Why, hello, four-game winning streak! And welcome back, sole possession of first place! It’s nice to see you again!
The Cardinals won 5-3 over the Rays Friday night, in a game that featured a very interesting eighth inning. The Brewers lost to the Twins 6-2. So about how interleague play? Pretty good, isn’t it? The Cards win four straight, the Brewers lose four straight … this is working well.
Anyway, until that eighth inning last night, the game was sailing along rather uneventfully. The Cards scored two runs in the second, on an RBI ground-out by Colby Rasmus and a Yadier Molina single. Jake Westbrook had one of his best games of the year: seven scoreless innings with only two hits allowed and seven strikeouts.
Then came the eighth inning.
J.P. Howell was pitching for the Rays, and he got two quick fly-outs from Jon Jay and Matt Holliday. Lance Berkman walked — with Rays manager Joe Maddon ejected on what he thought was a questionable ball four call. (And he probably had a point.) David Freese walked next, which brought up Colby. And he launched a long fly very deep down the right field line for a homer. 5-0 Cards!
As the Cards were rounding the bases, Howell was throwing a little tantrum on the mound worthy of a 5-year-old who didn’t get his way. First he slammed his glove down, then asked for another ball from the ump. He didn’t really catch the ball, just spiked it. Then he picked it up and threw it down again, before asking for another ball. And then he was thrown … out of the game by ump Vic Carapazza. So, as Colby was reaching home, he basically had to sidestep Howell, who was yelling at Carapazza.
Also ejected on the play: David Price and Elliot Johnson, who were yelling in the Rays dugout.
Words don’t necessarily do any of this justice, especially Howell’s tantrum. See the whole thing here.
It would be awesome, however, if there was actual video of Colby saying this about Howell. It literally made me laugh out loud:
“I didn’t think his beef was with me, you know,” Rasmus said. “I understand. I know the game is tough. Maybe he’s falling on some hard times. Just mad at the world or whatever it may be. Some things didn’t go his way. I just hit the ball, run around, touch the plate, and take my happy self back to the dugout.”
Colby’s Happy Self perhaps suffered some angst in the bottom of the eighth, as Lance Lynn fell on some hard times. He gave up a lead-off single, an RBI-double to Evan Longoria and a two-run homer to Matt Joyce. No tantrum, though.
Fernando Salas pitched an uneventful bottom of the ninth for his 14th save.
Tonight, the Cards look for another win (and another road series win) with Kyle McClellan facing Jeff Niemann. Game time is 6:10 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.
And now comes news that Albert Pujols may be back right after the All-Star break. He truly is Wolverine from X-Men.