Saturday’s Game Report: It takes extra innings, but Cardinals get doubleheader sweep of Reds

Saturday’s Game Report: It takes extra innings, but Cardinals get doubleheader sweep of Reds

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals have won games a lot of different ways this season but they came up with a new way on Saturday night.

Andrew Knizner was hit on the elbow by a throw to the plate by center fielder Nick Senzel, playing third base in a five-man infield, allowing him to score the only run of the game in the 11th inning to give the Cardinals a doubleheader sweep over the Reds.

The Reds argued, unsuccessfully, that Knizner was running out of the baseline when he was hit by Senzel’s throw. It is a judgement call by the umpire and is not a reviewable play.

The win came in a game in which the Cardinals struck out 17 times and the winning pitcher, Steven Matz, woke up Saturday morning in Des Moines, not knowing he would be needed hours later in St. Louis.

Combined with their 5-1 win in the day game in the split doubleheader, the Cardinals reduced their magic number to clinch the NL Central to nine over the Brewers.

Here is how the games broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals had the bases loaded with one out in the 11th when Paul Goldschmidt hit the grounder that produced the winning run. It was his fifth at-bat of the game and the only time he put the ball in play, having struck out in his first four at-bats. Goldschmidt had one hit and an RBI in the first game, but he has fallen 10 points behind Freddie Freeman in the batting race with a .322 average … An infield single by Tommy Edman in the 11th was the Cardinals only hit after the fourth inning … Edman had three hits and an RBI in the day game while Yadier Molina hit his third home run of the month, a two-run shot in the third … Albert Pujols remained stuck on 698 career homers as he was 0-of-3 with two walks in the day game and then struck out as a pinch-hitter in the night game.

On the mound: The Cardinals got outstanding starting pitching in both games from Dakota Hudson and Jose Quintana. Hudson, recalled from Memphis, shut out the Reds through seven innings before allowing an unearned run in the eighth in the day game … Quintana was even better in the night game, allowing just two hits over eight shutout innings with no walks and six strikeouts … After using Ryan Helsley in the ninth and Giiovanny Gallegoes in the 10th, the Cardinals turned to Matz in the 11th. He retired all three batters he faced in his first game in the majors since he hurt his knee on July 23 – in his first game since May. It was his first relief appearance since 2020 when he was with the Mets.

Key stat: This was the first 1-0, extra-inning win for the Cardinals since they beat the Rockies in 11 innings on Oct. 2, 2010 and the first 1-0 extra-inning win over the Reds since Sept. 1, 1976.

Worth noting: Matz was summoned from Des Moines, where he was scheduled to make one more rehab appearance on Sunday, because Jordan Hicks went on the injured list with arm fatigue and neck spasms … That was the second roster move of the day for the Cardinals, who before the day game put Tyler O’Neill on the IL and brought back Dylan Carlson, who also was in Des Moines after making a rehab start on Friday night. Carlson left Des Moines at 4:30 a.m. to make the drive back to St. Louis in time to be in the lineup for the day game. O’Neill injured his hamstring while stealing a base on Friday night.

Looking ahead: Jordan Montgomery will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series and the homestand.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.