Wednesday Game Report: Cardinals split doubleheader against Reds
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
A win in the first game of the split doubleheader against the Reds on Wednesday put the Cardinals in a position to move within a game of the second wild-card playoff spot.
Nick Castellanos made certain that didn’t happen.
Castellanos hit a two-run homer in the first inning, then blasted a grand slam in a seven-run second inning that sent the Reds to a 12-2 win in game two, which left the Cardinals exactly where they were in the race when the day started – 2 ½ games behind the Reds.
Both home runs were hit with a chipped bat, which Cardinals manager Mike Shildt questioned after the grand slam. The umpires got together and ruled the bat didn’t have an affect on the home run, which was allowed to stand.
The bat would have been taken out of the game because of a safety issue, but Castellanos had already handed it to a young fan behind the Cincinnati dugout.
“I don’t want to make it a big deal, the guy hit a home run with a chipped bat,” Shildt said. “Good for him. I wasn’t going to say anything initially, but the bat was run out of there so quickly I didn’t want the bat to get gone. I knew there wasn’t really any recourse … I thought the crew handled it well. It was really just a safety issue. Nothing bigger than that.”
In the first game, Paul Goldschmidt homered twice and drove in three runs to lead the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory.
Here is how Wednesday’s doubleheader broke down:
At the plate: After getting 12 hits in the first four innings in the opener, the Cardinals were held to just three hits in the second game. The hits included a leadoff homer from Tommy Edman, his 10th of the season, and a homer by Nolan Arenado, his 27th, in the third. Their only other hit was a double by Ali Sanchez, just recalled from Memphis, with two outs in the seventh … Harrison Bader, coming off a tough August, had three hits in game one, including his 10th homer, but was 0-of-2 in game two.
On the mound: The Cardinals starting pitching was not good in either game. Miles Mikolas lasted just three innings in game one, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk, but he was better than J.A. Happ in game two. Happ failed to get an out in the second inning and was charged with the Reds’ first seven runs. He had allowed a total of seven runs in his first five starts with the Cardinals, covering 28 1/3 innings …Junior Fernandez relieved Happ but had to leave the game after facing only two batters. Shildt said he will be heading to St. Louis on Thursday for a medical evaluation of what was initially diagnosed as a lat injury … Genesis Cabrera got the win in game one, allowing three hits in two innings, with Giovanny Gallegos earning his second consecutive save.
Key stat: When Brandon Dickson, recalled from Memphis on Wednesday, entered the game in the fifth inning of game two, he set a franchise record for the longest time between two appearances for the Cardinals – nine years, three days, or a total of 3,291 days. His last game for the Cardinals had been on Aug. 28, 2012 before he left in 2013 and spent eight years pitching in Japan.
Worth noting: Dakoa Hudson, who pitched two scoreless innings in an appearance for Palm Beach last week, is scheduled to start for Double A Springfield on Thursday night in Tulsa … Edman’s homer was his second leadoff homer of the season and the first by the Cardinals in Cincinnati since Matt Carpenter did it on Sept. 20, 2017 … Castellanos was the first Red with two homers, including a grand slam, against the Cardinals since Scooter Gennett’s four-homer game in 2017 … To make room for Dickson on the 40-man roster, pitcher Ryan Helsley was moved to the 60-day injured list.
Looking ahead: After a day off on Thursday, the Cardinals will play the Brewers Friday night in Milwaukee in the opener of a three-game series. That will be Adam Wainwright’s 300th career start with Yadier Molina behind the plate.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains