Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals 11, Dodgers 7
By Rob Rains
Harrison Bader hasn’t played that many games yet in his career with the Cardinals and even if he plays for another decade or more he might never be involved in a game that will compare to what happened on Thursday.
And he didn’t even get a hit.
Bader was hit twice by pitches – becoming the first player in team history to do that with the bases loaded in the same game. He also scored from second base on a wild pitch … and he made a leaping catch in center field to save an extra base hit.
All of that helped the Cardinals complete their first four-game sweep of the Dodgers at Busch Stadium since 2010 and extend their winning streak to five games.
The two bases-loaded hit by pitches came in each of the Cardinals’ four-run innings, in the second and the fifth. Twice they trailed by three runs before regaining the lead.
“Every RBI matters,” Bader said. “Whether you walk or get a single or whatever they all count. It came at a good time. If I have to wear it for the club I will do it again.”
After getting hit the first time, Bader was on second, with Jedd Gyorko on third, when each scored on a wild pitch by Walker Buehler.
“Out of the hand I saw the ball hit the dirt and kind of kick far enough away and running around third I just took a chance,” Bader said. “There’s no hesitation; you just have to be aggressive.”
Bader knows the combination of everything that happened to him in the game is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.
“It just goes to show how random the game is,” he said. “You always have to be ready. It’s my job every time I get an opportunity to take an extra base or wear a pitch. That’s what you have to do.”
Those offensive plays overshadowed the defensive play, taking at least a double away from Cody Bellinger leading off the seventh with his leaping catch on the warning track.
“It was a little funky with the way the wind was swirling and it kind of hung up there a little bit,” Bader said. “I almost mistimed my jump because of the way the wind played into it, but it worked out.”
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Jose Martinez matched his career high with four hits as the Cardinals emptied their bench and started all four of their usual reserve players. Martinez had a double and three singles, scoring three runs … Matt Wieters made his first start in place of Yadier Molina and drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single … Jedd Gyorko started in place of Matt Carpenter and had an RBI single and scored a run while Tyler O’Neill had two hits and scored twice … Paul DeJong extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with a double and single and scored three runs, raising his average during the streak to .383 (18-of-47) … Only four of the Cardinals’ 11 runs actually scored via a hit … The only starter who failed to reach base was Paul Goldschmidt, who was 0-of-5.
On the mound: Michael Wacha allowed nine hits, including three homers, and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings but he got a no-decision thanks to the Cardinals’ offense and bullpen, which shut out Los Angeles for the final 5 1/3 innings on just two hits … Giovanny Gallegos earned his first major-league win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, including three strikeouts … Over the four-game series the bullpen allowed only one run in a combined 15 2/3 innings.
Key stat: This was only the third game in Cardinals history that they had two batters hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Both of the other times it happened involved different batters, once in 1961 and again in 1992. Bader became only the fourth player in the majors in the last 40 years to be hit by a pitch twice in a game with the bases loaded; the last to do it was Reed Johnson of Toronto in 2005. r
Worth noting: David Freese played what could have been his last game at Busch Stadium unless the Dodgers and Cardinals meet in the playoffs. He hit his first homer in the stadium since 2016, when he was with Pittsburgh, in the second inning and added an RBI single in the third before later coming out of the game in a double switch. Freese, who turns 36 later this month, is expected to retire after this season … Molina had caught 107 of the Cardinals’ first 108 innings … Carlos Martinez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday in the next step of his rehab program. He still likely is at least a month away from being ready to rejoin the team … Yairo Munoz traveled to St. Louis on Thursday to join the team as it headed to Mexico. The Cardinals are allowed to add a 26th player to the roster for the two games.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals have Friday off before playing the Reds on Saturday and Sunday in Monterrey, Mexico. Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start the first game, followed by Miles Mikolas.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Mike Shildt, Matt Wieters, Harrison Bader, Andrew Miller, Jose Martinez