Sunday’s Game Report: Reds 8, Cardinals 7
By Rob Rains
Playing their 152nd inning in the last 17 days, facing a 7-0 deficit, stuck in a four-game losing streak and knowing that a welcome day off was only four innings away, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt saw exactly what he expected to see from his team on Sunday at Busch Stadium.
It would have been easy for the tired bunch of players to just go through the motions, finish the game and chalk it up to just being one of those days.
Shildt knew his players wouldn’t do that, and they didn’t.
The Cardinals put together a seven-run rally in the sixth to tie the game, only to see the Reds’ Jesse Winker hit his third homer of the game in the ninth to tilt the teeter-totter back in their favor. It started to shift back the other way in the bottom of the ninth, but didn’t go far enough, dropping the Cardinals off at the bottom of what ultimately became a disappointing ride.
“There’s no consolation prizes in this game, we understand that,” said Shildt. “I’m frustrated because we weren’t able to get the result we would have liked to have had in the game. … We fought our tails off and competed at every turn. While it’s frustrating there’s just a ton to feel good about with this club, I’m proud of them.
“Maybe no one wants to hear it, I don’t really know, and I don’t know if anyone cares about people working their tails off and playing 17 straight, tough flights. That’s our job and I’m not complaining about it, but it’s frustrating when you see people that work through that, make zero excuse for it, figure out a way to compete and lay it out there when they are mentally and physically beat up and do everything they possibly can to come home with one more run than the other team.
“You’re frustrated when you don’t see a reward for a group that’s laying it slap out there. This is a group that was all-go, everything they had and I’ve got a ton of respect for that.”
As the Reds completed their first four-game sweep in St. Louis since 1990, the Cardinals once again got the potential tying or winning run to the plate in the ninth inning, just as they had done in the first three games.
A leadoff single by Paul Goldschmidt and a ground-rule double by Nolan Arenado, his fourth hit of the game, put the tying run on third and the winning run on second with no outs. They remained there, however, as Tyler O’Neill popped out, Edmundo Sosa struck out and Jose Rondon also struck out, swinging and missing what appeared to be ball four.
The loss was the fifth in a row for thr Cardinals and the seventh in their last eight games. They ended the 17-game stretch with a 6-11 record, a stretch that also saw them put six players on the injured list.
The fact that it ended up being an 8-7 loss and not a 7-0 defeat left Shildt to try to answer a question about which would have been more frustrating.
“They bought hurt, right?” he said. “This one stings because I’ve got a lot of love for these guys. They are leaving their hearts out there. You know how easy it could have been (to give up)? We see it, but you don’t see it here with this group. You play 17 straight and you have some tough games not go your way recently and you’re down 7-0? There’s a lot of people who proverbially would have thrown in the towel. This group wasn’t going to do that. I wasn’t going to do that.
“It’s a pretty special group. I just want to see the reward for the effort.”
All Shildt wants for the group now is to just enjoy their day off.
“I just hope everybody has a nice day, a nice refreshing day and a good day with their families and enjoy a little bit outside of baseball,” he said. “My hope is there’s a smile on the guys faces tomorrow. This group will come ready to play on Tuesday.”
Here’s how Sunday’s game broke down:
At the plate: The sixth-inning rally came after the Reds pulled starter Wade Miley who had allowed four hits and struck out eight through five innings … They sent eight players to the plate before they made an out, before Arenado – who started the inning with a single, singled again to drive in the sixth and seventh runs. Tyler O’Neill hit a two-run homer, his team-leading 13th of the season, and Matt Carpenter delivered a pinch-hit double that also drove in two runs … It was the Cardinals second biggest inning of the season and their biggest at Busch Stadium.
On the mound: The Reds built their lead against starter John Gant, who gave up a two-run homer to Winker in the first, just seven pitches into the game, and a three-run homer to him in the second. Eugenio Suarez doubled in two more runs in the third … Andrew Miller, Angel Rondon (making his major-league debut) and Giovanny Gallegos allowed just two hits between the fifth and eighth innings. Winker broke the 7-7 tie with his third homer, off Alex Reyes, with one out in the ninth.
Key stat: Winker became only the second Reds player in the 1,148 games they have played in St. Louis to have a three-homer game. The other came from Ted Kluszewski on July 1, 1956. The last Reds player to drive in six runs in a game in St. Louis was Ray Knight on July 19, 1979.
Worth noting: Yadier Molina did not play after taking a foul tip off his left knee on Saturday. Shildt said that with the two off days this week, he thinks Molina will be able to avoid a stint on the injured list .. Paul DeJong was 0-of-2, both groundouts, in his second rehab game at Memphis. He played five innings at shortstop, and could be activated as soon as Tuesday night … The Cardinals announced that Tyler Webb cleared waivers and will be assigned to Memphis … Max Moroff will have season-ending surgery on his left shoulder on Tuesday. The backup infielder was hurt while taking batting practice in a cage before a game last week in Los Angeles.
Looking ahead: After Monday’s day off, their first since May 20, the Cardinals will host the Cleveland Indians in a two-game series. Carlos Martinez, knocked out in the first inning of his last start, will pitch on Tuesday night.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Mike Shildt post-game