Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Braves 2 (11 innings)
By Rob Rains
Before Dylan Carlson could win the game, he first had to save it.
Carlson, who entered Thursday night’s game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, made a highlight-reel catch in the ninth inning that kept the game against the Braves tied, sending it to extra innings.
Carlson ran down a fly ball on the warning track hit by Michael Harris II on the warning track and turned it into a double play, with his throw doubling off Phil Gosselin at first. Playing center in place of the injured Harrison Bader, it was his second outstanding catch in two nights.
Then in the 11th inning, Carlson’s single – his third hit of the game – drove in Nolan Arenado with the winning run, snapping the Cardinals’ season-high four-game losing streak.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson’s single in the seventh moved Nolan Gorman, who had led off the inning with a double, to third, where he was able to score the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols … Carlson also singled in the ninth before his hit in the 11th … It was the second three-hit game of the season for Carlson, the other coming on May 18 at New York … Gorman, who had a leadoff single in front of Carlson’s hit in thr 11th, collected both of his hits off lefthanders … The Cardinals’ run in the 10th inning scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Yepez … The Cardinals had a season-high 19 strikeouts, 18 coming in the first nine innings. Their first nine outs all came on strikeouts … Austin Romine struck out four times while Brendan Donovan and Edmundo Sosa each fanned three times.
On the mound: Starter Matthew Liberatore was lifted after throwing 74 pitches through four scoreless innings … Jordan Hicks relieved Liberatore and threw two scoreless innings, with 27 of his 34 pitches clocked at 100 mph or more … The Braves tied the game at 1 in the seventh on a leadoff homer by Harris off Giovanny Gallegos … Ryan Helsley worked 2 1/3 innings, allowing an RBI single by Matt Olson that tied the game in the 10th … Packy Naughton retired the Braves in order in the 11th to earn the save.
Key stat: Carlson became the first Cardinal to get three hits in a game that he didn’t start since Greg Garcia on May 20, 2017.
Worth noting: Twelve of the Cardinals strikeouts came against rookie starter Spencer Strider, the most by a Braves pitcher against the Cardinals since 1960, when George Brunet struck out 12 in 10 2/3 innings … The top two prospects in the Cardinals’ farm system, third baseman Jordan Walker and shortstop Masyn Winn, were named Thursday to the National League team for the Futures Game, part of the All-Star game festivities in Los Angeles. The two 20-year-olds are both playing at Double A Springfield … Steven Matz made his third rehab start for Memphis on Thursday night, allowing two runs in 3 1/3 innings at Durham. He threw 59 pitches, 39 for strikes, walking one and recording four strikeouts. He likely will need one more rehab start to get his pitch count up to about 75 pitches before rejoining the Cardinals’ rotation.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright will get the start on Friday night as the Cardinals return home to host the Phillies in the opener of a four-game series. It begins a 10-game homestand that will carry the Cardinals into the All-Star break.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains