Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Game of the Day (9/16/14)

Brewers 3, Cardinals 2 (12). Milwaukee's Willy Peralta took on St. Louis's Lance Lynn in a matchup of reasonably young, reasonably anonymous NL Central pitchers who are better than you'd probably think (or at least better than I would have thought).

Lynn worked around a Jonathan Lucroy single in the top of the first, and the Cardinals drew first blood in the bottom of the inning. Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay, and Matt Holliday started the rally with singles, loading the bases with nobody out. Matt Adams then walked to force in one run, and Jhonny Peralta hit into a double play that brought home another. Yadier Molina grounded back to the mound to end the inning.

Lynn allowed a pair of singles in the second, to Ryan Braun and Jean Segura respectively, but left both men on. Kolten Wong started the bottom of the inning with a single as well, but was caught stealing two outs later. Scooter Gennett's single in the visitors' third made him the only runner to reach in either half, and he was erased on a double play.

Milwaukee picked up a run on a fourth-inning homer by Gerardo Parra. After that, the starters thoroughly dominated through the seventh; Peralta retired the Cards in order in each inning that remained to him, while Lynn gave up only a Carlos Gomez walk. Pat Neshek replaced Lynn in the eighth and set the Brewers down 1-2-3 as well; Will Smith took over in the bottom of the inning and allowed a couple of Cardinals to reach (Peter Bourjos singled and pinch hitter Xavier Scruggs walked), but left them both on.

Trevor Rosenthal was called upon to preserve St. Louis's one-run lead in the ninth. His efforts were not what you might call famously successful, as he walked Lucroy and allowed an Aramis Ramirez double that put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position (in the persons of pinch runners Hector Gomez and Elian Herrera). Braun grounded out with the runners holding, Parra was intentionally walked, and Matt Clark hit a sacrifice fly to bring Gomez home and even the score. Jonathan Broxton worked a flawless home ninth, and the game moved into extras.

Carlos Martinez allowed only a Carlos Gomez single in the top of the tenth, while Jeremy Jeffress retired the Cards in order in the bottom of the inning. Seth Maness gave up a two-out Parra double in the eleventh, then intentionally walked Clark before stranding both of them; Zach Duke permitted a one-out Carpenter single, but combined with Brandon Kintzler to leave him on. In the top of the twelfth, Gomez (Carlos) drew a walk from Kevin Siegrist with one out, then stole second and third. With two away, Gomez (Hector) singled Gomez (Carlos) home with the go-ahead run. Francisco Rodriguez then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the twelfth to end the game.

September baseball can be odd sometimes. This was a key game for two playoff contenders, loaded with quality players throughout both lineups and pitched by two high-caliber starters. And yet, thanks to the 40-man roster, one of the key figures in the outcome was PR/3B/2B Hector Gomez, who has started two games in his career, but who scored the tying run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly (on a reasonably close play) and drove in the game winner in the twelfth. The run was the second of Gomez's career; the RBI was the first.

Hector Gomez will almost certainly not make the Milwaukee postseason roster if they qualify - but in this game, he may well have helped them get there.

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