The bottom of the order is raking as well, for what it’s worth.
Instead of falling behind early and needing to come back, St. Louis flipped the script and jumped out to a big lead, only to pretty much blow it later. But it was still a fun game that featured an Albert Pujols homer, 3 RBI from Andrew Knizner, and a candidate for moment of the year from Packy Naughton.
More on Packy later, but his contributions in this game likely made the difference between winning and losing.
Anyway, I’ve gotta pack for my trip. I’ll see y’all at Busch on Wednesday!
Shortly before first pitch it was announced that Jordan Hicks would serve as an opener for today’s game rather than a traditional start from Matthew Liberatore. Hicks was erratic facing Mookie Betts, walking the Dodgers’ leadoff man on five pitches. But he got the speedy Trea Turner to ground into a 5-4-3 double play — his seventh GIDP of the season. The Dodgers kept the pressure on Hicks with a two-out single from Freddie Freeman and a two-out walk from Will Smith, but he was able to strike out Justin Turner to end the threat and the inning.
The Cardinals went down 1-2-3 against Mitch White in the first inning. Tommy Edman grounded out to second base, Dylan Carlson grounded out to third base, and Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging.
Hicks was able to induce groundouts from Trayce Thompson and Hanser Alberto for the first and second outs, but walked Cody Bellinger. Oli Marmol called the bullpen and swiftly made a move, bringing in right-hander Johan Oviedo. Oviedo was able to get Austin Barnes to pop out on the infield for out number three.
Hicks’ final line: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB’s, 1 K (38 pitches)
Both Nolans (Arenado and Gorman) grounded out to start the bottom of the second, and then St. Louis got to work with two outs. Albert Pujols got the Redbirds on the board with his sixth homer of the season and second in three days. His 685th career dinger traveled 386 feet and landed about four rows into the left field seats.
After going 0-14 in the Phillies series, Juan Yepez singled to left field with his first AB against the Dodgers. He advanced to third base on a ground-rule double hit by Corey Dickerson, likely saving LA a run in the process. But with Andrew Knizner batting, White overcooked a slider that Barnes couldn’t handle and Yepez scored anyway on the wild pitch to make it 2-0 St. Louis in the second.
Dickerson moved to third on the wild pitch as well, and scored on Knizner’s single up the middle just moments later to make it 3-0 St. Louis.
Edman singled to left field to keep the two-out rally going, advancing Knizner to second base. Carlson’s groundout to Turner at short finally killed the two-out rally.
Betts struck out looking leading off the third inning before Trea Turner reached on an infield single. Freeman hit an opposite-field double into the left-center gap that scored Turner easily, cutting St. Louis’ lead to two runs.
Will Smith flew out to Dickerson in left field for out number two, and Freeman was not able to tag. After a walk to Justin Turner prompted a mound visit from Greg Maddux and his claw, Oviedo got Thompson to fly out to end the inning and keep the damage at one run.
St. Louis got that run back with some more two-out magic in the bottom half of the inning from Gorman. Goldschmidt flew out for the first out and Arenado popped out to third base for the second out. Gorman then unloaded on a low, 84 mph slider and hammered it 417 feet out to center field for his eighth homer of the season. His bomb made it 4-1 Cardinals in the third.
Pujols worked a six-pitch walk right after, his sixth time reaching base over the past three games. Yepez popped out on the infield to end the third inning.
Matthew Liberatore took the mound in the fourth and was able to work three quick groundouts on 10 pitches. Alberto, Bellinger, and Barnes all grounded out in order in the top of the fourth.
The Cardinals tacked on two more runs against White in the fourth, as Dave Roberts left him out there to eat innings and wear it for just a little while longer. Dickerson led off the bottom half of the inning with a double down the left field line, and Knizner’s bloop single to right field scored him to make it 5-1.
Edman grounded into a 4-6-3 double play started by Alberto at second base to eliminate both himself and Knizner. Carlson worked a long at-bat and eventually drew a walk. Goldschmidt singled to right field — advancing Carlson to third base — and Arenado singled up the middle to drive him in and give St. Louis a five-run lead.
Gorman flew out to right field for the final out.
But the Dodgers refused to roll over and be blown out. Betts led off the fifth with a soft single to right field, and Trea Turner followed with his 12th homer of the season, banging it off the front of the second deck in left field. His two-run shot made it 6-3 St. Louis, a much more manageable deficit for the Dodgers. It wasn’t a terrible pitch, either. Liberatore buried the 95 mph sinker down and in, but Turner golfed it out anyway.
Freeman grounded out to Edman at short for the first out, and Smith singled up the middle. Justin Turner flew out to Carlson in center field for the second out. Thompson yanked a ground ball down the third base line, but Arenado circled around it, made the play, and then threw from foul territory to nail Thompson at first for the final out of the inning.
Somehow, some way, Mitch White was still in this game in the fifth inning, which is a really good thing for the Dodgers’ bullpen moving forward. He struck out Pujols and Yepez for the first two outs of the inning, and then Dickerson closed the book on the inning by popping out to Freeman at first.
White’s final line: 5 IP, 10 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K’s (90 pitches)
Los Angeles was able to tack on another run against Liberatore in the sixth and make it a close ballgame again. Alberto led off the inning with a ground-rule double to center field. Bellinger’s ground ball to first base advanced the runner to third base with one out.
Oli Marmol took Liberatore out of the game at this point, opting to bring in hard-throwing right-hander Junior Fernandez.
St. Louis did not bring the infield in with a three-run lead, so Barnes’ groundout to short scored Alberto and made it 6-4 St. Louis — the run was charged to Liberatore. Betts grounded out to Arenado at third base for the third out.
Right-hander Phil Bickford replaced White in the sixth. He worked a quick frame, with Knizner grounding out to third base, Edman flying out to left field, and Carlson flying out to center. Bickford threw eight pitches that inning.
Fernandez returned for the seventh inning. Trea Turner reached on catcher’s interference to start the inning. Freeman singled to left field. Will Smith singled to right field, scoring Turner to make it just a one-run deficit — 6-5. Lars Nootbaar’s throw from right field was wide left and low, which let Smith advance to second base on the play. He was assessed an error moments after entering the game — ironically enough — as a defensive replacement.
Fernandez walked Justin Tuner on six pitches to load the bases with nobody out. Marmol went with Packy Naughton to face the left-handed hitting Max Muncy with the bases juiced and no room for error.
Naughton got Muncy to fly out to shallow center field for the first out, and Freeman did not try to tag up from third. Alberto did the same, but he flew out to left field. Dickerson nearly dropped the ball, but was able to throw it in quickly and Freeman once again was not able to tag up and score.
After a long, seven-pitch at-bat, Naughton punched out Bellinger to somehow escape the bases loaded jam. With a one-run lead, it may have been the biggest performance from a Cardinals’ reliever this season so far. Packy Naughton has inherited nine runners this season, and not a single one has scored.
28-year old right-hander Yency Almonte took over in the eighth inning and was able to induce an easy groundout from Goldschmidt. Arenado drew a one-out walk. Gorman struck out swinging and Pujols grounded out to second base to end the inning.
Oli Marmol went with All-Star right-hander Ryan Helsley in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out pinch-hitter Gavin Lux with a 103 mph fastball at the top of the zone, and I’m not sure if he’s ever hit 103?
Mookie Betts worked the count full against Helsley and then took a full count slider that appeared to be up and in — maybe a little bit above the zone — but home plate umpire Will Little rang him up. Betts was already taking off his shin guard to jog to first, but he had to pick it up and head back to the dugout. Turner put a charge into one into center field with two outs, but Carlson was able to range back and made the grab for the third out.
St. Louis was able to get some things going in the bottom of the eighth inning against David Price and pad their lead a little bit.
Nootbaar welcomed Price to the game with a double down the right field line, and advanced to third base on Dickerson’s groundout up the middle. Los Angeles pulled the infield in, but Andrew Knizner snuck a ground ball through the 5.5 hole on the left side for an RBI single, making it 7-5 St. Louis. After going almost an entire month without an RBI, Knizner had three Tuesday night against the Dodgers.
Edman followed Knizner’s single with one of his own, advancing Knizner into scoring position. But Carlson struck out and Goldschmidt grounded out, ending the eighth inning with two runners left on base.
Giovanny Gallegos entered to close out his 10th save of the season. Freddie Freeman greeted him with a monster home run over the bullpen in right field, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to just one run again. Freddie’s blast traveled 417 feet and left the bat at 110 mph.
Gallegos punched out Smith with a backup slider for out number one, and got Justin Turner swinging for the second out. Muncy drew a four-pitch walk as the potential tying run, which brought gave Jake Lamb a chance to be the hero. Lamb, who entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement after Trayce Thompson was pinch-hit for, flew out to center field for the final out of the game.
Cardinals hang on. It was not comfortable, but it’s a big win.
FINAL: Cardinals 7, Dodgers 6
St. Louis (48-42) will to try to lock up a series win Wednesday night at Busch. Adam Wainwright (6-7, 3.15 ERA) takes the mound after tossing a complete game (loss) his last time out vs the Phillies. Tony Gonsolin (11-0, 1.62 ERA) goes for the Dodgers (56-30). Gonsolin leads baseball in both wins and ERA. First pitch is set for 6:45 p.m.
Around the Central
Pirates 3, Marlins 2 – Pittsburgh’s bullpen did a fine job closing it down. Too bad they’ll all be traded in a few weeks.
Reds 4, Yankees 3 – Jonathan India’s bases loaded single sunk the MLB-best Yankees in the ninth inning
Brewers 6, Twins 2 – TOP 7
MLB Pickle #125 – 6/9
They shouldn’t be able to use injured players, or else I would’ve nailed this much, much quicker.