Wednesday’s Game Report: Marlins 4, Cardinals 3

Wednesday’s Game Report: Marlins 4, Cardinals 3

By Rob Rains

The pitch from Ryan Helsley that will be shown on the highlights was the one that Avaisail Garcia hit over the center field wall for a game-winning home run in the ninth inning on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.

But the pitch that had as much to do with the Cardinals loss to the Marlins came three batters earlier, when Garrett Cooper drew a leadoff walk.

That pitch, on a 3-2 count, was a borderline pitch that could have gone either way. Helsley wanted the call, and he didn’t get it.

It didn’t seem as if it would matter when the next two batters struck out as Helsley continued his almost perfect performance so far this season.

But on his first pitch to Garcia, a 98 mile per hour fastball, it mattered.

The home run resulted in only the second and third earned runs that Helsley has allowed this season and was only the ninth hit he has allowed in 108 at-bats.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Facing former teammate Sandy Alcantara, the Cardinals took a 3-2 lead in the fifth when Edmundo Sosa tripled and Andrew Knizner drew a walk before Brendan Donovan hit a sacrifice fly and Dylan Carlson singled in the second run of the inning … Carlson also drove in Sosa with the Cardinals first run with a sacrifice fly in the third … Alcantara, who pitched a complete game, allowed just three more hits after Carlson’s single, including the second double of the night by Juan Yepez … After falling behind in the ninth, the Cardinals threatened when Lars Nootbaar walked with one out and Connor Capel, making his first start, singled for his first career hit. The game ended, however, when Sosa grounded into a double play.

On the mound: Andre Pallante turned in the best start of his career but got only a no-decision to show for it. He allowed two runs on five hits over a career-high seven innings. The Marlins turned a leadoff single in the fourth and a leadoff walk in the fifth into their first two runs … Giovanny Gallegos worked a 1-2-3 eighth before turning the game over to Helsley.

Key stat: With his hit, sacrifice fly and two RBIs, Carlson continued his strong performance over the last month, despite missing time with a hamstring injury. In 27 games since May 15, Carlson is hitting .321 (28-of-87) with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs and 13 RBIs.

Worth noting: Jordan Hicks pitched for a second consecutive night in Memphis on Wednesday night and it didn’t turn out well. After retiring the first two batters, Hicks gave up five consecutive hits – three singles, a double and a home run – resulting in five runs before he was able to get the third out. The plan had been for the Cardinals to activate Hicks from the injured list this weekend … Also in the game in Memphis, Paul DeJong was hit by a pitch on his hand and had to come out of the game. An update on his status was not immediately available.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals have the day off on Thursday before their three-game series this weekend in Philadelphia. The starting pitchers will be Miles Mikolas on Friday night, Matthew Liberatore on Saturday and Adam Wainwright on Sunday.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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