Cardinals 8, Diamondbacks 6
Once again, the Arizona Diamondbacks fell into an early hole. They clawed their way back in the game, never fully falling out of it. Once again, the Diamondbacks had the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth. But once again, they fell short. Ultimately, the St. Louis Cardinals eked out an 8–6 victory over the host Diamondbacks, extending Arizona’s losing streak to 12 games.
Madison Bumgarner had a rough first inning, walking the first two batters, second baseman Tommy Edman and center fielder Dylan Carlson. A stolen base on a botched pickoff attempt and a wild pitch moved Edman to third. Former Diamondback Paul Goldschmidt, who received a rousing ovation as usual, brought Edman home on a sacrifice fly to give the Cardinals a run before they even notched a hit. The score became 2–0 two batters later on a double to the left-field corner by catcher Yadier Molina. He scored when Tyler O’Neill followed with his second home run in as many nights.
The Diamondbacks got one run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a leadoff walk by Josh Rojas and RBI single by David Peralta. They got another in the bottom of the second after Nick Ahmed led off with a walk. When the speedy Tim Locastro followed with a grounder to third, Ahmed should have been out at second, but Edman dropped the throw from Nolan Arenado. A single by Rojas loaded the bases for Carson Kelly, whose sacrifice fly scored Ahmed.
Cardinals Add Runs as Diamondbacks Try to Narrow Gap
The Cardinals tacked one on in the third thanks to a solo home run by Arenado. The pitch he hit was well inside, almost hitting him in the kneecap, but he yanked it over the fence anyway. “That’s probably the best at-bat I can recall anybody ever having against me,” Bumgarner said after the game. “That one was pretty amazing.” Arenado appreciated the compliment, responding with, “It means a lot….I have a lot of respect for what Madison has done in this game.” He added, “I’m just happy it went out. I was lucky to get Madison there. He’s caused a lot of problems for me.” In the bottom of the inning, a pair of walks set up Josh Reddick to hit an RBI single and make the score 5–3. However, that was all they managed, as Nick Ahmed struck out before Locastro grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The top of the fourth began with a walk and an errant throw to second on a sacrifice bunt. This put runners on first and second with one out. A single by Edman and double by Carlson brought those runners home, extending the St. Louis lead to 7–3.
Yet Another Furious Rally Falls Short
The teams traded zeroes until the bottom of the eighth. In that frame, Ryan Helsley, who shut down the Diamondbacks the night before, surrendered a one-out double to Locastro and an infield single to pinch-hitter Ketel Marte. A walk by Rojas loaded the bases again for Kelly, who struck out. Eduardo Escobar followed with a single, scoring Locastro and Marte to make the score 7–5. In came Daniel Ponce de Leon to pitch to Peralta, who represented the go-ahead run. Peralta struck out, ending the rally attempt.
The Cardinals made it 8–5 in the top of the ninth after a two-base throwing error by Rojas on a grounder by Goldschmidt, who later stole third. (Rojas knocked down a liner and rushed his throw.) A sacrifice fly by Arenado brought him in as an unearned run. In the bottom of the inning, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases on a one-out double by Reddick, a single by Ahmed off Arenado’s glove, and a hit batsman — Locastro. Marte made the score 8–6 on an unassisted groundout to first. After a five-pitch at-bat, Rojas hit a slow bouncer to short. Edmundo Sosa charged and threw him out on a bang-bang play to hand the Diamondbacks (18–34) their 12th consecutive loss.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said that the key late in the game was a lack of focus. “The mental error in the top of the ninth inning (the Rojas throwing error) is not something we do here,” he said. Quite often, these types of mistakes during a long losing streak come from trying to do too much. “Those are some of the discussions that we’re having internally with some of our guys,” Lovullo explained. “The bottom line is to trust your instincts and trust who you are and what you’ve worked on…and land on that routine.” He added that they need to “shed that pressure of having to do something. They don’t have to do anything. We’ve just got to be good baseball players.”
It did not help that Bumgarner fell behind early, being “inconsistent with his fastball” and “fairly predictable with where he was going to be landing pitches” and “what pitch he was going to land it with. There were some good hitters taking advantage of that.” Bumgarner also “lost a little bit of his ability to command more than one pitch to both sides of the zone,” Lovullo said.
Bumgarner was blunt about his start, saying, “It wasn’t very good. I didn’t adjust to their gameplan fast enough, and when I did, I didn’t execute on what I needed to do.”
Jake Woodford (1–0) earned the win in relief, while Ponce de Leon notched his second save in as many nights. Bumgarner (4–5) took the loss. The teams square off again Saturday and Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix. Veteran Adam Wainwright (2–4, 3.95 ERA) will take the hill for the Cardinals (29–22), facing Seth Frankoff (0–1, 7.27 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 Arizona Time.
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Madison Bumgarner, Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson, Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, Josh Rojas, David Peralta, Nick Ahmed, Tim Locastro, Nolan Arenado, Carson Kelly, Josh Reddick, Ryan Helsley, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Edmundo Sosa, Torey Lovullo, Jake Woodford, Adam Wainwright, Seth Frankoff