Tuesday’s Game Report: Unusual rally helps Cardinals earn split of doubleheader against Twins
By Rob Rains
It certainly was not a traditional rally. A team usually doesn’t score five runs on only two singles, but that’s what the Cardinals did in the third inning of Tuesday’s second game, leading them to a split of the doubleheader against the Twins with a 6-4 victory.
The Cardinals managed to score those runs thanks to two hit batters, three walks, a fielder’s choice and the two singles, sending 11 hitters to the plate in a half inning that consisted of 54 pitches.
“It speaks to what we’ve been doing for a while now, grinding out at-bats, taking tough at-bats,” said manager Mike Shildt. “Battling our tails off, and those guys did it today for sure.
“That’s a lot of pitches for two hits, but we’ll take everything that came around it. We talk about making guys work and being around the zone and we did that.”
Tommy Edman drove in the first run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. A bases loaded walk to Paul DeJong followed, and then a run-scoring fielder’s choice. Rangel Ravelo got the only hit that drove in a run, a bases-loaded single, followed by a bases-loaded walk to Matt Carpenter.
“Consistent at-bats throughout,” Edman said. “Fighting to try to get our way on base. I think that’s our strength, we just always find a way to get guys on base.”
In the first game, Carlos Martinez returned from the injured list and gave up a three-run homer to Josh Donaldson in the third inning that sent the Twins to a 7-3 win.
Here is how the games broke down:
At the plate: Carpenter’s single led off the third inning and he also walked twice in the game … The Cardinals scored their final run in the sixth when Kolten Wong’s single drove in Edman, who had reached on a walk … Edman had the only real offensive highlight in the first game, a two-run homer, when the Cardinals scored all three of their runs in the sixth inning … Edman played third base in the opener and right field in the second game, and counting his at-bats only while playing the outfield, with Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader and Lane Thomas, the Cardinals’ outfield combined was 1-of-15 with eight strikeouts. The only hit was an infield single by O’Neill.
On the mound: The Cardinals gave up five homers in the two games, including one to Nelson Cruz in each game. Cruz is the first 40-year-old player to homer against the Cardinals since Todd Helton in 2013 … He also became the first player to homer in both games of a doubleheader against the Cardinals since the Padres Ryan Schlmpf on July 20, 2016 … Martinez worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs … In the second game, Daniel Ponce de Leon got a no-decision after pitching three innings, allowing two runs, on a home run but issued only one walk.
Key stat: The at-bat of the day was the final one in the third inning of game two, when Matt Wieters finally flied to center field on the 19th pitch of the at-bat. It was the longest plate appearance by any Cardinal since pitch-data began being recorded in 1988 and was the longest by any hitter in baseball with the bases loaded. Wieters fouled off nine consecutive 3-2 pitches and had 14 foul balls total in the at-bat, which lasted 10 minutes … The previous record for most pitches in a plate appearance by a Cardinal was 17 by Rick Ankiel in 2008. The major-league record for most pitches in an at-bat is 21 by the Giants’ Brandon Belt.
Worth noting: The Cardinals optioned Dylan Carlson to the satellite camp in Springfield on Tuesday. Carlson had seen his playing time decline in recent days, having started only two of the previous seven games. He had just one hit in his last 19 at-bats, dropping his season average to .162 (12-of-74). “He hit into a lot of proverbial tough luck,” said Shildt, “a lot of line drives that found gloves in the outfield. The league started treating him like he was a 15-year All-Star and pitched him tougher than anybody in the game; a lot of soft stuff … It’s part of the learning curve.” … The move, combined with the return of Martinez, left the Cardinals with just three extra position players on the roster … To open a spot on the 40-man roster as Martinez returned from COVID-19, pitcher Ryan Meisinger was designated for assignment.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will have their final scheduled day off of the season on Wednesday before hosting the Tigers in a makeup doubleheader on Thursday.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains