Cards fall short in 9th, NL Central lead cut, Dbacks win 9-7
PHOENIX (AP) — A lineup of almost all reserves wasn’t enough for the St. Louis Cardinals against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pinch-hitter Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a game-ending double play with two runners on base and the NL Central-leading Cardinals fell short during a ninth-inning rally, losing to the Diamondbacks 9-7 Wednesday.
The Cardinals, who went with a lineup of reserves to give their typical starters some rest after a 19-inning game, had their division lead cut to 1 ½ games by Milwaukee, which beat Cincinnati 9-2.
“Nothing about this game that didn’t indicate that we were all in,” manager Mike Shildt said. “We scored seven runs. We had the go-ahead run with Goldschmidt up at the plate. if you want more than that, I’d like to see you conjure it up.”
St. Louis and Arizona were back on the field about 11 hours after the Diamondbacks’ 3-2 marathon win, a game that took nearly seven hours Tuesday. Cardinals starter Michael Wacha was pulled in the second inning with tightness in his right shoulder.
Shildt said more would be known Thursday, but that it appears to be a mild strain. The injury forced the already-taxed Cardinals to go to their bullpen much earlier than desired.
“You’re down four in the ninth. Teams with heart would pack that in,” Shildt said. “Teams with unbelievably high character and competitiveness and desire fight like crazy, and that’s what we did.”
Errors by rookie infielder Tommy Edman and catcher Matt Wieters helped Arizona score seven times in the sixth for a 9-5 lead. Wilmer Flores homered during the burst, which also included a run-scoring wild pitch.
The Cardinals loaded the bases with one out in the ninth and Wieters hit a two-run single. Goldschmidt was up next — he had homered in the first two games of the series, marking his return to the desert after the Diamondbacks traded their longtime star to St. Louis in the offseason.
Facing former teammate Archie Bradley, Goldschmidt hit a grounder and Arizona turned two to end it. Bradley got his 17th save.
“We were ready to go. They played a little bit better than us, made one more pitch, one more hit. It’s no big deal, we’re used to it,” Goldschmidt said.
Merrill Kelly (13-14) exited trailing 5-2 after six innings and wound up with the win.
Reliever Junior Fernandez (0-1) took the loss.
Cardinals rookie outfielder Randy Arozarena hit his first major league home run, stole home and threw out a runner at third base. Martinez added a triple, double and two RBIs.
Flores hit a two-run double in the first, and Wacha left with two outs in the second. Wacha has pitched well recently, but is 0-3 in 10 starts since rejoining the rotation in early August.
Only a combined three players from both teams who played the entirety of Tuesday’s night’s game were in the starting lineup Wednesday, and all played the whole way.
“It was a solid win on a day we were gassed,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “There was sloppy moments, and I expected that. We managed through those times.”
St. Louis took the lead in the fourth on the Cardinals’ first steal of home plate since September 2012. Arozarena beat the tag at home plate after a dropped pickoff throw to first base. The Diamondbacks lost their challenge of the safe call on the play.
Arozarena’s home run to left field in the top of the sixth gave the Cardinals a 5-2 lead.
“I feel 50-50 happy,” Arozarena said in Spanish. “I’m happy with what I did but would have liked our team to win. Everything is positive for us. Last night was so long, but that’s baseball in the big leagues. You’ve got to put it behind you.”
Watching Yadier Molina still looking spry and energetic in the 19th inning of Tuesday night’s game, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt only further came away impressed with his star catcher, who played the entire game on Tuesday before getting Wednesday off.
“Been around professional baseball for 43 years or close to it,” Shildt said before Wednesday’s game. “I can confidently say, no slight to anyone — smartest, toughest, biggest heart of anyone I’ve seen in this game in all of those individual categories.”
Cardinals: 2B Kolten Wong (hamstring) is set to hit on the field at Busch Stadium on Thursday, an off day. “We’ll know more after (Thursday), but he’s getting close,” Shildt said.
Diamondbacks: OF Abraham Almonte pulled up trying to reach down for what ended up being Martinez’s triple in the fifth, and left the game. His injury was announced as a strained left hamstring. ... RHP Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery in 2018, shoulder injury) is scheduled for a bullpen session on Thursday. Walker hasn’t pitched all season but could make a start before it ends. ... Manager Torey Lovullo said the team has decided to shut down pitchers Zac Gallen, who threw 80 innings for Miami and Arizona since June, and Luke Weaver, who after being out since late May with forearm tightness recently came back for a major league appearance.
Cardinals: After a day off for the team, RHP Dakota Hudson (16-7, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to start at home Friday in the series opener with the Chicago Cubs.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taylor Clarke (5-5, 5.40 ERA) is set for his first career start against the San Diego Padres on Friday after Arizona has the day off.