Wednesday’s Game Report: Marlins 10, Cardinals 9
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals have seemingly lost games in almost every imaginable way this season, but the way they lost on Wednesday night was almost cruel and inhumane.
One strike away from a loss in the top of the ninth, Jordan Walker launched a two-run homer that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game.
But instead of celebrating moments later, the Cardinals were walking off the field in Miami in silence with a loss that seemed even worse than the 15-2 drubbing they received on Tuesday.
A walk and single off Jordan Hicks put two runners on base with one out. A tap back to the mound should have been the second out, but instead Hicks launched the ball over the head of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Both runners came around to score on the error, giving the Marlins the win and stunning the Cardinals. It was the first error Hicks had committed in his major-league career.
It was a game that began with the Cardinals down 5-0 after two innings before they rallied to tie the game twice, first at 5-5 and then at 6-6, before the Marlins took an 8-6 lead in the sixth.
It was the third loss in a row to the Marlins, the 18th blown save of the year for the Cardinals, another one-run loss and left them 35-51 on the season, matching their low-water mark of 16 games under .500.
Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: A two-run homer from Nolan Gorman, his 17th of the season, capped a five-run third inning that tied the game for the Cardinals … Down 6-5 in the fourth, the Cardinals tied it again on a two-out double from Lars Nootbaar following a leadoff walk … Trailing 8-6 in the seventh, Nolan Arenado led off with his third double of the game and scored on a single by Willson Contreras to pull within 8-7 … In the ninth, Contreras reached on an infield single with one out and on a two-out, 3-2 pitch, Walker hit a towering home run to put the Cardinals in front … Arenado, Contreras and Brendan Donovan all had three hits for the Cardinals.
On the mound: Matthew Liberatore got the start on short rest but could not get out of the first inning, giving up four runs and retiring only one of the seven hitters he faced, and that was on a fly ball to the warning track … The Marlins added two runs off Dakota Hudson, including a home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the third after the Cardinals five-run rally in the top of the inning … Steven Matz was charged with the two runs in the sixth that put the Marlins back in front … In the ninth, Hicks walked the leadoff batter on four pitches, then after a strikeout, gave up a single that put runners on first and second. His throwing error on a comebacker then allowed the tying and winning runs to score.
Key stat: The Cardinals’ first inning troubles continued. In the 19 games since June 13, they have allowed a total of 30 runs in the first inning. Surprisingly they have won eight of those 19 games. For the season they have allowed 68 runs in the first inning, the most in the majors.
Worth noting: As expected the Cardinals made a series of roster moves before the game. Adam Wainwright and Andrew Knizner went on the injured list, with shoulder and groin injuries respectfully, and James Naile was optioned to Memphis … Hudson, Zack Thompson and Ivan Herrera were recalled from Memphis … Tommy Edman was a late scratch from the lineup after complaining of discomfort in his right wrist, but he did enter the game in the ninth inning.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Thursday night as the Cardinals try to avoid being swept in the four-game series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains