Baseball can emulate a chess game at certain times. Managers alter their line-up, change their pitcher, according to the situation at hand while trying to think ahead. In tonight's game, in which the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2, Mike Matheny got the better of Dave Roberts.
Roberts pulled Louis Coleman, who came off the mound injured, for J.P. Howell with one out in the seventh inning. Jeremy Hazelbaker managed to slap the third pitch thrown by Howell back up the middle. Howell reached out to try and snare the ball but it deflected off his glove, allowing Hazelbaker to reach first. Hazelbaker moved up 90 feet when Kolton Wong grounded out. Joe Blanton relieved Howell and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Brandon Moss.
This forced Yadier Molina to pinch hit for the Cardinals’ starter, Mike Leake. Molina then delivered a big blow, hitting a soft line drive to left that scored both Hazelbaker and Moss. Check. Blanton then gave a free pass to Matt Carpenter to bring up Stephen Piscotty. Piscotty delivered the knockout blow by singling home Molina to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 4-1. Checkmate.
Wood struggles with the long ball again
Alex Wood has been one of the pitchers struggling the most in the Dodgers’ rotation. In the eight games Wood has started, the Dodgers have lost five of them.
With two outs remaining in the top of the third, the St. Louis Cardinals took a 1-0 lead. Wood had been dealing early in the game, giving up only one until Matt Carpenter dug in at the plate. Wood left a 92-mph fastball up in the zone. Carpenter connected with the pitch, lifting it over the right centerfield fence.
That lead for the Cardinals lasted but a half of an inning. Mike Leake threw two pitches, both sinkers, for balls to Corey Seager. The third sinker caught a majority of the plate as Seager hit an opposite field home run.
Matt Holliday was under a ball near the fence of the dugout. The Cardinals' catcher, Eric Fryer, ran over to try and catch it and almost collided. Yasiel Puig was feet away from breaking the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth. He took an inside slider and hit to the warning track in right center. Holliday got involved in the third out of the inning as well. Joc Pederson hit a hard shot straight at the first baseman. Holliday, though, was quick to react as he knocked the ball down, picked it up and touched first for the final out.
Seager has been tormenting the Cardinals this series, hitting two home runs in the last two games. In the bottom of the eighth, Seager blasted his second home run of the night. He extended his arms as the ball rocketed over the right center field fence, his second of the night. This cut the deficit to three, but it was not enough.
For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Freeway Series begins on Monday night as they take on the Los Angeles Angels. The first two games are at Dodger Stadium while the final two will take place at Angel Stadium.
St. Louis will begin a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday at home.