After sweeping the Minnesota Twins at Busch Stadium early in the week, the St. Louis Cardinals headed to Minnesota for a rare series at Target Field as they looked to continue their interleague play and try to keep their five game winning streak going.
But in the end, the Twins had the upper hand, defeating the Cardinals by a score of 3-1, ending the Cardinals winning streak, and the losing streak of Minnesota, who entered Wednesday losing seven of eight games.
For Wednesday’s game, the pitching matchup was Carlos Martinez (7-2, 2.93 ERA) for the Cardinals and Tommy Milone (2-1, 4.15 ERA) for the Twins.
The game began with a 1-2-3 first inning by both Martinez and Milone. In the top of the second inning, Mark Reynolds led off with a deep double. Outfielder Randal Grichuk followed with a single to left field, putting two on with no one out for Yadier Molina. Molina struck out, but in the next at-bat, right fielder Jason Heyward singled, scoring Reynolds, and putting Grichuk on second.
But back to back strikeouts by Peter Bourjos and Pete Kozma ended the Cardinals’ threat in the second, with them ahead 1-0. Meanwhile, strong pitching between both Martinez and Milone kept the innings short, and the score still low, until the bottom of the fourth inning.
During that inning, the Twins’ Trevor Plouffe led off with a double, just as Reynolds did during the top of the second inning. After a strikeout by Torii Hunter. Eddie Rosario then singled to right field, advancing Plouffe to third base.
Eduardo Nunez stepped up to bat, but a throwing error during the at bat scored Plouffe to tie the game at 1-1. Afterwards, Rosario scored on a sacrifice fly by Nunez to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
After the Twins’ bottom of the fourth inning, the pitchers continued their string of strong pitching, as the top of the fifth started with a Heyward single, but a double play by Bourjos and foul out by Kozma ended the inning. Martinez allowed only a lead off walk to Chris Hermann, but otherwise shut down the Twins in order during the bottom of the fifth.
Minnesota maintained their 2-1 lead throughout the duration of the game until the bottom of the eighth inning. With reliever Matt Belisle on the mound for St. Louis, Plouffe struck out, and Hunter flied out to center to begin the inning.
However, Rosario hit a two-out triple, bringing up Nunez again with a shot to increase the lead for Minnesota. And he did just that, singling past Jhonny Peralta to score Rosario and giving the Twins a 3-1 lead.
But in the top of the ninth, St. Louis had the makings of a comeback ready. Closer Glen Perkins entered the game for Minnesota, and Matt Carpenter led off the inning with a single to center field. Peralta followed suit with the same thing. But back to back strike outs by Reynolds and Grichuk, along with a groundout by Molina, ended the threat and the game.
Milone improves to 3-1, while Martinez drops to 7-3 on the year. Meanwhile, the Cardinals drop to 43-22 and to 17-15 on the road, while the Twins improve to 35-30, and 21-12 at home. Perkins notched his 23rd save in 23 attempts.
Tomorrow, Jaime Garcia will get the nod on the mound for the Cardinals.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)