Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Royals 5
By Rob Rains
When Kolten Wong struck out with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning on Wednesday night, with the Cardinals trailing by a run, it did not seem likely he would get another at-bat just one inning later.
But after the Royals scored twice in the top of the ninth to increase their lead to 5-2, Wong did get that chance – again with the bases loaded after the Cardinals rallied to tie the game – and this time he drew a walk that forced in the winning run and gave the Cardinals their second walk-off win of the season.
“When you’re leading off you always have a chance to show up in a big situation,” Wong said. “Amazing at-bat by Dylan (Carlson) to work him and I just knew with the bases loaded I wanted to make him work, get him in the zone, get a good swing off or make him pitch hard.”
A two-run single by Tyler O’Neill cut the lead to 5-4, helping O’Neill – just 3-of-33 in his last 10 games, including a single in the sixth – get some redemption for a hit that went off his glove in the top of the ninth, scoring the two extra runs for the Royals.
“That’s a ball I should come up with,” O’Neill said. “That’s baseball. Sometimes they just don’t go. I was itching to get another opportunity and thankfully it happened like that.”
Carlson then drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases and set the stage for Wong to complete the four-run rally.
“Great at-bats all the way around,” Wong said. “Our whole motto is to grind pitchers out, we want them to be tired. We’ve been working pitchers since we returned, it’s a great message we’re sending to the rest of the league.”
Wong also had the game-winning hit in the Cardinals’ first walk-off win of the season.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: A sacrifice fly from Paul Goldschmidt and an opposite-field double from Carlson produced the Cardinals first two runs …They threatened in the eighth by loading the bases on a single from Paul DeJong and two walks before Trevor Rosenthal relieved and struck out Carlson and Wong … In the ninth, Goldschmidt drew a walk, Brad Miller doubled and DeJong walked to load the bases. Max Schrock pinch-hit and struck out for the second out, but that got Rosenthal out of the game. Molina was hit by a pitch to drive in the first run and O’Neill followed with a hard smash to third that skipped into left field to produce the tying runs … At that point in the game the Cardinals had been only 1-of-13 with runners in scoring position.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson worked the first six innings, allowing just three hits, one of which was a two-run homer … After a 1-2-3 seventh, Genesis Cabrera came back in the eighth and gave up a leadoff homer … Alex Reyes got out of that inning, but then allowed a single and walk in the ninth before the two-run double by Whit Merrifield that skipped off O’Neill’s glove.
Key stat: The Cardinals are now 9-0 this season when scoring five or more runs and just 2-9 whey scoring four runs or less.
Worth noting: Dexter Fowler pulled himself out of the lineup just before game time, joining Jack Flaherty in a sign of solidarity supporting other athletes protesting the shooting of a man in Kenosha, Wis. … The move forced Tommy Edman into right field because Harrison Bader also was scratched from the lineup because of a migraine, which opened the spot in the lineup for O’Neill … Matt Carpenter also was not in the original lineup but started at third base with Edman moving to the outfield for the first time this season … Carlos Martinez is reporting to the Springfield satellite camp so he can be stretched out as a starter. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice on Thursday … Matt Wieters, who went home to Atlanta after suffering a broken toe in Chicago, is scheduled to be back in St. Louis on Thursday so he can be re-evaluated.
Looking ahead: Kwang Hyun Kim will get the start in the first game of the makeup doubleheader Thursday against the Pirates, with Johan Oviedo set to make his second career start in game two. First pitch for game one is scheduled for 2:15 p.m.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains