The Cardinals spirited rally wasn’t enough to overcome a so-so outing from Wainwright and a dud from McFarland.
I’m generally a glass-half full type of person, but tonight’s loss was a frustrating one at Fenway. Wainwright wasn’t great, but he wasn’t horrid, either. Oli Marmol went with the two-pack of Nick Wittgren and T.J. McFarland behind him, and the runs McFarland let up turned out to be the difference in tonight’s one-run loss.
Down five runs in the ninth, the Cardinals were able to get the tying run into scoring position with their best hitter up. They came up just one hit shy of tying it. You have to love the fight, but I think it’s time St. Louis trims some of the fat from the bullpen. With an ERA approaching 8.00 and a WHIP nearing 2.00 in mid-June, I do not think T.J. McFarland is a major league pitcher at this point. I am on the fence about Wittgren.
Maybe that’s harsh, maybe not. But the Cardinals certainly need some fresh blood in the bullpen.
Here’s how tonight’s game went down:
The top of the first went about as smoothly as Michael Wacha could have hoped against his former team. Tommy Edman was called out on strikes, Brendan Donovan grounded out softly right back to Wacha, and Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging on an 88mph changeup.
After falling behind 3-0 to leadoff man Jarrren Duran, Adam Wainwright served him a center-cut sinker that he wacked into right field for a triple. Rafael Devers was hit with a pitch on a 2-2 count, setting up J.D. Martinez and his .990 OPS with runners on the corners. Martinez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play started by Edman at short, but the run scored, making it 1-0 Boston in the first inning.
Xander Bogaerts was called out on strikes on a low fastball to end the inning — Cardinals appeared to get the benefit of the doubt on that one.
Nolan Arenado got ahead 3-1 leading off the second inning before hammering his 12th homer of the season over the green monster in left field, tying the game 1-1. It traveled 403 feet and left the bat at 108.6 mph.
Wacha was able to retire the next three Cardinals without incident, as Nolan Gorman struck out swinging, Tyler O’Neill grounded out to Devers at third base, and Carlson popped out to Devers.
Wainwright got it together in the second inning, punching out all three Red Sox. Alex Verdugo struck out swinging, Trevor Story was called out on strikes on three pitches, and Franchy Cordero went fishing on a curveball in the dirt.
Harrison Bader and Andrew Knizner both grounded out for outs one and two in the third inning, before Edman singled on a line drive to center field. But Donovan struck out to end the inning, stranding Edman at first.
Wainwright worked around a two-out walk to pitch a scoreless third inning. Christian Vazquez flew out to Carlson in right field, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out swinging, Duran walked, and then Devers lined out sharply to O’Neill in left field.
Goldschmidt thought he had a leadoff single to kick off the fourth inning, but Trevor Story made a great play up the middle before spinning and throwing him out at first base. Arenado then singled to left field with one out, his second hit of the day. Arenado was promptly wiped out when Gorman hit a sharp line drive to Cordero at first base, and then stepped on the bag for the unassisted double play.
Boston jumped on Waino in the third inning to break the tie. Martinez singled on a line drive to center leading off the inning. Bogaerts hit his 20th double of the season to center field, moving Martinez to third base. With two runners in scoring position, Verdugo grounded out softly to Wainwright, who tossed to first and no runs scored. With one out and down 0-2, Story singled to right field on an elevated fastball from Wainwright, scoring two runs to make it 3-1 Boston.
Cordero and and Vasquez grounded into back-to-back ground ball force outs for the second and third outs of the inning, with Boston leading 3-1 heading into the fifth.
O’Neill led off the fifth inning against Wacha and hit a sharp, 96 mph line drive to Verdugo in left field that he snagged for the first out. Carlson then singled the opposite way to left field, and Bader reached on a bloop single to center field, moving Carlson to second. But Knizner’s line drive to Duran was hit too sharply for the runners to tag up at all, and Edman grounded out to Story to end the inning, stranding both runners.
Wainwright was able to work a scoreless fifth inning, not letting the deficit grow any larger. Bradley lined out to Edman, Duran popped out to Edman, and then Devers singled on a line drive to right field. Martinez grounded out to Arenado at third base to end the inning.
St. Louis ran Wacha from the game in the sixth, but the Boston bullpen pulled it together and kept the Cardinals off the board. Donovan struck out leading off the inning, followed by a Goldschmidt single. Arenado’s four pitch walk moved Goldschmidt to second base, and that was it for Wacha. Alex Cora called on right-hander John Schreiber with one out. Schreiber (0.92 ERA) got Gorman to line out to center field and struck out O’Neill to escape the mini-mess left by Wacha.
Wacha’s final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K’s (88 pitches)
Wainwright worked around a leadoff single from Bogaerts, getting Verdugo to ground into a non-traditional 3-5-3 double play moments later (Gorman was shifted over to the right with the left Verdugo batting). Story flew out to Carlson to end the sixth inning with Boston still leading, 3-1.
Trailing by two, Carlson drew a leadoff walk against Schreiber. Bader then worked the count 3-2 before grounding into a 5-4-3 double play, started by Devers at third base. Left-hander Matt Strahm ran in from the bullpen to face Knizner, and was able to induce an inning-ending popup to second.
The Red Sox got to Wainwright in the seventh and ran him from the game, and then tacked on a few more runs against a struggling Cardinals’ reliever. Cordero led off the inning with a double to left field off the green monster, and Vasquez’ groundout moved him to third base with one out. Oli Marmol brought in left-hander T.J. McFarland to face the lefty Bradley. Bradley singled up the middle, scoring Cordero and making it 4-1 Boston.
Pinch-hitter Bobby Dalbec then doubled to deep center field, with Bradley advancing to third base. Devers then singled against the shift to left field, bouncing a base hit over the head of Arenado at third and scoring both Bradley and Dalbec to make it 6-1 Boston — and still only one out. Marmol pulled McFarland, who failed to record an out and saw his ERA rise to 7.71 this season.
Nick Wittgren, also struggling mightily this season, was called on in relief of McFarland. He struck out Martinez for the second out, and Bogaerts singled on a deep ground ball up the third base line that Arenado was unable to make a play on. Wittgren struck out Verdugo to end the seventh inning.
Strahm worked around a walk in the eight to post a scoreless frame. Edman flew out to Bradley in center, Donovan worked a six-pitch walk, Goldschmidt flew out to Verdugo in left field, and Arenado popped out to the new first baseman Dalbec in foul territory.
Wittgren retired the Red Sox in order in the bottom half of the frame. Story was called out on strikes, Cordero grounded out to Goldschmidt at first, and Vasquez flew out to O’Neill in left field.
The Cardinals, it turns out, had some fight left in them in the ninth inning. Left-hander Austin Davis took the mound to close out the game and protect the five-run lead, and he started by getting pinch-hitter Juan Yepez to fly out. O’Neill grounded out to second base for the second out, and then the madness began.
Carlson doubled to center field, his third time reaching base in the game. Bader then tripled into the cutout in deep center field, scoring Calrson and cutting the deficit to four runs.
Knizner got plunked by a 2-2 slider, which was also the end of the line for Davis. Right-hander Tanner Houck was called on to record the final out, but Edman slapped his 1-1 fastball into the left field corner for an RBI double, cutting Boston’s lead to 6-3.
Donovan then stroked a line drive into the left-center field gap, scoring two more runs and sliding in to second base just ahead of the throw from Bradley. Boston challenged the play to potentially end the game, with the argument that Donovan popped off the bag while the tag was held. In fact, Donovan’s hand did come off the base, but when his hand came off, his foot slid on. The safe call was confirmed, and St. Louis’ two-out rally was allowed to continue.
The hottest hitter on the face of the planet Paul Goldschmidt stepped up with the tying run in scoring position and two outs. He struck out looking on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, a sinker that was pretty center-cut. Clearly, he was looking for something else.
St. Louis’ two-out rally comes up just short.
FINAL: Red Sox 6, Cardinals 5
The Cardinals (37-29) will look to even up the series in Boston tomorrow night. Dakota Hudson (4-3, 3.29 ERA) toes the rubber following a tough start against the Reds last week. Rookie right-hander Kutter Crawford (1-1, 5.74 ERA) makes his second start of the season for Boston (35-30). First pitch is set for 6:15 p.m.
Around the Central
Brewers 5, Reds 4 – Milwaukee pulled back within a game of the Cardinals in the NL Central with their win over Cincinnati Friday
Giants 2, Pirates 0 – Carlos Rodon carved up the Buccos like a hibachi chef with eight shutout innings
Cubs 1, Braves 0 – Electric rookie Christopher Morel’s sac fly in the eight broke a scoreless tie
Pickle #100 – X/9
Did the pickle too early in the morning, had a brain fart. I thought I had the team right the whole time but I actually only had the division.