Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Nationals 5
By Rob Rains
To say the odds were not great for the Cardinals chances of winning Wednesday night’s game when they trailed by four runs going to the ninth inning might be a bit of an understatement.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, teams that were losing by four or more runs going to the ninth this season were a combined 0-817.
That record is now 1-817.
Tommy Edman’s two-run double capped the wild rally and gave the Cardinals the win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium, their seventh walkoff win of the year but certainly the most unexpected.
The win, combined with the Brewers loss at Colorado, increased the Cardinals’ division lead to 9 ½ games with 25 games left on the schedule. They are a season-high 25 games above .500 (81-56).
A four-run eighth inning by the Nationals had given them a 5-1 lead going to the ninth, setting up their first win in a game they trailed by four runs in the ninth since Aug. 8, 2016 when they were losing 4-0.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The rally began with an infield single by Brendan Donovan. After Paul Goldschmidt walked, Nolan Arenado hit a ground-run double that drove in the first run. Corey Dickerson’s groundout got the second run home before Tyler O’Neill walked. Nolan Gorman struck out for the second out and down to their last out, Yadier Molina’s RBI single cut the deficit to 5-4. Edman then jumped on the first pitch and knocked it over the left-fielder’s head to drive in the final two runs … It’s the fourth win for the Cardinals this season when they were losing after eight innings. They had been 3-39 in those games … The first run for the Cardinals came on Goldschmidt’s 35th homer of the year leading off the fourth … The Cardinals did not have a baserunner after Molina doubled in the fifth until the ninth inning.
On the mound: Jordan Montgomery worked six scoreless innings allowing just two hits before giving up a run in the seventh … The Nationals’ four-run eighth included a home run by Luke Voit off the pitcher he was traded for a few years ago, Giovanny Gallegos, who retired only one of the four hitters he faced and was charged with three of the runs … The Cardinals have won all seven of Montgomery’s starts and are a combined 13-1 in games started by Montgomery and Jose Quintana since they were acquired at the trade deadline … Montgomery’s ERA with the Cardinals is 1.45.
Key stat: In their three previous games plus the first eight innings on Wednesday night the Cardinals had just two hits in 15 at-bats with a runner in scoring position. In the ninth, they were 3-of-5 with a man on second or third.
Worth noting: Goldschmidt’s homer moved him into a second place tie with Austin Riley of the Braves in the home run race, one behind Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies. Goldschmidt now has a league-leading 108 RBIs and also leads the league with a .329 average in his bid to win the Triple Crown … Dylan Carlson was placed on the injured list before the game because of a sprained thumb which has been bothering him for several weeks, contributing to his offensive struggles … To replace Carlson, the Cardinals brought up Alec Burleson from Memphis, where he was hitting .331 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs. To open a spot on the 40-man roster, outfielder Conner Caple was designated for assignment … Reliever Junior Fernandez, who had been DFA’d on Monday when Jack Flaherty was activated, was claimed off waivers by the Pirates and optioned to Triple A.
Looking ahead: Adam Wainwright and Molina will tie the record for most combined starts between a pitcher and catcher with 324 in the final game of the series on Thursday. It’s a 12:15 p.m. start.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains