the bottom of the 5th, getting Wallach to chase a 3-2 fastball about a foot above the zone and the pitcher Lopez to wave at a low-and-in slider. Dickerson flied a slider to medium center to end that inning.
Going into the top of the 6th, Lopez had only thrown 66 pitches, and retired the Cards in order on another 11 pitches, getting Flaherty to ground out to short, Edman to strike out chasing a changeup that bounced on the plate, and Goldschmidt to ground out hard to short. Flaherty was at 91 pitches, but Shildt sent him back out for the bottom of the 6th and returned his own 10-pitch inning. Marte grounded out to 2nd and Aguilar grounded out to short. Cooper hit an outside fastball hard, but directly at Tommy Edman in right to end the inning.
At only 77 pitches when the top of the 7th began, it looked like Lopez might cruise until the end of the game. Arenado struck out swinging at a 2-2 inside fastball, and DeJong flied an 3-2 inside fastball to the track in left. With 2 outs, Carpenter did what he does best and walked on 5 pitches, with the last one being very close. On an 0-1 pitch, Lopez left a cutter just a little too far up, and although the pitch was inside and not a strike, Molina launched it into the left field seats for a 2-run homer, a 427-foot shot to give the Cards a 2-0 lead.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 7, 2021
That knocked Lopez out of the game at 99 pitches, and the Marlins brought in righty Dylan Floro to strike O’Neill out swinging at an elevated fastball to end the inning. Mike Shildt made a double switch for the bottom of the 7th, as there was no need to push Jack beyond 101 pitches. Genesis Cabrera came in on no rest to pitch in the #5 spot, Justin Williams came in to play right field in the #9 spot, Edman moved from right field to second base and Carpenter exited the game. Cabrera dispatched the 5-6-7 guys in the Marlins lineup in order on 9 pitches. He especially had help from Carlson in center field, who ran down a ball at the wall in right-center that Anderson crushed in the first plate appearance of the inning.
Righty submariner Adam Cimber came out to pitch in the top of the 8th and retired Carlson and Williams on 4 total pitches. Edman extended the inning with a soft grounder through the right side on a 1-0 down-the middle fastball and stole second base. Goldschmidt drove Edman home to extend the Cards’ lead to 3-0 with a lined base hit to left. Cardinalsgifs has the sequence that led to the runs.
— cardinalsgifs (@cardinalsgifs) April 7, 2021
Arenado flied out to end the inning.
After only 9 pitches the last inning, Cabrera came back out for the bottom of the 8th and struck out Wallach and Lewis Brinson, who pinch hit for the pitcher Cimber. Both strikeouts were on elevated fastballs. Dickerson drove a 1-2 low-and-away curve to the gap in left-center that bounced on the track, eluding O’Neill’s dive and going over the wall for a ground rule double. But he was stranded there when Marte tapped a 1-0 change back to the mound to end the inning.
Righty Zach Pop came out to pitch for the Marlins in the top of the 9th. After DeJong worked a 3-2 walk, John Nogowski pinch hit for Cabrera. Pop threw a 1-0, 95 mph sinker that was headed right for Nogowski’s face. He managed to jerk his head out of the way, but the ball hit him square on the left hand. Nogowski went down, but popped right back up almost like nothing happened. Molina walked on 5 pitches to load the bases. O’Neill was ahead in the count 2-0, but chased three pitches out of the zone to strike for the third time on the evening. O’Neill has now struck out in 12 out of his 25 trips to the plate with no walks on the season. Carlson started out behind in the count 0-2, but laid off a couple of tough close pitches to work the count full. He then drove an outside 94 mph fastball over the right-center field wall for a grand slam, his 3rd homer of the young season, to extend the Cards’ lead to 7-0.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 7, 2021
That was it for Pop, and righty John Curtiss came out to pitch. Williams got his first hit of the season by demolishing a first-pitch outside fastball for a 107 mph exit velocity comebacker, knocking the pitcher down with a line drive off of what looked like his forearm. It was hit so hard that the ball deflected all the way to Aguilar, who was playing off the line at first base. Edman lined a slider for a base hit to right to move Williams to 2nd, but Goldschmidt flied out to center and Arenado swung way late at a high fastball and struck out to end the inning.
With Gallegos and Reyes unavailable on account of having pitched in the two previous games, Shildt decided to bring Jordan Hicks out to finish things off in the bottom of the 9th. It took him 25 pitches, but he got the job done. Because the Cards were lined up in a shift against the right-handed hitting Aguilar, he got a base hit to right by grounding an inside sinker through an area where the 2nd baseman would normally stand. Cooper chased a slider about a foot low-and-outside and struck out on 3 pitches. Hicks bounced what was meant to be a 1-2 slider about a foot in front of the plate and got away from Molina for a wild pitch to move Aguilar to 2nd. Anderson walked when Hicks bounced a 102 mph sinker in the dirt. Chisolm lined a 102 mph first-pitch sinker for O’Neill towards the left field line. Berti worked a 10-pitch plate appearance that featured 9 pitches of 101 mph or greater, with a couple of 102 mph pitches and one pitch even clocking in at 103.2. The last pitch was an outside slider (Statcast called it a cutter) that Berti poked to right field. It sailed towards the line, but Williams raced forward and made a diving catch to end the game.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 7, 2021
The Cards return home Thursday for their home opener, where Adam Wainwright will go up against the Milwaukee Brewers at 3:15 central time.
Flaherty (5 days rest) 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 6 SO; Cabrera (no rest, bottom 7, ahead 2-0) 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO; Hicks (1 day rest, bottom 9, ahead 7-0) 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO.