The Lizard King played stopper and halted the Cardinals’ three-game skid.
It’s too early to say the Cardinals were “spiraling” after three-straight losses in May, but consecutive losses to Baltimore might’ve promoted some folks to reach for the panic button. Fortunately, Miles Mikolas was nails, the rookies kept hitting, and the Cardinals shoved around the Orioles at home to end their three-game slide, 10-1.
Juan Yepez had his fifth multi-hit game of the season, Brendan Donovan reached base four times, and the Cardinals went 5-12 with runners in scoring position. Mikolas pitched seven innings of one-run ball, lowering his ERA to 1.49 — the fourth-lowest in baseball. Paul Goldschmidt also stretched his on-base streak to 18 games with a 2-3 performance plus a walk.
Here’s how it went down:
Mikolas was able to work a three up, three down first inning. Cedric Mullins grounded out to Paul Goldschmidt at first, followed by Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander strikeouts.
The Cardinals’ bats mimicked the Orioles’ in the first inning, with Tommy Edman leading it off and grounding out to Mancini at first base. Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado then struck out back-to-back to end the inning.
Another three up, three down inning for Mikolas on 12 pitches. Austin Hays, Rougned Odor, and Jorge Mateo all grounded out, keeping the Orioles off the board in the second inning.
Juan Yepez led off the second inning with his second homer of the season, pounding a hanging curveball into the bullpen in left field.
Dylan Carlson then doubled down the left field line, but was erased on a bad baserunning mistakes moments later on Yadier Molina’s groundout to the pitcher. Spenser Watkins checked on Carlson, saw he was caught in no-man’s land, and was able to run him back to the base before throwing to second and the tag was applied by Mateo. Molina reached first on the fielder’s choice out.
Harrison Bader then flew out to Hays in center for the second out before Corey Dickerson hit a double down the left field line that looked identical to Carlson’s moments ago. Molina moved to third, and the Carlson baserunning gaffe loomed large. However, Brendan Donovan followed Dickerson’s double with one of his own, punching an 0-2 slider into the right-center gap, scoring Molina and Dickerson. Edman then flew out to center field to end the inning, but the Redbirds had taken an early 3-0 lead.
Baltimore continued to look baffled at the plate early, going down in order in the third inning just like they did in the first and second. Tyler Nevin struck out swinging to lead off the inning, and then both Robinson Chirinos and Chris Owings grounded out to retire the side. Mikolas retired the Baltimore lineup in order on 45 pitches the first time through.
Goldschmidt led off the bottom of the third with a walk, making it 18 straight games he has reached base. However, Arenado popped out in foul territory, Yepez flew out to left field, and Carlson flew out to center to end the inning and strand Goldy at first.
Mullins broke up Mikolas’ perfect game with a leadoff single to right field to kick off the fourth inning. Baltimore wasn’t able to capitalize off that leadoff single, however. Mancini grounded out to Donovan at shortstop, advancing Mullins to second with one out. Santander then flew out to Carlson in right field, allowing Mullins to tag and advance to third with two outs. Hays wasn’t able to drive in the run from third, grounding out sharply to Arenado at third base to end the Orioles’ half of the fourth.
The Cardinals extended their field goal lead to a touchdown lead in the fourth inning, tacking on four more runs. Yadi struck out swinging to start the inning before Bader singled the opposite way with one out. Dickerson then flew out to deep right field, and Bader tagged and moved into scoring position with two outs.
Donovan then worked an eight-pitch walk, reaching base for the second time in the game. Edman kept the two-out rally alive by singling to left field, scoring Bader. Nevin’s throw from left field was a bit up the first base line and got away from Chirinos, allowing Donovan to advance to third and Edman to second. Nevin was charged with an error on the play.
Goldschmidt then stepped in with two outs and hammered a ball to left center field, missing a three-run homer by less than a foot. The ball thudded off the top of the wall for a two-run double, making it 6-0 Cardinals.
After falling behind 0-2 and fouling off several pitches, Arenado slapped a 93 mph fastball into right-center field for a double to drive in Goldy from second, making it 7-0 St. Louis.
Baltimore brought in Paul Fry in relief of Watkins at this point, and he was able to induce a groundout from Yepez to end the inning.
Watkins’ final line: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s (81 pitches)
After Odor flew out to right to start the inning, Mateo reached on a clean ground-ball single to center with one out. Nevin then flew out to Bader in deep center field for the second out. With two outs, Chirinos hit a high popup in shallow center field that Bader, Edman, and Donovan all converged on — but nobody caught.
Bader looked to have the best opportunity, but dove to avoid colliding with Edman and the ball plopped into center field for a double, scoring Mateo and making it 7-1 Cardinals in the fifth. Owings then grounded out softly with a tapper down the first base line that Mikolas picked up and tossed to Goldschmidt at first for the Orioles’ final out.
St. Louis was retired in order in their half of the fifth inning. Carlson grounded out to third, Molina grounded out to short, and Bader struck out swinging on five pitches.
Mikolas was able to work around some traffic on the bases and put up another zero. He walked Mullins to start the inning, but both Mullins and Mancini were erased when Mancini grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, started by the gold-glover Edman at second. Santander rapped a two-out single to Yepez in left field, but Austin Hays’ weak grounder back to Mikolas on the mound was an easy play to end the Orioles’ half of the sixth.
Baltimore left-hander Logan Allen replaced Fry on the mound in the sixth. To counter this, Oli Marmol pinch-hit Albert Pujols for Dickerson, who went 1-2 with a double and a run scored tonight. Pujols grounded out to Odor at second, who was shifted directly behind the second base bag. Pujols now has 2 hits in his last 23 at-bats. Donovan continued his perfect night at the plate, getting hit by an Allen fastball up near the shoulder and was awarded first base. Edman tapped a swinging bunt out in front of home plate that Chirinos jumped on and threw to first, retiring Edman and advancing Donovan to second.
Goldschmidt then ripped an 0-2 mistake pitch from Allen up the middle, scoring Donovan from second and making it 8-1 St. Louis. But Arenado grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, with Owings throwing over to second base to end the inning.
Mikolas kept shoving in the seventh, setting down Baltimore in order on 14 pitches. Odor flew out to Bader in center, Mateo grounded out sharply to Donovan at short, and Nevin grounded out to Goldschmidt at first, who fielded the chopper and flipped to Mikolas covering the bag.
Mikolas’ final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K’s (98 pitches)
27-year old righty Travis Lakins took the mound in the seventh and put up a zero — his third scoreless appearance of the season. Yepez led off the Cardinals’ half of the inning with a single — his fifth multi-hit game out of seven games this season. But Carlson and Molina both flew out and Bader struck out swinging to end the inning.
Marmol made the move to bring in rookie right-hander Jake Walsh in the eighth inning, ending Mikolas’ stellar night and prompting the 2017 16th-round pick’s MLB debut. Walsh was the closer at Triple-A Memphis to this point, converting all six of his save opportunities and striking out 16 over 11 innings whilst registering a 0.82 ERA.
Walsh got Chirinos to fly out to Bader in center field, and then struck out Owings and Mullins to register his first two career strikeouts and a scoreless eighth inning in his first taste of the big leagues.
Welcome to the Show, Jake Walsh!
First three batters, 2 strikeouts pic.twitter.com/DtwB64ttXq
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 12, 2022
Pujols worked a leadoff walk off of Lakins to start the eighth inning and advanced to third on Donovan’s near-homer to left-center field. It ricocheted off the wall in front of the bullpen, and Donovan was on base for the fourth time in the game. Edman then grounded out to first, scoring Pujols (and moving Donovan to third) and making it a 9-1 ballgame. Kramer Robertson then pinch-hit for Paul Goldschmidt — his first career at-bat — and grounded out to Odor at second, scoring Donovan from third for his first career RBI and making it a 10-1 game.
Andrew Knizner pinch-hit for Arenado with the game safely in hand and drew a walk. Yepez then struck out on a high fastball to end the eighth inning.
Walsh returned for the ninth and Mancini greeted him with a leadoff single up the middle. Anthony Bemboom (great name) struck out pinch-hitting for Santander. Hays flew out to Carlson in semi-deep right field for the second out.
Odor then hit a routine ground ball to Robertson at short — who entered the game as a defensive replacement. Robertson threw the ball wide of first base, allowing Odor to reach and extend the game. The ball did go into the Cardinals’ dugout, giving Baltimore runners on second and third with two outs. However, Walsh punched out Mateo to end the game and secure a 10-1 St. Louis victory.
The Cardinals (17-13) go for the series win Thursday afternoon against Baltimore (13-18). Jordan Hicks (1-2, 3.78 ERA) is penciled in as the starter for game three. Hicks pitched into the fifth inning his last time out against the Giants, surrendering two runs on three hits over 4.1 innings while striking out five. The Orioles have yet to name a starting pitcher for the finale of this three-game set. First pitch is set for 12:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 5, Dodgers 3 – The Pirates just won a series against the Dodgers?
Reds 14, Brewers 11 – Milwaukee hit five homers but were out-slugged by the suddenly hot Reds.
Cubs 7, Padres 5 – Our good friend Luke Voit hit his first two homers of the year for San Diego.
WARdle #63 – X/9
How am I supposed to know every middle reliever for every AL team? Get out of here, WARdle.