Wednesday’s Game Report: Diamondbacks 9, Cardinals 7
The Cardinals’ magic number remained stuck on three on Wednesday, now matching the number of games they have left in the regular season.
A seven-run sixth inning by the Diamondbacks wiped out a 5-2 Cardinals lead and gave them their second loss of the day, the first coming in the early morning hours at the end of Tuesday night’s 19-inning marathon.
The Cardinals used their regular lineup for all 19 innings, which prompted manager Mike Shildt to unleash the “bench mafia” on Wednesday, with only Tommy Edman still in the starting lineup.
For five a half innings, the plan worked, but then came the bottom of the sixth inning, when rookie relievers Genesis Cabrera and Junior Fernandez saw a combination of hits, walks and an error lead to the big inning. The seven runs tied the most runs in an inning against the Cardinals this season.
The bullpen, which had thrown 11 2/3 innings on Tuesday night, was forced into more extended use when starter Michael Wacha had to come out of the game in the second inning because of tightness in his right shoulder. He is scheduled to be re-examined when the team returns to St. Louis.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals built their early lead on a two-run double in the third by Jose Martinez, who then tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rangel Ravelo in the fifth … Randy Arozarena, getting the start in center, stole home on a delayed steal on a pickoff throw to first in the fourth and then hit his first career homer in the sixth. He also threw out a runner at third base … Trailing 9-5 going to the ninth, the Cardinals mounted a rally when Tommy Edman was hit by a pitch, Martinez singled and Ravelo walked to load the bases before Matt Wieters lined a single to drive in two runs … The stage was set for a dramatic finish when Paul Goldschmidt came off the bench to pinch-hit, but instead he grounded into a game-ending double play.
On the mound: The Cardinals had to call on six relievers to get through the final 6 1/3 innings after Wacha came out of the game in what could turn out to be his final appearance with the Cardinals … Mike Mayers, who along with Carlos Martinez were the only pitchers who did not appear in the Tuesday night marathon, worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings and John Gant, who has struggled of late, did not allow a run in 1 2/3 innings as they got the game to the sixth … The biggest hit of the inning was a two-run homer by Wilmer Flores off Fernandez which capped the inning.
Key stat: After going 0-of-9 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday night, the Cardinals were just 3-of-12 with men on second or third on Wednesday, leaving five runners on one of those two bases.
Worth noting: Arozarena’s steal of home was the first by a Cardinal since Pete Kozma did it in 2012 … Paul DeJong got his first day off since July 14, ending a string of 67 consecutive games, 65 of them starts … Marcell Ozuna also did not play. He has just three hits in 32 at-bats over his last 10 games … The Cardinals ended the road half of their season one game above .500 at 41-40 … The last seven-run innings against the Cardinals came on June 29 at San Diego.
Looking ahead: After Thursday’s day off, the Cardinals return home to host the Cubs for the final three games of the regular season beginning on Friday night. Dakota Hudson will get the start. The Brewers play at Cincinnati on Thursday then finish the regular season this weekend at Colorado.