After winning a nail-biter on Thursday night, the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins faced off once again in this critical four-game series. Over the past week, the Cardinals have ascended their way towards the top of the Wild Card standings.
And as a result of Friday night’s game, they are now in sole possession of the second spot in the Wild Card.
Jose Urena got the start for the Marlins as Mike Leake got the start for the Cardinals.
During the second inning, Jeremy Hazelbaker hit a two-run home run off of Urena. Why is that significant?
Because it was the first time the two encountered each other since they had a massive brawl back on June 27th.
“That’s the thing about baseball and you usually have a chance to get back at somebody that you have a history with,” Hazelbaker said. “It was a satisfying time and I’m glad that it happened,”
In that minor league game, Urena’s pitch went sailing near Hazelbaker’s head, prompting the two to square off and punches were thrown all over.
“That history, you don’t forget about that stuff,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “That means something to guys when they get the opportunity to compete.”
Things just got worse for Miami. Following the three-run second inning by St. Louis, they notched a six-run fifth inning to suddenly make it a 9-1 lead. Martin Prado did hit a three-run home run to close the gap, but the Marlins would not get any closer.
“For a moment after I hit it, you felt the energy in the stadium,” Prado said. “The people got into the game.”
“I know we got a tough loss today, but we’re showing signs that we are going out for 27 outs, no matter what. We’ve lost a couple of important games for us but there’s nothing we can do about it now,” he said.
The final runs for the Cardinals came off of the bat of Tommy Pham (two-run home-run) as they won 11-6.
Leake also pitched exceptionally well en route to his eighth win of the season.
St. Louis has won nine of their last 12, and their last three: they have the best road record in Major League Baseball at 31-17, and have complete control of one of the Wild Card spots.
Tomorrow, Jaime Garcia and Colin Rea face off in Game 3 of the series.