Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Reds 4
The revolving door that has been the Cardinals’ leadoff spot this season stopped in front of Tommy Edman on Sunday, opening at just the right time.
Edman had three hits, including a home run, scored twice and stole a base as the Cardinals’ survived a ninth-inning rally against Carlos Martinez to beat the Reds in Cincinnati and earn a split of their four-game series.
Dexter Fowler had been the Cardinals’ leadoff hitter for the first five games of this trip, going 5-of-18, but three of those hits came in the same game, the Cardinals’ blow-out win on Friday night. Even with that game, Fowler is hitting .214 in the leadoff spot, still better than Matt Carpenter’s .204 average.
Edman last hit leadoff last Sunday, and in those two opportunities has a combined six hits, raising his average in the spot to .260 in 27 games.
The win assured the Cardinals of at least holding onto a tie for first place in the NL Central as they come home, depending on the outcome of the Cubs’ game Sunday night against the Pirates in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Paul Goldschmidt launched his 28th home run of the season in the third, following Edman’s one-out single. The two RBIs gave Goldschmidt 68 on the season, breaking a tie with Marcell Ozuna for the team lead … Ozuna pulled within one of Goldschmidt’s total with an RBI double in the fifth, following a double by Goldschmidt … Those hits came after Edman homered to left, his fifth of the season … Lane Thomas, getting the start in center field, had the other RBI with one of his two singles … The Cardinals did not have a hit after Ozuna’s double and had just one baserunner in the final four innings, when Goldschmidt drew a walk in the seventh … Their last six hitters were all retired on strikeouts by Kevin Gausman, with Yairo Munoz, Dexter Fowler and Edman going down on just nine pitches in the ninth.
On the mound: Jack Flaherty was not as sharp as he has been in recent starts, but he still was able to hold the Reds to one run on three hits over five-plus innings. He left after issuing a leadoff walk to Aristides Aquino in the sixth. That was Flaherty’s third walk of the game and he also hit a batter. The only run he allowed came on a first-inning homer by Eugenio Suarez, snapping Flaherty’s 23-inning scoreless streak … In his last eight starts since July 7, Flaherty has allowed a total of five runs in 50 1/3 innings … Giovanny Gallegos gave up two hits and was charged with a run in the seventh when Andrew Miller issued a bases-loaded walk, snapping Gallegos’ 18-inning scoreless streak … John Gant got a double play to get out of that jam and worked a 1-2-3 eighth … Martinez inherited the 5-2 lead in the ninth but allowed a double and a single, and threw a wild pitch, before both runners scored on a single by Tucker Barnhart that cut the lead to 5-4. Martinez retired the next three hitters, however, to strand the tying run at first.
Key stat: Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina were each 0-of-4 as both veterans continued to struggle since coming off the injured list. Carpenter is 8-of-40, a .200 average, since returning on Aug. 4 while Molina has gone 2-of-21 in his five games since he came off the IL at the start of this road trip.
Worth noting: The Cardinals did not face long-time nemesis Joey Votto in the series as he missed all four games with a sore back that finally landed him on the injured list on Sunday … Suarez’s homer was the 22nd allowed by Flaherty, breaking a three-way tie with Miles Mikolas and Michael Wacha for the most allowed on the team … Goldschmidt’s homer was the fourth of his career off Alex Wood. The only pitcher who has allowed more home runs (7) to Goldschmidt is Tim Lincicum … Top prospect Dylan Carlson hit leadoff for the first time for Memphis on Sunday and hit his first Triple A home run in the first inning, his 22nd overall this season … Harrison Bader hit a pair of homers, his fifth and sixth in 15 games at Memphis.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start as the Cardinals return home Monday night to open a three-game series against the Brewers, the first game between the two since April 24. They will face the Brewers six times in the next 10 games. Monday night’s game also marks the return of the 6:45 p.m. starts.