The Cardinals swept their final series of the season against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium. Solid pitching and home run-hitting were the storylines for St. Louis in this matchup.
In Sunday’s afternoon game at Wrigley Field in Chicago against the Cubs, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina slightly tore his left thumb ligament. After retiring Addison Russell on a fly ball, one that Russell was hoping would become a sacrifice fly, outfielder Jason Heyward quickly threw the ball to home plate in an effort to double up on the Cubs. While tagging out Cubs’ baserunner Anthony Rizzo who was trying to score the game’s tying run, Yadi suffered the injury. But don’t worry– the 9-2 play was a successful twin killing. The Cardinals and their fans are just hoping that the play was worth losing the rock of the team in the midst of a pennant race. To see how things unfolded (and to see Jason Heyward’s beautiful throw), please click here. An MRI and consultation with a hand specialist on Monday revealed the mentioned ligament tear. Molina will remain free of action for about a week or so before being reevaluated to rule whether or not his return is near. Catcher Travis Tartamella’s contract was purchased, and he was added to the club’s 40-man roster. Xavier Scruggs was designated for assignment to correspond with Travis’s promotion.
Game one was started by Jaime Garcia and John Lamb. An RBI-single off the bat of second baseman Brandon Phillips in the first frame gave Lamb and the Reds a 1-0 lead that they’d maintain through seven innings. Then came the Cardinal eighth. Tommy Pham tripled to kick things off. Following a Jason Heyward groundout, Jhonny Peralta tied the score with a single. Stephen Piscotty doubled to give the Cards a 2-1 lead and the score they’d go on to win the ballgame by. Trevor Rosenthal recorded the save, his 47th of the season.
The middle game of the series was started by John Lackey and Keyvius Sampson. Jay Bruce’s homer in the first inning of the game was the only run that the Reds would score. Tommy Pham tied the game in the bottom of the third when doubled Matt Carpenter in. The 1-1 score would stay locked tight until the seventh inning. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Tommy Pham (Who else?) put St. Louis out front 2-1. Kolten Wong padded the lead in the eighth when he, too, drove in a run via the sacrifice fly. Steve Cishek closed things out in the ninth inning. He earned his fourth save of the year.
John Lackey gave the Cardinals just what they were hoping he would when he took the mound Tuesday evening. Lackey pitched seven innings and allowed only one run. He struck out seven Reds. Lackey’s last three starts (9/22, 9/17, and 9/11) have all lasted seven innings. He’s allowed just three earned runs and walked five. Since he was credited with the win, John is now 13-9 this season and has an ERA of 2.74.
The season-series finale was started by Lance Lynn and Brandon Finnegan. Randal Grichuk have the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the second inning, the inning in which he belted his seventeenth homer of the year. Matt Carpenter’s first two-run bomb of the game in the third inning extended the lead to 3-0. Matt Holliday, who made his first start on Wednesday since late July, doubled in Tommy Pham for the game’s fourth run. Matt Carpenter’s second two-run shot gave the Cards a 6-0 lead. It would eventually grow to ten runs, thanks in part to Peter Bourjos’s fourth homer of the year. Joey Votto’s 29th homer of the year and Ivan De Jesus Junior’s RBI-triple in the ninth were the only runs the Reds would score. The Cardinals won the game by a 10-2 score.
Travis Tartamella caught his first two Major League innings in Wednesday’s game. He also batted for the first time. The first pitch of his first plate appearance was sliced into right field for his first Major League hit. He was a part of an interesting catcher-pitcher battery in the ninth inning. Tartamella caught RHP Sam Tuivailala.
Tommy Pham has been hitting on a whole other level over the past two weeks or so. Tommy has hit .341 (15-for-44) over his last sixteen games. That’s just the beginning. Pham has hit four homers and driven in twelve, too.
The Reds will return home to Cincinnati, Ohio to play four games with the National League East Division-leading New York Mets. The Cardinals will kick off their final regular season home series on Thursday (9/24) against the Milwaukee Brewers. The 16-6 Michael Wacha will toe the rubber with Milwaukee’s 9-6 Taylor Jungmann.
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