Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Brewers 0
By Rob Rains
The word that has been used to describe Matthew Liberatore ever since he broke into professional baseball is “potential.” His performance Wednesday night showed that he might be ready to start acting on it.
Recalled from Memphis as the Cardinals temporarily shift to a six-man rotation, Liberatore pitched into the sixth inning, holding the Brewers scoreless on three hits to get the victory at Busch Stadium.
Liberatore, still just 23, struck out six and walked three as he protected a 1-0 lead from the second inning into the sixth displaying the same increase in velocity that he had demonstrated in spring training and in his eight starts with Memphis.
Liberatore started seven games for the Cardinals last year, going 2-2.
Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals scratched out a run in the first inning off Corbin Burnes when Paul Goldschmidt walked, Nolan Gorman singled and Nolan Arenado reached on an infield single that scored Goldschmidt. It was the 1,000th RBI of Arenado’s career. It was his only hit of the night as his home run streak ended at five games … The RBI did extend Arenado’s streak driving in at least one run to seven consecutive games, one game shy of the longest streak of his career, set when he was with the Rockies in 2015 … Paul DeJong, after striking out with the bases loaded in the fourth, got redemption two innings later when he hit a two-run homer to center field, his fifth of the season. The two-out homer followed a single by Brendan Donovan, the only two hits for the Cardinals after the fourth inning when they loaded the bases with nobody out but failed to score.
On the mound: The only hits off Liberatore was a two-out single in the second, a one-out double in the third and a two-out double by Tyrone Taylor in the fourth which was originally called a home run but was changed to a double after a video review showed the ball hit the top of the wall in left center but then bounced back into play. Liberatore left the game after walking the leadoff hitter in the sixth … Andre Pallante allowed a walk and single but got out of the inning and Giovanny Gallegos did the same in the seventh … The Brewers once again got the tying run to the plate in the ninth off Ryan Helsley before a popout ended the game.
Key stat: DeJong’s home run came after he had just two hits in his previous 21 at-bats, striking out 10 times. One of those hits had been a home run, on Sunday at Boston.
Worth noting: The Cardinals made a series of roster moves before the game, putting Dylan Carlson on the 10-day injured ist because of his sprained ankle. The contract of Oscar Mercado was purchased from Memphis and reliever Packy Naughton was moved to the 60-day injured list to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Reliever James Naile was optioned to Memphis to make room for Liberatore … Mercado was drafted by the Cardinals, then traded to Cleveland before he re-signed this winter as a minor-league free agent. He came into the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning but did not bat … Wednesday night’s game was the last one against the Brewers until Sept. 18, the next-to-last week of the regular season.
Looking ahead: The Dodgers come to town on Thursday night to begin a four-game series. Adam Wainwright will get the start in the opener.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter@RobRains