Tuesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 1, Giants 0
On the day he was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for August, Jack Flaherty staked his first claim on trying to win the award again in September.
Turning in perhaps the best start of his career, Flaherty allowed just one hit over a career-high eight innings, walked one and struck out eight as the Cardinals defeated the Giants Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.
The only run of the game came on a home run by Marcell Ozuna, into Big Mac Land, with two outs in the sixth.
Flaherty made certain that was the only run the Cardinals needed by limiting the Giants to only a two-out single by Mike Yastrezemski in the sixth inning. The only other Giants’ runner to reach base was Stephen Vogt, on a leadoff walk in the second.
It was the second time this season Flaherty has pitched seven or more innings and allowed only one hit. On Aug. 1, he gave up one hit in seven shutout innings against the Cubs.
Flaherty was honored for the August award after going 4-1 in six starts with a 0.71 ERA. In 38 innings he allowed only three earned runs on 19 hits, walked nine and struck out 47.
The game was only the second time in 2,050 all-time games between the Cardinals and Giants that the Cardinals won 1-0 with the only run coming on a home run. The only other time that happened was on June 30, 1933 at the Polo Grounds in New York on a home run by Joe Medwick.
The Cardinals, who have won 20 of their last 25 games, remained three games ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central as they moved to 18 games over .500.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Ozuna had snapped an 0-of-19 streak with an infield single in the first inning, when the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs before Yadier Molina flied out to right …Ozuna’s homer, his 25th of the season, was his first since Aug. 23, a span of 38 at-bats … It was the first time in Ozuna’s career his home run produced the only run of the game in a 1-0 victory … The Cardinals had just five hits, and Ozuna’s homer was their only hit after Molina’s two-out single in the fourth … Three of their five hits were infield singles.
On the mound: Flaherty was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth after throwing 113 pitches, the most he has thrown in a game this year and the second highest total of his career. Of his 24 outs, only four came on balls hit out of the infield, including the final two in the eighth … He threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of the 26 batters he faced … In his 10 starts since the All-Star break, Flaherty has allowed just six earned runs in 63 1/3 innings, an 0.88 ERA, while recording 79 strikeouts … Carlos Martinez, pitching for the fourth consecutive day, allowed the Giants’ second hit, a one-out single by Yastrzemski in the ninth. Brandon Belt flied out to Dexter Fowler on the warning track before Martinez struck out Evan Longoria to end the game … It’s the first time the Cardinals held the Giants to two hits at home since Aug. 17, 1979 … It was the 10th shutout of the season for the Cardinals.
Key stat: While Flaherty had a combined record of 8-1 with a 0.90 ERA in August last year and this season, September has been another story. He went into Tuesday night’s game 0-5 in the month in his career with a 5.76 ERA in 12 games, 11 starts. Last year he was 0-3 in six September starts.
Worth noting: The game lasted just 2 hours, 11 minutes, the fastest game played by the Cardinals since a 2:02 game against the Reds on April 19, 2015 … The game marked the 18th anniversary of the Cardinals’ last no-hitter, by Bud Smith in San Diego … The last time the Cardinals beat the Giants 1-0 at home was on June 2, 1982, the only other time it has happened since 1949 … In addition to Flaherty being named the NL Pitcher of the Month on Tuesday, Molina was named the NL Player of the Week, the first time in his career he has won that award. He hit .579 last week with four homers, three doubles and drove in eight runs … Randy Arozarena joined the Cardinals before Tuesday night’s game, the last player coming up from Memphis … The Johnson City Cardinals forced a decisive game three in the Appalachian League championship series on Tuesday night with a 7-2 win over the Burlington Royals.
Looking ahead: Michael Wacha, pitching on short rest, will get the start on Wednesday night.