Nine runs, 13 hits including five homers should have been meant an easy night for the St. Louis Cardinals, right?
It was — if you take away a six-run sixth inning by the Diamondbacks.
The Cardinals faced an opponent not in the NL Central for only the second game this season, yet they did what they’ve already done 17 previous times: won. And, as a result, Lance Lynn became the first six-game winner in MLB.
Way to go, Wolf Pup!
He took the mound in the bottom of the first with a lead thanks to the Cardinals hot bats.
Rafael Furcal hit a lead-off homer to the deepest part of Chase Field to get things started right. After a fly out by Carlos Beltran and a foul out by Matt Holliday — which they’d make up for later — three straight hits scored two more runs: an Allen Craig single, David Freese double and Yadier Molina single. (Freeser did a nice job of sliding around a tag by Miguel Montero too.)
When Gerardo Parra led off the bottom of the first with a triple, it looked like the D-Backs might have a similar inning. Nope — and not even with a walk to Jason Kubel thrown in. Lynn struck out Justin Upton, Montero and Cody Ransom to escape undamaged (and then casually strolled to the dugout).
Leading off the third, Beltran and Holliday made up for their first inning outs by hitting back-to-back homers off Joe Saunders. He lasted until the fourth inning, when the Cardinals caused some trouble once again. Tyler Greene led off with a single and Lynn was safe at first on a throwing error. A Furcal single scored Greene. Following a Beltran pop-up, Saunders walked Holliday to load the bases — and leave the game. In came Brad Ziegler — to walk Allen Craig and give the Cardinals their seventh run.
Things stayed that way until the sixth inning. Wolf Pup was done after five innings and 91 pitches — he walked four and gave up three hits but did strike out seven.
And now that it’s over, maybe it’s better to say little about the sixth inning. J.C. Romero came in and was not good, giving up four hits and a walk and retiring none. Fernando Salas followed and allowed two more singles before finally getting a strikeout, then another hit before striking out the side.
The most interesting thing to me about the inning, though, was the Twitter reaction. Mike Matheny is much adored … until things get dicey. Then he’s suddenly the worst manager ever. As in, La Russa-like levels of negative tweets by many. Ah, well. There’s always Matt Sebek to keep things light and entertaining (and appease the female fans) when it comes to our manager. (Twitter ladies, if you’re not following Matt, you obviously need to be.)
Allen Craig and David Freese apparently wanted to make everyone a little more comfortable — including the Twitter crowd — so they hit back-to-back homers in the seventh to give the Cards a 9-6 lead and some breathing room. From there, Victor Marte and Marc Rzepczynski shut down the Diamondbacks in the seventh and eighth.
Jason Motte brought a bit of interest to the ninth by allowing two singles, but he shut the door on the D-Backs to earn his fifth save and give Wolf Pup win No. 6.
And, with his scoreless outing, Lynn lowered his ERA to 1.40 — which is now second in the NL behind Johnny Cueto at 1.31. He’s also third in the NL in WHIP at 0.85 behind Matt Cain (0.73) and Stephen Strasburg (0.84). Opponents are only hitting .168 against him, also the NL’s third best.
That’s our Wolfie.
Things are pretty loose with the Cardinals overall these days too. Check out this video of Mitchell Boggs and tonight’s starter, Jake Westbrook, showing off their dance moves …
The Cards hope to continue the hot bat trend and keep the mood light as they take on Ian Kennedy starting at 8:40 p.m. Central Time.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.
I started listening to the game in the sixth. I turned it off after run #5. I think that inning might have been my fault, not Mike Matheny’s! Ha.
The Matheny comments make me shake my head. Do we really expect him to be flawless in his debut managerial season? Was Tony La Russa flawless in his last? Matheny’s been fortunate to have gotten superb performances out of this team much of the time so far. The real test will be when they’re having an off week or two.
I get that Twitter is all about emotion, especially during a game. But the degree and voracity of negativity the second something Matheny does or doesn’t do something perfectly is really surprising.