Wednesday’s Game Report: Phillies 5, Cardinals 3

Wednesday’s Game Report: Phillies 5, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

After politely answering a couple of questions from the media on a zoom call after Wednesday night’s game, Genesis Cabrera said he had something else he wanted to say.

“I want to apologize for all the action that happened,” he said through a team interpreter. “I’m really sorry for everything that happened today. None of it was intentional.”

In a scary moment, Cabrera lost control of a 97 miles per hour fastball and it hit Bryce Harper flush in the face as he was leading off the sixth inning. Harper got up and under his own power walked immediately to the Phillies dugout.

“My prayers go out to Bryce Harper,” Cabrera said. “The plan was to come inside with a fastball and it kind of slipped upon release.”

Harper was taken to a hospital for evaluation and later posted a message on his Instagram account that “everything came back good.” He then added, “Face is still there, we’re all good.”

Cabrera, obviously shaken by what happened, then hit the next batter, Didi Gregorius, with his next pitch. Umpires issued a warning to both teams but Phillies manager Joe Girardi wanted Cabrera ejected but instead got himself ejected from the game.

“This guy has pitched very well for us this year,” manager Mike Shildt said. “This guy’s actually transformed himself from a thrower that we saw a couple years ago into more of a pitcher that we saw toward the end of last year.

“He went into a spot in a tie game that was right in his spot, lefties in the lineup, their better guys. Really unfortunate the ball got away from him and our prayers are with Bryce Harper and we hope that he is OK.”

Because of the new rule that pitchers must face three hitters, or finish an inning, before they can come out of the game, Cabrera had to face one more hitter, Andrew McCutchen, and he singled to drive in a run and break the 3-3 tie and send the Phillies to the victory.

Shildt said that was an example of why the three-batter minimum is a flawed rule. He said he would have pulled Cabrera from the game immediately after Harper was hit if that had been allowed.

“That’s a failure of the three-batter minimum,” Shildt said. “Absolutely. Completely, absolutely, no doubt. You’re talking about an aggressive young pitcher that’s throwing to one of the superstars of this game and the ball got away from him and unfortunately got Bryce up top. Clearly he (Cabrera) felt terrible.

“We went out to calm him down but at that point that’s a tough thing to deal with in competition. It was an unfortunate scenario.”

Shildt said he talked to Cabrera on the mound and in the dugout and other staff members and players also had and will have more conversations with him.

“How much he heard (on the mound) I’m not sure because he still had a lot of emotion going from what had just happened,” Shildt said. “It happened quick. He’s a tough kid. Obviously he’s bothered by it but he’ll move forward.”

Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals took an early 3-1 lead on a two-run homer from Tyler O’Neill in the second, his third since coming off the injured list six games ago, and a solo shot by Paul Goldschmidt in the third but could not push any more runs across, stranding five runners over the final six innings … O’Neill added a pair of singles to his home run for his first three-hit game of the season.

On the mound: Johan Oviedo made his first start of the season as the Cardinals inserted a sixth starter into their rotation in the middle of a 17-game stretch in as many days. He allowed one run and just two hits through the first four innings, striking out seven, but walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth before former Cardinal Brad Miller drilled a two-run homer with two outs that tied the game … Tyler Webb was able to get out of the sixth after relieving Cabrera but then allowed a run in the seventh … Andrew Miller made his first appearance since April 18, retiring the Phillies in order in the eighth.

Key stat: Coming into Wednesday night’s game, Cabrera had hit six of the 237 batters he had faced in his major-league career. When adding in his career minor league numbers, the total was 26 hit batters while facing 2,496 batters in his professional career.

Worth noting: To open up a roster spot for Oviedo, the Cardinals returner outfielder Scott Hurst to the alternate site camp as they elected to go with 14 pitchers and just 12 position players.

Looking ahead: Kwang Hyun Kim will get the start on Thursday in a 12:15 p.m. game, the final game of the four-game series and the homestand.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.