(Photo Credit: Benny Sieu, USA Today Sports)
Coming into last night’s game the Cardinals sat in a two-way tie with Kansas City for dead last in home runs per game amongst all MLB teams. Fortunately for St. Louis, Miller Park has been historically kind to the Cardinals long ball as was the case again Friday night. Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, Jhonny Peralta, and Matt Holliday did the damage registering four Cardinal homers to give the redbirds the 7-6 comeback victory.
However, the game started off rocky as Joe Kelly, fresh off the disabled list, gave up six runs on seven hits over just three innings of work. The early deficit had many disgruntled fans from the Twittersphere upset as the Cardinal pitching staff continues to struggle (With the exception of Adam Wainwright). Despite Kelly’s roughed up outing I’d like to say three things to those that tuned out of last night’s game early. First off, Kelly is going to bounce back from this outing and be a strong contributor to this pitching staff. Secondly, have some faith in the Cardinal offense! The bats are starting to come around, especially Wong and Adams. Lastly, have some faith in the bullpen. Last night Nick Greenwood, Seth Maness, Pat Neshek, and Trevor Rosenthal delivered six scoreless innings in which they struck out five and walked one.
1st inning– Kelly got off to a terrible start hitting Carlos Gomez to lead off the game. A double steal later in the inning put runners on second and third for Aramis Ramirez, who hit a sac-fly out to right scoring Gomez. The Brewers added two more runs on a Khris Davis double to center pushing their lead to 3-0.
2nd inning– Back-to-back singles from Yovani Gallardo and Gomez put runners on first and second to lead of the bottom half of the inning. Kelly then dug himself into an even deeper hole giving up a triple to Scooter Gennett, scoring Gallardo and Gomez to give Milwaukee a 5-0 lead. After getting the next two outs Kelly gave up another triple, this time to Ryan Braun, scoring Gennett and putting the Brewers up 6-0 after two innings of play.
4th inning– After Wong flied out to center Holliday reached on a double, his second of the game. Then it was the other Matt’s turn as Matt “Big City” Adams crushed the ball to center to put the Cardinals on the board and close the deficit to just 6-2. In the bottom half of the inning Greenwood came in to replace Kelly and recorded a scoreless frame.
6th inning– Both teams went in order in the fifth inning before the redbirds erupted in the sixth. Wong lead off the inning with a solo shot to right, his fifth on the year and fourth this week. After Holliday walked and Adams struck out swinging it was Peraltas turn to show off his power. Peralta swatted his 14th homer of the season, plating two and pulling the Cardinals within one with the score 6-5. Later in the inning Oscar Taveras entered into the game with the bases loaded to pinch-hit for Greenwood. Taveras grounded into a fielder’s choice, which scored Craig and tied the game at 6-6.
9th inning- Aside from the Brewers threatening in the bottom of the seventh with a man on third, the seventh and eighth innings went scoreless with quality pitching from both bullpens. A pitching change by the Brewers in the top half of the frame brought in their closer Francisco Rodriguez, who retired the first two-batters of the inning. Then Holliday came up and launched the first pitch off of K-Rod over the left field wall to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 7-6. In the bottom half of the inning Trevor Rosenthal came in and completed the save situation giving up one hit and striking out two.
With the victory the Cardinals improve to 51-43 on the season and are now sit just one game back of the Brewers in the central division. The two teams will face off again today at 3:10 pm CT when Adam Wainwright will face off against Jimmy Nelson.
The way the Cardinals handled this game after being down says some great things about what kind of team this is. St. Louis has won four of their last five against their two most important opponents in the league. This is exactly the type of run they want to be on heading into the All-Star break.
Though, this season like any other has both its ups and downs.
This looks like another one of those gut-wrenching seasons for Cardinal nation. The starting pitching woes and the long-term absence of Yadier Molina certainly put a damper on a season that’s only half way over. Right now though we’re starting to see the offense come alive. Adams and Wong have been on a tear since they returned from their DL stints, Holliday finally hit a home run, and Peralta continues to show how much better he is than Pete Kozma. Sure Molina’s out, but like you’ve all said Tony Cruz can handle it. Now all we need is Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter to wake up from their slumps and this team will be back to their old ways.
Patience is important at this point in the year. A game like Friday nights can certainly spark a cord and I have a feeling the bats are finally starting to find their life. If the starting pitching comes around and the bullpen pitches like they did last night, look out for St. Louis. Remember in 2011 when the Cardinals were 10.5 out and Wainwright didn’t pitch a single game? They won the World Series. I’m not saying they’re going to win the World Series, but I am saying stick with your team! Anything’s possible, go Cardinals!
Follow: @NickYahl on Twitter for more Cardinals, Rams, Blues, and Mizzou updates