It was a rough weekend for the St. Louis Cardinals. While they did win the series against the Milwaukee Brewers three top players went down with injuries…
Friday night, Yadier Molina was hit in the right knee/leg area by a foul ball. He would exit the game. Over the course of the remaining games in the series, he was making excellent progress recovering, and was in the lineup on Monday night.
Then, on Saturday night, ace pitcher Adam Wainwright was up to bat in the fifth inning, but would suffer an injury while still within the range of home plate. He’d limp back to the locker room, and the bullpen took over the remainder of the game. Today was the day for Wainwright’s MRI, and at a press conference, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak acknowledged it was a torn Achilles tendon, ending his season.
Finally, on Sunday, Jason Heyward suffered groin tightness while fielding a play off the right field wall,, and is listed day-to-day, but isn’t expected to be out long.
Through it all, the Cardinals would begin an 11-game home-stand against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night. On the mound would be veteran John Lackey, who is the only member of the Cardinals’ top rotation with an ERA over 2.00. For the Phillies, Cole Hamels, who entered the game with an 0-2 record, got the start.
The game started off with a ground-out by center-fielder Ben Revere. Up next, Odubel Herrera would hit a pitch into shallow center for a base hit. Veteran Chase Utley, a staple of the Phillies’ franchise for a long time, launched a shot deep to right center field, but Jon Jay would make a great catch, potentially preventing a run scored for Philadelphia.
With two outs, Jeff Francoeur would ground-out to end the top half of the inning. Hamels would get Matt Carpenter to foul-out, followed with Jhonny Peralta striking out. Matt Holliday, returning after a day of rest, would walk, and Matt Adams struck out, giving Hamels two in the inning.
In the second Lackey would get St. Louis native Ryan Howard to strike out, giving him his first strikeout of the game, and would pitch another strong inning. Hamels would as well, getting the returning Molina to pop-out, Mark Reynolds to strike out, and a strike out from Kolten Wong.
It was not until the bottom of third that the scoreless tie was broken. First, Jay walked, followed by a strikeout by Lackey. Jay would be caught stealing, bring up Carpenter with two outs.He and Peralta would both hit two out singles, and Holliday would single, scoring Carpenter, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Adams then walked, but with the bases loaded, Reynolds would fail to capitalize on the bases loaded opportunity.
After a scoreless fourth inning by both teams, and another good inning by Lackey in the top of the fifth, the Cardinals were in scoring position once again after a Carpenter double (his tenth already this season). Peralta, though, would strike out, Hamels’ sixth of the evening. Holliday was intentionally walked in order for Hamels to get to Adams, and the plan paid off, as Adams got called out on strikes.
Lackey then had a quick 1-2-3 sixth inning, getting out the heart of the order, consisting of Utley, Francoeur, and Howard. Molina would ground out to start the bottom of the sixth, followed by consecutive outs by Jay and Wong, as Hamels responds with a 1-2-3 sixth inning of his own.
To start the seventh inning, Peter Bourjos entered the game at center field, and Jay moved to right, with St. Louis still holding onto the 1-0 lead. With one out and two runners on, Hamels would sacrifice bunt, to put the runners at second and third with two outs. A ground rule double by Revere scored Freddy Galvis and Carlos Ruiz, putting the Phillies ahead 2-1. Herrera followed that with a single that scored Revere to make it 3-1, though that would be all they’d score in the inning.
In seven innings pitched, Lackey allowed nine hits, three runs (three earned runs), walked one and struck out one.
Ken Giles would pitch in relief for Hamels, while Kevin Siegrist entered the game in relief of Lackey. Both pitched well in their respective appearances, as the score remained 3-1 Phillies heading into the ninth inning. Philadelphia would tack on another run in the ninth as Darin Ruf grounded out to score Ruiz, increasing their lead to 4-1.
The bottom of the ninth featured closer Jonathan Papelbon against Heyward, Molina, and Wong. While Heyward and Molina struck out, Wong would hit a double down the right field line. Jay would be hit by the pitch, bringing up pinch-hitter Cody Stanley, the rookie catcher who had the chance to tie it with one swing. But, he would not do so, striking out, as the Phillies wound up winning 4-1.
Hamels gets his first win of the year, while Lackey gets his first loss.
While they lose game one of the series (their second straight loss), St. Louis still remains in first place, with a 12-6 record.
Michael Wacha will get the start for the Cardinals tomorrow.
(AP Photo/Billy Hurst)