Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 2, Marlins 1 (11 innings)
By Rob Rains
Daniel Ponce de Leon has to be wondering what he has to do to win a game in the major leagues.
Coming into his start for the Cardinals against the Marlins on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, Ponce de Leon had started six games over the last two seasons and had gone 0-2 with four no-decisions despite recording a 2.54 ERA.
Included in the no-decisions was his major-league debut on July 23 last year in Cincinnati when he did not allow a hit over seven innings before coming out of the game.
Ponce de Leon was in line for that elusive first victory on Wednesday night but once again it wasn’t to be. He left the game with the Cardinals leading 1-0 going to the seventh inning, but the Marlins tied the game off Carlos Martinez in the eighth.
The six shutout innings, in which he allowed only two hits, lowered Ponce de Leon’s career ERA as a starter to 2.10.
Ponce de Leon does have someone he can turn to if he wants company about the winless streak to start his career. Jack Flaherty made eight starts, going 0-3 with five no decisions, in 2017 and 2018 before earning his first career victory in his ninth start.
The Cardinals did get the win, thanks to a walkoff homer from Paul Goldschmidt in the 11th.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had just one hit against former Gateway Grizzlies pitcher Trevor Richards through five innings, a single by Tommy Edman leading off the fifth, giving them three combined hits in their last 14 innings against the Marlins … They matched that total in the sixth. A single by Jose Martinez was followed by two-out singles by Rangel Ravelo – his first major-league hit – and a single by Dexter Fowler that produced the game’s first run … The Cardinals had a chance to win the game in the 10th when they loaded the bases with nobody out but Harrison Bader struck out and with the Marlins using a five-man infield, Marcell Ozuna grounded into a double play … In the 11th, Goldschmidt launched a 2-2 pitch 453 feet for the fifth walkoff homer of his career and first since 2016 … Goldschmidt had just one hit in his previous 23 at-bats, a home run on Sunday in New York … Matt Wieters was 0-of-3 with a walk and is now hitless in his last 24 at-bats, the longest hitless streak of his career (0-of-23 in 2013). It’s the longest hitless streak by a Cardinals catcher since Erik Pappas was 0-of-31 in 1994.
On the mound: The only hits allowed by Ponce de Leon were a one-out double by Curtis Granderson in the first and a two-out double by Miguel Rojas in the sixth. In between the hits Ponce de Leon retired 15 of 16 batters, issuing only one walk. He finished with six strikeouts … Martinez retired the side in order in the seventh and got the first two outs in the eighth before giving up three consecutive singles that produced the tying run … Jordan Hicks retired all six batters he faced in the ninth and 10th before John Gant also retired the Marlins in order in the 11th.
Key stat: Out of their 73 games this season, this was the 23rd time the Cardinals have finished with six or fewer hits. They are now 7-16 in those games with five of the wins coming since May 31.
Worth noting: Goldschmidt was out of the starting lineup for only the third time this season but entered the game in a double switch in the ninth. He is the only Cardinal to appear in all 73 games this season … Also out of the lineup were Kolten Wong, Bader and Yadier Molina, all “rest related” according to manager Mike Shildt … The Cardinals signed their picks from the fourth (Andre Pallante), seventh (Jack Ralston) and 11th rounds (Connor Lunn) on Wednesday. They have now signed all of their picks from the top 12 rounds of the draft and 31 of their 40 overall selections.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will come off the injured list to get the start on Thursday night in the final game of the series against the Marlins. Getting the start for Miami will be former Cardinals prospect Zac Gallen, one of the players sent to the Marlins in the trade for Marcell Ozuna. Gallen will be making his major-league debut.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains