Saturday, September 27, 2014

Game of the Day (9/26/14)

Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 6 (10). St. Louis started Michael Wacha, who is quite young and promising. Arizona sent Trevor Cahill, who at 26 is still reasonably young, but whose over-5 ERA this year has eaten away much of his once-substantial promise.

Cahill was perfect in the top of the first, and the Diamondbacks struck in the bottom of the inning. Ender Inciarte led off with a single, and AJ Pollock and David Peralta walked to load the bases with nobody out. Mark Trumbo followed with a sacrifice fly, and Miguel Montero singled in a run. Jake Lamb then hit into an inning-ending double play. St. Louis picked up a run in the second on a Matt Adams walk, a wild pitch, a Jhonny Peralta single, and a Yadier Molina double play grounder that brought Adams home. Arizona threatened again on singles by Didi Gregorious and Inciarte and a Pollock walk, but the Diamondback Peralta grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

Both starters were perfect in the third, and Matt Holliday's leadoff walk made him the only player to reach in the fourth. Randal Grichuk led off the fifth with a single, but was erased on a line drive double play, and the next four hitters were set down as well. The Cardinals finally put up another rally in the sixth, starting with singles by Matt Carpenter and Jon Jay. One out later, Adams singled to load the bases, and St. Louis's Peralta doubled in a pair of runs to put his team in front. Cahill was pulled for Will Harris, who allowed a Molina sac fly before ending the inning.

Wacha was pulled after Trumbo led off the sixth with a single, and Randy Choate and Seth Maness combined to set down the next three hitters. The Cards padded their lead in the seventh against Oliver Perez. Kolten Wong led off with a single, and Peter Bourjos walked to force him to second. An errant pickoff throw moved the runners to second and third, Carpenter grounded out to bring Wong in, and Jay singled Bourjos home for a 6-2 lead. Perez recorded the second out, then was pulled for Matt Stites who induced the third.

Sam Freeman allowed singles to Gregorious and Inciarte in the bottom of the seventh, and Carlos Martinez then allowed an RBI groundout to Pollock before ending the inning. Eury de la Rosa worked around a Wong single in the eighth, and Arizona came back in the bottom of the inning. Pat Neshek allowed consecutive one-out singles to Montero, Lamb, Nick Ahmed, and Gregorious, the last of which scored two runs. Pinch hitter Jordan Pacheco popped up, but Inciarte hit a ground-rule double to tie the game at 6. Pollock popped up as well, leaving the go-ahead run at third.

Addison Reed was perfect in the top of the ninth; Marco Gonzales walked Cody Ross and saw Lamb reach on an error, but stranded them both to send the game to extras. Evan Marshall relieved in the top of the tenth and allowed a leadoff double to Adams; Peralta then singled pinch runner Daniel Descalso in with the go-ahead run, and Trevor Rosenthal set the Diamondbacks down in order in the bottom of the inning to finish off the win.

The game won by the team across the state from the Cardinals had more historic notability, as the Royals clinched their first playoff spot since the year I was born. But this one had its share of significance as well; the victory kept St. Louis ahead of the Pirates in the NL Central with two games to play. And it had a late comeback and lasted 10 innings, which is always fun.

It may not be Derek Jeter's stuff-of-legends ending from the previous day's best game, but it's still an exciting and meaningful contest on the third-to-last day of the season, and those don't come around all that often. So... good job, baseball!

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