Tuesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 2, Royals 0
Jack Flaherty added his name to a quite elite, and short, list on Tuesday night with another seven shutout innings in his start for the Cardinals against the Royals in Kansas City.
It was the third consecutive start in which Flaherty pitched seven innings and did not allow a run, matching a feat accomplished by only two other Cardinals pitchers in the last 50 years.
Since Bob Gibson ran off five consecutive scoreless starts of seven or more innings in his magical 1968 season, the only two pitchers who have done what Flaherty has done were John Tudor in 1985 and Adam Wainwright in 2014.
Flaherty gave up just three hits and over his last three starts has now allowed a total of eight hits in 21 innings. That has continued an even longer string of dominant starts by Flaherty that dates back to the final game before the All-Star break in San Francisco.
Since that game, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh, Flaherty has allowed just four runs in his last seven starts, covering 45 1/3 innings. That’s an ERA of 0.79.
The win was the fourth in a row by the Cardinals and combined with the Cubs loss to the Phillies left them just one game out of first place in the NL Central.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Dexter Fowler reached base on an error to lead off the game and following a balk and a ground out, scored what turned out to be the only run the Cardinals needed on a sacrifice fly by Paul Goldschmidt … An RBI single by Tommy Edman scored Lane Thomas, getting a second consecutive start, in the third to increase the lead to 2-0 … Only two more Cardinals’ baserunners reached second base in the game; Kolten Wong with a two-out double in the seventh and Marcell Ozuna with a walk and a stolen base, his 11th of the season, in the ninth … Matt Carpenter served as the DH and went 1-of-3 with a double … Yadier Molina returned to the lineup for the first time since July 6 and was hitless in four at-bats.
On the mound: Flaherty gave up a two-out double to Hunter Dozier in the first but then did not allow another hit until a single leading off the sixth. The Royals got another single to put runners on first and second with no outs, but Flaherty got out of the jam with a double play and a strikeout. He only walked one, and it was intentional, and struck out seven … Andrew Miller got four outs, pitching around a walk, before Carlos Martinez got the final two outs for the save, despite allowing an infield hit that brought the tying run to the plate … It was the sixth shutout of the season for the Cardinals, but the first to come on the road.
Key stat: Flaherty actually has a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings, a career high, that includes the final two innings of his start against the Astros on July 26 … In his streak of three consecutive scoreless starts in 2014 Wainwright threw 24 innings and Tudor threw a shutout in each of his three consecutive scoreless starts in 1985, working a total of 28 innings.
Worth noting: Jobel Jimenez joined the team from Memphis and will serve as the assistant hitting coach for the rest of the season, taking the place of Mark Budaska, who was fired on Monday for what was described as “philosophical differences” when it came to working with Jeff Albert and the team’s hitters … Randy Arozarena also joined the Cardinals from Memphis and will become the 42nd player used by the Cardinals this season when he makes his major-league debut … The Cardinals have now won seven consecutive games in Kansas City dating back to 2016 … Royals manager Ned Yost was ejected in the third inning when he argued that Wong was running to first base in fair territory after hitting a ball in front of the plate.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start in the finale of the two-game series on Wednesday night.