Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 1, Marlins 0
By Rob Rains
Yadier Molina’s RBI single came at just the right time to give the Cardinals their second consecutive walk-off win on Wednesday at Busch Stadium.
It just came two innings too late to help Johan Oviedo get his first career victory.
If Oviedo continues to make the progress he has shown in his last several starts, and pitches as he did against the Marlins, wins – plenty of them – will come.
Oviedo, making the 12th start of his career, allowed just six hits, struck out four and did not walk a batter over a career-best seven innings. He threw a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 27 hitters he faced.
“He was really good today; every start he is getting better and better,” Molina said. “He’s gaining more confidence, he’s attacking the zone more. The curveball and slider are better.”
What impressed manager Mike Shildt the most was the first-pitch strikes.
“Big league pitchers have to get outs in the strike zone,” Shildt said, paraphrasing a comment made often by longtime pitching coach Dave Duncan. “Oviedo has shown that the other way doesn’t work. Sometimes that’s the best lesson to learn, what doesn’t work.
“Now he’s really convicted in the strike zone, trusts his stuff, which is really really good. He’s got some swing and miss stuff. It’s a good recipe.”
Oviedo can see the progress too. What he was happy about on Wednesday was that he contributed to a team win.
“The most important thing is team wins,” he said. “For sure I want to win, every pitcher does. … I’m really happy about getting better each game. The goal is to keep working and be ready.”
Here is how Wednesday’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals were 0-of-4 with runners in scoring position through the first eight innings, stranding two runners on third base … Paul Goldschmidt led off the ninth by reaching on an error by shortstop Jazz Chisholm, then went to second when Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk and scored on Molina’s hit just inside the third base line … It was the eighth walk-off hit of Molina’s career and first since 2018 …The hit gave the Cardinals their first 1-0 walk-off win since Sept. 3, 2014 when Molina scoring the winning run against the Pirates in the ninth on a single by Peter Bourjos … Carpenter got the start at third base as Nolan Arenado got the day off. Arenado had been hitless in his last 13 at-bats … Tyler O’Neill extended his on-base streak to 22 consecutive games with an infield single in the fourth inning.
On the mound: Oviedo retired the first 10 hitters he faced before giving up back-to-back singles in the fourth but got out of the inning. He also allowed two hits in the fifth and sixth. The longest previous start in his career had been 5 1/3 innings … Andrew Miller got two outs sandwiched around a walk in the eighth before Ryan Helsley ended that inning and worked a 1-2-3 ninth to get credit for the victory … In the series Cardinals pitchers allowed a combined total of three runs in 27 innings on 17 hits.
Key stat: Oviedo’s 12 career starts is now the second longest streak by a Cardinals pitcher without a win to begin his career in team history. The longest streak is 19 starts by Daniel Ponce de Leon.
Worth noting: Edmundo Sosa was hit on the right hand/wrist by a pitch that forced him out of the game. Initial X-rays did not reveal a fracture, but the Cardinals won’t know the true results until more exams take place … Tommy Edman missed his second consecutive game with what was described Wednesday as abdomen tightness …The Cardinals completed a 6-0 season sweep against the Marlins, the first time they have won all of the games against an opponent in a season since going 7-0 against Arizona in 2015 … This was only the second 1-0 walk-off win for the Cardinals against the Marlins. The only other time it happened was on May 16, 1993.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals begin a six-game road trip on Thursday night with the first of four games against the Braves in Atlanta. John Gant will get the start. Following that series the Cardinals will have a day off before playing two games in Detroit.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains