Wednesday’s Game Report: Giants 8, Cardinals 5 (10 innings)
By Rob Rains
When Brandon Crawford flew out to left for the second out in the ninth inning on Wednesday, the Cardinals’ win probability was measured by ESPN analytics at 97.4 percent.
The computer that spit out that number hasn’t spent enough time analyzing the Cardinals this season.
On a two-strike pitch, Mike Yastrzemski turned around a 95 miles per hour fastball from Giovanny Gallegos, sending it into the seats in right field for a game-tying, two-run homer.
That blast was followed by the Giants scoring three runs off Steven Matz in the 10th inning to complete their comeback and their first series sweep of the Cardinals at Busch Stadium since 1998.
The loss was the fifth in a row for the Cardinals, left them 2-10 in June and a season-low 15 games under .500 at 27-42, the worst record in the National League.
It also left manager Oli Marmol and his players at a loss to try to explain what just happened – again.
“You’ve got a lead, end it,” Marmol said of the game. “At some point you just have to do something about it. If you keep getting punched in the face punch back.
“At some point you can’t get used to losing. You’ve got to do something about it.”
The ninth inning began with Cardinals up 5-3, the big blow a second-inning grand slam by Tommy Edman. It also began with Gallegos walking the leadoff hitter on an eight=pitch at-bat.
A strikeout and Crawford’s fly then brough Yastrzemski to the plate and a would-be win turned into another loss.
“Whether it’s a different pitch, whether it’s execution we will never know because all we know is what happened,” said catcher Andrew Knizner. “That’s how the game goes. It comes down to you have to get every single out of the whole game. They were able to capitalize down to their last strike.
“Every loss is painful … it doesn’t matter if you get beat by 15 or lose on the last pitch of the game. I wish we could have got that one.”
Here is how Wednesday’s game broke down:
At the plate: Edman’s grand slam gave the Cardinals their most runs in an inning in a 97 inning span dating back to a five-run third inning on June 2 at Pittsburgh … They increased the lead to 5-2 on an RBI single by Jordan Walker in the third … But as has been the case all too often this season, the offense didn’t do much the rest of the game, collecting a total of two hits and a walk from the fourth through the 10th innings, a fourth-inning two-out single by Paul Goldschmidt and a single in the eighth by Walker, who was moved up to fifth in the batting order.
On the mound: After allowing two runs to the Giants first five batters of the game, all of whom reached base, Jordan Montgomery retired the next 16 hitters in order before issuing a two-out walk in the sixth. He was allowed to start the seventh but left after giving up a double and an RBI single to Yastrzemski … Jordan Hicks retired all five hitters he faced, three on strikeouts, before Gallegos relieved to start the ninth … In the 10th, Matz allowed three singles that produced the three runs, dropping him to 0-7 on the season.
Key stat: Gallegos has allowed five home runs in save situations this season, three in the ninth inning. His ERA in the ninth inning this year is 4.85 and his ERA in save situations, which also includes the eighth inning, is 5.94.
Worth noting: This was the second loss to the Giants when the Cardinals were a strike away from a win. Blake Sabol hit a game-winning home run off Ryan Helsley on April 25 in San Francisco … Edman’s grand slam was the first by a Cardinal hitting ninth since pitcher Jake Westbrook in 2011 and the firsr by a position player hitting ninth since Shawon Dunston on July 13, 2000 against the White Sox … The last time the Cardinals were 15 or more games under .500 was when they finished the 1997 season 16 games below .500 … With the Luke Combs concert at Busch Stadium this weekend, Lars Nootbaar is joining Memphis in Jacksonville, Fla., to continue his rehab work and hopefully will get into games as soon as this weekend … Reliever Packy Naughton is considering treatment options after getting a second opinion on his strained forearm.
Looking ahead: After Thursday’s day off, the Cardinals begin an eight-game trip that will see them play three games against the Mets in New York, three against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. and then the two games against the Cubs in London before returning home.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains