Kind of appropriate on the official High Sock Sunday, where those ages 15 and under received their own St. Louis Cardinals high socks, that the Cardinals kid pitchers were the biggest contributors — even if, unlike most of their teammates and manager, they weren’t wearing high socks.
But their long pants and (presumably) regular (though unseen) socks helped John Gast and Seth Maness carry the Cardinals to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
The win took the series for the Cards also, plus pushed the Brewers to 10 1/2 games back in last place of the National League Central.
Cardinals starters continue to maintain the best ERA in the majors, now at 2.63. Thanks to the bullpen makeover that brought Maness to the majors a couple weeks ago, the bullpen ERA is improving also — it’s now 4.55. Combined, the Cardinals lead the majors in ERA at 3.16.
The Cardinals rookie pitchers also seem to lead the league in ticking off former Cardinal and now Brewer Kyle Lohse, who was the losing pitcher yesterday and has lost three times to the Cards this season — twice to Shelby Miller and now to Gast.
All four of the Cardinals runs scored in the fourth inning.
Here’s the description from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — long, yes, but the full context is necessary for the section on Lohse:
A single by Carlos Beltran opened the fourth inning against Lohse, and a squeeze bunt by Pete Kozma brought home Jon Jay to cap the scoring.
In between, an RBI single by Yadier Molina that squeaked through and a double by Jay fueled the rally. Lohse’s frustrations followed.
With two runners on, Gast batted in a textbook bunt situation. The rookie squared to bunt but pulled the bat back as if to slash at the pitch. It is a move the Cardinals’ dugout signals when a third baseman is rushing in and a double play is possible. Rookie Shelby Miller attempted to do it against Lohse during their previous duels. Lohse appeared to be irked by the ploy. He threw three consecutive pitches inside on Gast, who ultimately bunted into an out.
Lohse, who won 55 games in five seasons with the Cardinals, then approached third base coach Jose Oquendo with some pointed words. He also talked to Yadier Molina at the plate before his at-bat the next inning, both players confirmed.
The breach appeared to be the slash trick in an obvious bunt situation.
“They know,” Lohse said.
Oooooooooh, “they know.”
Curious, as I was, what the Milwaukee writers had to say? Here’s the report from Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel — also long, but I found his description of basically “Cardinals being the Cardinals” interesting.
Carlos Beltran singled to open the inning. After a Matt Holliday fly out, Allen Craig and Molina singled, with Beltran scoring on Molina’s hit. Jay then doubled, scoring Craig and moving Molina to third. A David Freese single scored Molina, and just like that the Cardinals were up, 3-0, in their typical station-to-station fashion.
St. Louis made an interesting call next, having No. 8 hitter Pete Kozma drop down a squeeze bunt that scored Jay and left Kozma safe at first.
Six hits, five singles, four runs – textbook Cardinals baseball.
“They hit the ball hard, and they find holes,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “There’s not much you can do. It’s the same story. It’s frustrating.”
Added Lohse: “Baseball’s weird. You make some good pitches, they get some good hits. They just kept finding holes.”
Gast came up next and Lohse threw a couple of pitches up and in when Gast squared around to bunt and then pulled back. It appeared as if the tactic irked Lohse, who wound up exchanging some words with St. Louis third-base coach Jose Oquendo and the next inning with Molina when Lohse came to the plate.
“They know what I had to say,” Lohse said when asked about it. “It had nothing to do with the squeeze or anything like that. It was something that happened after that. I’ll just leave it at that. They know.”
There we go again — “they know.”
Yep, good to know Lohse sounds like a baby from the Milwaukee perspective too.
Not as prominently mentioned, thanks to Lohse, was the job done by Maness in the seventh inning of getting out of the jam he’d gotten himself into. He gave up three straight singles to start the inning, with Jean Segura — the top hitter in the National League right now — stepping to the plate. Mike Matheny stayed with Maness, as Derrick Goold describes:
“Not a lot of options,” said Matheny, who has centered his late innings on righties Maness, Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal. “Even though it might not look right or match up right, we’re going to have to lean on some of the other guys to get outs. Seth – he’s got a knack when he gets into trouble.”
Maness got a popup from Segura. Braun worked him to a full count before Maness’ sinker drew an inning-ending double play.
Getting Braun to ground into the double play really was a thing of beauty — though unfortunately there’s no clip of it on the Cardinals website.
Following Gast and Maness, Trevor Rosenthal and his high socks had a quick eighth in which he allowed a two-out single before retiring Rickie Weeks.
Then came the ninth, where Edward Mujica and his high socks got some terrific defensive plays behind him — first from Mr. High Socks himself, Jon Jay, with a diving catch for the first out followed by an equally impressive diving catch from Carlos Beltran for out number two. The final out was not on a diving catch, however, but a grounder to Pete Kozma for Mujica’s 13th save — which ties him with Sergio Romo for third place in the NL
And now it’s off to San Diego for those late night games, beginning tonight at 9:10 p.m. Central Time. (Ugh!) Shelby Miller gets the start, against another old Cardinals friend — Jason Marquis. Can he behave a little more maturely than Kyle Lohse when facing his old team? We’ll find out tonight.
Christine Coleman is the lead 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.