Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Phillies 3 (10 innings)
By Rob Rains
It had been almost 10 years since the Cardinals won a game on a walk-off wild pitch. It only seemed almost that long since Matt Carpenter got a big hit to help the Cardinals win a game.
The beleaguered Carpenter hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in the fifth inning on Thursday – a ball that he thought right-fielder Roman Quinn might catch before it bounced out of his glove and into the Cardinals’ bullpen.
“I was saying the Lord’s Prayer hoping that thing would not be caught,” Carpenter said. “My stomach dropped when I felt like he had it in his glove and obviously really fired up when I saw the reaction in the bullpen which was what led me to know that he didn’t have it. A whirlwind of emotions.
“It feels like I was due for catching a break. It was good timing to catch the break there where it helped us win the game. I will take as many breaks as I can going forward.”
The home run gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead, but the Phillies came back to tie it and send the game to extra innings, where the Cardinals got the win on a wild pitch that scored Tyler O’Neill from third base. It was the first walk-off win for the Cardinals on a wild pitch since Adron Chambers scored to beat the Cubs 2-1 on Sept. 24, 2011.
Carpenter received another curtain call after the homer, the fourth as a pinch-hitter in his career and first since May 30, 2019, also against the Phillies, in Philadelphia.
It was only his fourth hit in 42 at-bats this season. He had just one hit in 23 at-bats over his previous 11 games.
“Adam (Wainwright) texted me and said if he (Quinn) had caught that ball he would have retired and I said no, I’m pretty sure I would have retired if he had caught that ball,” Carpenter said. “Everybody’s hanging on every swing with me. It’s been a frustrating go, some of the luck has obviously not been favorable for me but that’s part of the game. If you play this game long enough you are going to go through stretches like this.
“It makes the days like today that much more enjoyable when it does go your way.”
Here is how Thursday’s game broke down:
At the plate: In the 10th, O’Neill was the ghost runner at second base and he moved to third on a ground out by Andrew Knizner. After Justin Williams was intentionally walked, Edmundo Sosa was batting with a 1-2 count when David Hale uncorked the wild pitch that brought home the winning run … The Cardinals did not have a hit after Carpenter’s homer off Aaron Nola, who had allowed only three hits before the blast after shutting out the Cardinals on two hits in his last game against them … Before the homer, Knizner singled, advanced to second on an error and Sosa was intentionally walked to bring Carpenter to the plate … In the six games Knizner has played since Yadier Molina was injured, he has gone 6-of-19.
On the mound: Kwang Hyun Kim allowed one run in his five innings of work, the run coming on a double by J.T. Realmuto in the third. Kim allowed seven hits in his first four innings but was able to avoid further damage by stranding five runners, three in scoring position …Jordan Hicks pitched a scoreless sixth, working around a leadoff walk, but the Phillies tied the game in the seventh on a pair of doubles off Andrew miller and a single off Giovanny Gallegos … Alex Reyes worked a 1-2-3 ninth and in the 10th, got help from a strong throw by Dylan Carlson that cut down the would-be go-ahead runner at third to end the inning.
Key stat: Before Carpenter’s home run, Cardinals pinch-hitters this season were a combined 4-of-38 with just one RBI. Their last pinch-hit had been a single by Lane Thomas on April 12. Carpenter had been 0-of-9 when pinch-hitting.
Worth noting: Neither Bryce Harper nor Didi Gregorius was in the Phillies lineup a day after they were hit by pitches by Genesis Cabrera. Cabrera did not appear in the game either. “He’s not some loose-cannon guy out there,” said Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. “We have some facts to back it up, we’ve seen it. He’s pitched well for us. He’s pitched well for us in big moments. It’s one of those things that happened. You move on and don’t make it bigger than it is. Clearly if there was even a hint of being intentional it would be a different issue but there’s not. We’ll get him back out there and moving forward.” … Shildt said Harper sent a message to Cabrera before Thursday’s game saying he knew the pitch was not intentional. Cabrera had hit only two of the previous 123 batters he had faced dating back to last season … After starting on Wednesday night, Johan Oviedo was optioned back to the alternate site camp since he would not be available to pitch for several days. Seth Elledge was brought up to add another pitcher in the bullpen … Shildt was ejected for the first time this season in the ninth inning. It came after Nolan Arenado was hit by a pitch, but Shildt said he was arguing about ball and strike calls that had been happening throughout the game and not about Arenado getting hit.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will be in Pittsburgh on Friday night to open a three-game series against the Pirates before coming right back home. John Gant, Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright are set to the start in that order.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains