Somehow the Cardinals managed to pull a 6-5 victory out of the fire Monday against the Diamondbacks.
I think I'll chalk it up to a miracle because the only thing worse than the Cardinals defensive execution was its offensive execution.
For the second day in a row the Birds had a chance to bust the game open early only to let the other team off the hook. With two on and no outs in the first, Arizona handed the Cardinals a free run with a wild pitch. Albert Pujols then doubled with a man on second to make it 2-0. But Matt Holliday then made an out with a foul pop up, Colby Rasmus struck out and Yadier Molina grounded out weakly.
Cardinals outfielder Randy Winn couldn't hang onto a fly ball at the warning track. Instead, it popped out of his glove over the wall for a two-run homer. AP photo.
Starter Chris Carpenter, who was hit hard on his pitching forearm by a line drive off the bat of the Diamondback's leadoff batter, held Arizona scoreless for 5 2/3 innings before he made a bad pitch and allowed a tying two-run homer. In the seventh, he gave up a solo homer to D-Back starter Danny Haren. Carpenter exited and Trever Miller got two outs before giving way to Jason Motte with a man on base. Motte got a long fly ball to the middle of the warning track in right that seemed like it would end the inning... right up to the point that it hit smack dab in the palm of Randy Winn's glove and popped out over the wall for a fielder assisted homer.
It all looked like it was all over but the crying at 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth. But Winn singled to lead off the inning and went to third on a Skip Schumaker safety. Felipe Lopez sacrificed Winn home to make it 5-3. Albert Pujols came to the plate with a chance to tie the game with one swing of the bat... and he struck out looking. No worries. The 120-million slugger, Matt Holiday came up with a chance to pick up Pujols. And he struck out. Rasmus' fly out ended the inning without further damage.
In the ninth Molina and Brendan Ryan singled to give the Birds two on and no out. And that's when the miracles started to happen. Pitcher Adam Wainwright was summoned to bunt and did a terrible job. He hit the ball just to the right of Aaron Heilman (who is apprently Arizona's only reliever the manager trusts) who fielded the ball in plenty of time to go to third to get the lead runner... But he threw it past the third baseman and made it 5-4 with the tying run at third and the go ahead run at second. Winn came up with the infield in and hit the ball right to the shortstop for the first out. Schumaker then came up and couldn't manage hitting a sacrifice fly. Instead he grounded to the second baseman who came home to try to get Brendan Ryan. The throw was short and skipped past the catcher, allowing the tying run to score and Wainwright to round third and come home with the winning run...
Cardinals Star of the Game: Felipe Lopez was 2-for-5 with a sacrifice fly.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Adam Wainwright hustled all the way on Schumaker's ninth inning grounder and, when the ball got past the catcher, he didn't hesitate to come around to score the winning run.
Lowlight: Winn's homer helper in the seventh.