Cardinals Wrap Up First Home Stand, Get Ready For Washington

 After an Opening Day game that featured a sloppy defense and an ‘L’, the Cards quickly turned things around into the right direction to rack up five consecutive “W”s. 

 On April 13th, Waino took the mound for the Redbirds and Matt Garza did for Milwaukee. The game stayed rather close until the seventh inning. The Brewers were already up 3-2, with a chance for another run. Centerfielder Carlos Gomez doubled, bringing home the runner to lead 4-2. After that, Lucroy smacked a ball to the infield. Coulda, shoulda, and woulda been the second out, but a throwing error by Kolten Wong allowed Gomez to rush in for the fifth Brewers’ run. Wainwright then got Braun to hit into a double play, but the damage had been done. The Birds wouldn’t go down without a fight, as they managed to come back and score two runs. Two runs weren’t enough, and they were handed their third loss of the young season. An off day on Tuesday gave the bullpen a bit of a breather, and a chance for Wong to clear his head (he committed two errors, both leading to runs). 

 Tuesday night’s matchup consisted of Lance Lynn and Wily Peralta. Lance was stellar as usual, going five strong and allowing just one run. Peralta took another beating from the Redbirds, as they pounded out ten hits and scored four against him. Holliday drove in half of their total runs in the first frame when he singled. Matt Carpenter and Jason Heyward scored, giving the Cardinals an early 2-0 advantage. The “Cardinal Killer” Aramis Ramirez drove in Lucroy in the third, cutting their deficit in half. Lynn would slam the Brew Crew’s offensive door shut right there, as that was the only run they’d score against him. The Birds tacked on two more tallies in the fourth with the help of a Molina single and Carpenter double. Zeroes were put up on both halves of the run column until the top of the ninth. A walk and a base knock given up by closer Trevor Rosenthal, resulted in a run for Milwaukee. He managed to get the 27th out, giving the Cardinals a shaky 4-2 win. 

 Thursday’s rubber game was started by John Lackey and Mike Fiers. Lackey was practically spotless, allowing just five base hits and ringing up eight Brewers. Mike’s start was nothing to shake your head at, as he allowed only two runs in five and two-thirds innings. The Cardinals scored those two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, courtesy of a single by Matt Holliday and double from Mark Reynolds. Those events knocked Fiers out of the ballgame. In the bottom of the seventh, Kolten Wong smacked a one- out two bagger. Matt Carpenter eventually returned Wong’s favor, bringing him on home with a double of his own. That gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead at the time. In the bottom of the eighth, Randal Grichuk busted out a double. Yadier Molina drove him in, piling on to their lead. Matt Belisle came in to pitch for the Cardinals in the ninth, and he retired the Brewers in order. The Cardinals won the game 4-0, and therefore the series. 

 The Cincinnati Reds came to town Friday for a weekend series. Michael Wacha got the ball for the Birds and Johnny Cueto started for the Reds. The Reds came out of the gate swinging, as they went up 1-0 credit to a Joey Votto bomb. The run would be answered by the Cardinals in the mutual inning. Matt Carpenter led off the game with one of his signature doubles, and advanced to the hot corner on a groundout by Jason Heyward. Then, on a deep fly ball from Holliday, Carpenter tagged up and literally flipped over the catcher for a run, knotting the game at one a piece. The score would stand until the home half of inning. Matt Holliday continued his hitting frenzy, leading things off with a base hit. Jhonny Peralta then smacked a double, sending Holliday to third. The following batter, Jon Jay, was intentionally walked by Cueto. In to the box came the Cardinals’ catcher, Yadier Molina. The bases were loaded with just one out, and Yadi didn’t disappoint. He rifled a bases clearing double, giving the Busch Stadium faithful just what they wanted.. a lead. The Cardinals added on two more runs in the eighth, using a walk, double, a fielding error, and a sac fly to their advantage. Siegrist recorded the final three outs of the game, locking in a 6-1 victory. 

 Saturday’s afternoon game was started by Carlos Martinez. He was opposed by Homer Bailey of the Reds. The Cardinals supported Martinez early, when Matt Adams drove in Matt Holliday. The game cruised along until the bottom of third, when Jason Heyward stepped up to the plate. J-Hey launched a ball over and into the bullpen for his first homerun wearing the Birds on the Bat. The Cardinals scored another the next inning on a double by Molina. Martinez continued to roll along until the fifth inning, really his only hiccup of performance. Reds’ shortstop Zack Cozart hit a homerun, their first scoring of the day. Matt Carpenter’s bat answer in the sixth, when he smacked a double that pushed two runs across home plate. Brandon Phillips and the Reds went on to score a run off of Seth Maness but to no avail. Trevor Rosenthal fired his way through the ninth, handing the Cardinals a 5-2 win. 

 Sunday night’s game was the final game of the Cardinals’ homestand. It was started by Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake. The Cardinals were hungry for a series sweep, and they sure showed it in their half of the first. Cardinal lead off man Matt Carpenter corked a ball to the grass out in centerfield, bringing the fans to their feet. That was the only run they scored that inning, but every ball was smacked…just right to some fielder.  Cincy replied with a run of their own in the third when Phillips singled in a run, the only one Wainwright would allow. The score remained the same until the Cardinals’ part of the eight, right when Jon Jay came up. Jay smoked a leadoff double, setting up an opportunity for some scoring. Molina tapped a ground ball, allowing Jay to take third. Second baseman Kolten Wong stepped to the plate, trying to be the hero. He hit a deep fly ball, one deep enough for Jon Jay to trot in as the go ahead run. Jordan Walden entered the game in the ninth. He held on, and secured the Cardinals a win by the score of 2-1. The win also completed a series sweep of the Reds and extended the Redbirds’ winning streak to five. 

 The Cardinals have an off day today, as they make their way to the nation’s capital for a three game set with the Washington Nationals. Tuesday night’s game features an interesting matchup. Well, if you’re a fan of a good pitchers’ duel. Cardinal hurler Lance Lynn faces off against the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez. The game starts a little after 6:00 pm St. Louis time. 

 The whole series looks to be a fun one!

 Also, a huge shoutout to Cardinals’ third baseman, Matt Carpenter, on being named the National League player of the week! 

Thanks for reading! 

Twitter: @Curtis_Josey


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