Cards split series, lose Martinez; begin crucial set with Bucs

  
 The Cardinals won their 97th and 98th games and split a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers. Even with those 98 wins, St. Louis is, at this point, guaranteed nothing more than one playoff game. What a crazy division. 

 The first game of the series was started by Michael Wacha and Taylor Jungmann. A Randal Grichuk error, three hits, and two walks were what Milwaukee needed to put up three runs in the first inning. Trailing 3-0 in the fourth, back-to-back jacks quickly gave the Cards a 4-3 edge. Jhonny Peralta homered for the first time since August first, a three-run shot that tied the score. Then, only two pitches later, Stephen Piscotty homered. Piscotty drove in three more runs, giving him four RBI on the day. The Cardinals won, 7-3, and Wacha won his seventeenth game in twenty-three decisions. 

 Brewers righty Yhonathan Barrios made his Major League debut in the first game. He recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning, one via the strikeout. Infielder Yadiel Rivera started for the first time on Thursday and recorded his first Major League hit.

 The second game of the four-game series was started by Carlos Martinez and Ariel Pena. Martinez was taken out of the game after only seven pitches due to, what would later be announced as, right shoulder tightness. Tyler Lyons was rushed into the game, and he pitched 3 2/3 respectable innings. He allowed two hits and gave up one run. Ariel allowed three runs in his outing of five innings. Milwaukee tied the score, though. Jonathan Lucroy’s RBI-single in the sixth and their capitalization of Greg Garcia’s fielding error in the seventh allowed them to do so. Top of the ninth rolls around, Trevor Rosenthal enters to pitch in a non-save situation. On a 1-1 pitch, Brewers’ outfielder Khris Davis turned on a 97 MPH fastball and drove it to the Cardinal bullpen out in right field. Four-to-three Brewers, the score in which the game would end with.

 On Saturday following an MRI, the Cardinals announced that RHP Carlos Martinez had been shut down for the remainder of the season as well as the postseason. A right shoulder strain is to blame. Lefty Tyler Lyons will be starting in his place. The spot in the rotation that Tyler’s covering is due up on Wednesday, September thirtieth at Pittsburgh. 

 Game three was started by Jaime Garcia and Tyler Wagner. Four runners crossed home plate in Saint Louis’s half of the first inning. Another crossed in the second, when Matt Holliday hit his second RBI-double of the ballgame, increasing the Cardinals’ lead to 5-0. Jonathan Lucroy singled in Michael Reed in the top of the sixth, but that was the only run they’d score. The Cardinals won, 5-1.

 Jaime Garcia pitched a gem on Saturday, whirling through eight innings and allowing only one run. The lefty has pitched a total of 21 1/3 innings over his previous three starts. He’s allowed six runs in this time frame and struck out seventeen batters. 

 The Brewers had two other players make their Major League debuts in this series, too. Outfielder Michael Reed and RHP Adrian Houser each played in Saturday’s game. Reed smacked a pinch-hit double in the sixth, and Houser pitched a scoreless eighth inning. 

 The series finale was started by John Lackey and Tyler Cravy. Khris Davis put his team on the board in the top of the second inning when he hit his twenty-fifth homer of the season. The Cardinals tied it in the fourth inning on a Tony Cruz groundout that allowed Matt Adams to score. The 1-1 score would stand until just after the seventh inning stretch. Matt Carpenter launched his twenty-seventh homer of the year, just before teammate Stephen Piscotty hit his seventh. Trevor Rosenthal, uncharacteristically enough, was unable to hold on and close the game. After loading loading the bases by allowing a hit, hitting a batter, and walking one, Rosey’s 97 MPH fastball was driven way out to center field by Jason Rodgers. The grand slam gave the Brewers a 5-3 lead, but they weren’t done. With Seth Maness into pitch, Khris Davis corked a three-run home run. His second bomb of the day and sixth against the Cardinals this season lengthened Milwaukee’s lead to 8-3. The Cardinals scored one run on an error in the bottom of the ninth but to no avail. The Brewers won, 8-4. 

 After allowing just two home runs all year entering play on Thursday (9/24), Rosenthal allowed two in this series alone. Both homers were hit off of fastballs, and those fastballs both were gunned at 97 MPH. 

 The Brewers will embrace their day off on Monday before starting a series with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Cardinals will commute to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to start a beyond-pivotal series with the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s J.A. Happ will start against Lance Lynn and the Cardinals. 

Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @Curtis_Josey

PC: Zimbio 

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