Bernie's Redbird Review: In Their Worst Loss Of The Year, The Cardinals Hand A Gift-Bag Win To The Cubs. - Scoopswithdannymac.com

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Scoops with Danny Mac 21 July, 2021 - 02:41pm 6 views

When is the MLB trade deadline?

The 2021 Trade Deadline is coming up on July 30. As it approaches, MLB.com gathered its beat reporters to explain what every team is going to be doing over the next two weeks. Here's a breakdown of all 30 teams' Trade Deadline strategies -- whether they're buyers, sellers, both or still undecided. MLB.comHere's who will buy, sell at Trade Deadline

A 47-48 team that has resided below the .500 level on 22 of the previous 23 days. A team that cannot afford to donate wins to opponents.

FIRST BATTER, THE CUBS RECEIVE A GIFT: Patrick Wisdom strikes out. The pitch eludes catcher Yadier Molina, who takes a stab at the ball with his mitt — and whiffs. Wisdom runs to first, reaches without a throw. And here we go. Molina is playing with a painful foot that’s been bothering him for many weeks. And he just doesn’t move much behind the plate, especially when side-to-side movement is necessary to block pitches. 

SECOND BATTER, SOMETHING’S BREWING: Nico Hoerner reaches on an infield single. Shortstop Paul DeJong can’t gather the baseball in a sure, quick way. He then sails a throw (E-6) that allows Wisdom to scoot to third base. The Cardinals should have had one out (the Wisdom strikeout) and could have had two outs. But they recorded no outs, and the Cubs have two runners on. 

THIRD BATTER, UH-OH. Jake Marisnick walks, bases loaded, and the Win Probability is up to 7%. But the Cardinals are still leading 6-1, and Shildt brings Reyes into the game to replace Garcia. Shildt conveys his obvious alarm by summoning Reyes, who gets to work on what was supposed to be a rest day for him. 

FOURTH BATTER, YA GOTTA BE KIDDING: Yes. Reyes walks Sergio Alcantara to give the Cubs a free run, making it 6-2. Is anybody surprised by these walks? This season the Cardinals’ bullpen has the second-highest walk rate by a MLB ‘pen since the NL expanded in 1962. And Reyes has the highest (as in worst) walk rate by a qualifying MLB reliever this season — 19.4 percent. Anyway, the bases remain loaded. With the walk, the Cubs’ Win Probability jumps from 7% to 14%. 

FIFTH BATTER. EXHALE. A MOMENT OF CALM: Reyes strikes out Willson Contreras. One out. Bases still loaded. With the strikeout, the Cubs’ Win Probability drops to 8%. 

SIXTH BATTER, RED ALERT: Reyes walks Anthony Rizzo. Of course he did. And Rizzo was happy to just watch the wayward pitches go by. Another run scores. It’s 6-3. Bases are still loaded. The Cubs’ Win Probability rises to 16%.

* BERNIE CALLS TIMEOUT HERE: At this point … why not have Giovanny Gallegos ready to go? Shildt later said he had planned to rest Gallegos in this game. But Shildt wasted little time in hustling Reyes into the game. And Shildt had wanted to keep Reyes seated in the bullpen. But Reyes was laboring. Not throwing strikes. Not sharp. 

2–Must stay with the closer, even if he should take a night off and you have a solid alternative. 

SEVENTH BATTER. CALL 9-1-1!!!  A ground-ball single up the middle by Javy Baez brings in two runs, and the St. Louis lead is down to 6-5. The Cubbie Win Probability leaps from 16% to 27%. Reyes remains in the game. The Cubs have runners at first (Baez) and second (Rizzo.) 

EIGHTH BATTER: A BURNING RING OF FIRE. Ian Happ strokes a double down the right-field line, and into the corner. Rizzo scores. Baez scores. Cubs lead 7-6. The Happ double lifts his team’s Win Probability from 27% to 86%. 

1) In the first three months of the season, Reyes, Gallegos and Cabrera combined to make 106 appearances, pitch 117 innings, face 469 batters and had a collective ERA of 1.84 — with a 12% walk rate and 30% strikeout rate. 

2) So far in July, Reyes, Gallegos and Cabrera have combined for 21 appearances, 19.1 innings and have faced 93 batters. Collectively they have an 8.37 ERA this month, with a 18.2% walk rate and 26.8% strikeout rate. (Note: Gallegos has a very healthy strikeout rate this month, 40%.) 

3) In the first three months Reyes, Gallegos and Cabrera allowed only 24 earned runs combined. This month the three already have been rocked for 18 earned runs, with nine more games to play until July ends. But go ahead, Shildty. Let Reyes throw 30 pitches in an inning. Unreal. 

5) A cause for concern, or just a phase? Reyes had a 32% strikeout rate during the first three months. In July, his strikeout rate is only 15.6%. And his walk rate this month is 21.8%. 

6) Shildt could have stayed longer with starting pitcher Johan Oviedo, who was terrific in his five innings (plus one batter in the sixth.) But in his postgame video conference, Shildt mentioned something about Oviedo having an issue with a finger. That often means a blister but Shildt was mad about the question directed at him, and he never elaborated on the finger reference. 

7) Shildt could have turned to John Gant, who has generally pitched well in relief (1.93 ERA in eight appearances.) But Gant still has the walking problem — with a walk rate of 12.8% as a reliever. And Gant did pitch 2.1 innings to finish off a Monday’s 8-3 win over Chicago. That said, was Gant off limits? He did throw 36 pitches in Monday’s contest. But that was also his first appearance in a game since July 10. 

8) Another consideration: use Justin Miller for two innings on Tuesday. He’d breezed through the eighth inning, retiring the side in order on only 13 pitches. Miller has looked pretty good for the Cardinals. He hasn’t allowed a run in five of his six appearances for St. Louis. In his five scoreless relief stints Miller has worked four combined innings allowing only one hit and a walk with three strikeouts. The Cardinals could have tried to get a second inning out of Miller on Tuesday but the trust factor isn’t there (yet) for Shildt. 

9) I don’t blame Shildt if he’s feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or a little of both. The Cardinals have needed legitimate bullpen help since the early part of the season. Pardon my latest attempt at using a metaphor, but the front-office idea of help is the baseball equivalent of a salvage crew in a pickup truck, roaming through city alleys and back streets, looking for soiled couches, and worn-out chairs and burned-out lamps that were discarded by others. And, of course, rummaging through a few dumpsters for a find. And when the delivery van drops off another used reliever or two, Shildt is left to figure out what he has and what he can do with it. The trust will develop slowly, if it develops at all. 

10) But Shildt’s dependency on Reyes-Gallegos-Cabrera is evident in these basic stats:

11) Has the St. Louis bullpen been overworked as a group? That’s a popular belief but it really isn’t true. Most NL teams are short on innings by starters and have to ride the bullpen more frequently. The Cards bullpen has pitched 340 innings this season; seven other NL pens have more IP. And so far in July, only three NL bullpens have thrown fewer innings than the Cardinals. Sure, more innings from St. Louis starters would be swell. But the innings shortage (if you want to call it that) by Cards starters isn’t severe, or unusual. Not in 2021. Coping with tired bullpen arms is a common challenge for most if not all teams. 

12) However: Reyes, Gallegos and Cabrera have combined to pitch 39.2 percent of all innings provided by the St. Louis bullpen. If you include Ryan Helsley, that percentage of total innings rises to 49.7%. 

13) In the Cards’ 47 wins this season Reyes, Gallegos and Cabrera have combined to pitch 62% of the total innings by relievers. If you include Helsley, the four relievers have combined to provide 74% of the total bullpen innings when St. Louis wins. That’s a lot. 

For the last 35 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.

Read full article at Scoops with Danny Mac

Cubs vs. Cardinals - Game Recap - July 20, 2021 - ESPN

ESPN 22 July, 2021 - 04:10am

ST. LOUIS -- — Ian Happ said he was being “selectively aggressive" with the game on the line.

The Chicago outfielder triggered a six-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-6 in a matchup of NL Central rivals.

Chicago snapped a two-game losing streak by rallying against St. Louis closer Alex Reyes, who converted his first 22 saves opportunities this season.

Javier Baez added a two-run hit in the middle of the rally.

Chicago sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth and capitalized on three walks, an error and a missed third strike.

Baez trimmed the deficit to 6-5 with a two-run single off Reyes, Happ followed with a two-run double to put his team up 7-6.

“I'm just trying to have fun, play this game and enjoy it,” Happ said. “For me personally, that was a really enjoyable moment. It was just fun to be able to come through in that situation."

Chicago manager David Ross was pleased with the resiliency his team showed down the stretch.

“They don't stop competing, there's no give up," Ross said. "When things haven't been going their way, it would be easy to kind of cash in, especially in a game like that. The fact that the guys hustled, and got down the line, pressured the defense, there were a lot of little things that make you happy.”

Nolan Arenado, Jose Rondon and Tommy Edman homered for St. Louis, which had won three in a row.

Craig Kimbrel picked up his 22nd save in 24 opportunities. He set the side down in order in the ninth and fanned Paul Goldschmidt to end the game.

Dillon Maples (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless inning.

Reyes (5-4) gave up three runs on two hits.

The Cubs entered the ninth inning with just three hits. Patrick Wisdom reached safely on a wild-pitch third strike to kick-start the comeback. Sergio Alcantara and Anthony Rizzo drew bases-loaded walks to trim the deficit to 6-3 and set the stage for Happ's heroics.

“I've grinded a lot this year,” Happ said. “And haven't really had a lot of moments like that.”

St. Louis starter Johan Oviedo was looking for his first win in 17 career starts. He allowed one run on three hits over five-plus innings. The Cuban-born right-hander struck out five and walked one. He was removed after giving up a leadoff single to Baez to begin the sixth

“He earned (a win),” St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said. "He was really good. "

Arenado put St. Louis in front 2-1 with his team-leading 18th homer of the season in the fourth off Trevor Williams, who surrendered four runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out three and walked one in his first start since May 26 after battling appendicitis issues.

St. Louis scored three times in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Harrison Bader doubled in Yadier Molina and Oviedo followed with a run-scoring single up the middle.

Edman and Rondon homered in sixth off reliever Rex Brothers.

Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single in the seventh. It is the longest streak by a St. Louis player since Molina hit safely in 16 games from April 9-29, 2019.

Chicago outfielder Kris Bryant was removed in the fifth inning with a right hamstring issue. He made a diving catch of a liner by Paul DeJong in the third.

The injury is not believed to be serious.

“He feels great, he feels fine,” Ross said.

University of Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz threw out the first pitch before the contest. His toss from the mound was high and inside. In his first season, Drinkwitz guided the Tigers to a 5-5 record last fall, including a win over then-defending national champion LSU.

Cubs: INF Nico Hoerner was back in the lineup on Tuesday after a day of rest due to a hamstring issue.

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas threw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and will likely go out on a rehab assignment this weekend. Mikolas has been out since May 23 with right forearm tightness.

Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (12-4, 3.65 ERA) will face RHP Adam Wainwright (7-6, 3.71) in the third game of the four-game set on Wednesday. Hendricks has won his last 10 decisions and has gone at least six innings in each of his last 12 starts. Wainwright has recorded 17 career wins against the Cubs, the most of any active pitcher.

New York Yankees (50-44, fourth in the AL East) vs. Boston Red Sox (58-38, first in the AL East)

Los Angeles Angels (46-48, fourth in the AL West) vs. Minnesota Twins (41-55, fourth in the AL Central)

Tampa Bay Rays (57-39, second in the AL East) vs. Cleveland Indians (48-45, second in the AL Central)

Atlanta Braves (46-48, third in the NL East) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (47-47, second in the NL East)

Texas Rangers (35-61, fifth in the AL West) vs. Detroit Tigers (46-51, third in the AL Central)

San Francisco Giants (60-35, first in the NL West) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (59-38, second in the NL West)

Cardinals win in 10th on Molina RBI after another ninth-inning stumble against Cubs

STLtoday.com 22 July, 2021 - 04:10am

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, center, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single during the tenth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals won 3-2 over the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

After their ghastly ninth-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, the Cardinals needed a proven stopper, even if the losing streak was just one game. On their team, who better than soon-to-be-40-year-old Adam Wainwright, who was 85-45 in his career after a Cardinals loss, ghastly or otherwise?

Wainwright gave the Cardinals just what they wanted—seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday night at Busch Stadium mas he became their third consecutive starter not to issue an unintentional walk in the first three games of this series.

The Cardinals’ defense, notably center fielder Harrison Bader, third baseman Nolan Arenado and reserve shortstop Edmundo Sosa,  saved perhaps five runs, according to manager Mike Shildt, who watched the final half of the game from the batting cage between the dugout and the clubhouse, having been ejected by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson. And, in the 292nd start that Yadier Molina has made with Adam Wainwright, Molina, the only regular without a hit until then, delivered a one-out, run-scoring single off Chicago Cubs All-Star reliever Craig Kimbrel in the 10th inning to reward the Cardinals with a 3-2 victory and once again shove them to the .500 mark.

Shildt was already halfway to the clubhouse anyway. But he said he knew that with Molina hitting, his team soon would be joining him.

“I think the game’s over,” said Shildt. "It’s time to go. Yadi’s up. This is it.”

"It" took 4 hours 9 minutes to complete. 

Wainwright said, “Last night was a tough loss. And you’re sitting there, saying, ‘We cannot lose this game. We just can’t.’ I know there are a lot of games left but to lose two games in a row when you had them right on the ropes would have been really painful. The clubhouse is rocking right now.”

Regarding Molina’s winning hit, Wainwright said, “He swung at those first two high heaters, and I’m saying, ‘Yadi, don’t swing at that.’ Then he hit the next high heater down the line.”

A bullpen without Alex Reyes, who was held out after throwing 30 pitches in the loss the night before, allowed the Cubs to tie the game in the ninth. Then, after lefthander T.J. McFarland had pitched out a jam in the top of the 10th with the help of a dazzling double play started by Sosa, Molina bounced his hit over the right-field wall out of the reach of infielder-turned-right fielder Patrick Wisdom. Cubs manager David Ross had moved Wisdom to right from third and had backup catcher Robinson Chirinos playing second as he was out of healthy players.

The game-winner was ruled a single to score Paul Goldschmidt, who had started the inning at second base, according to baseball's extra-inning rules.

Bader, throwing out his fifth multi-hit game in his past seven, doubled for his third hit of the night to score Paul DeJong with the tying run in the seventh and, moments later, came home with the go-ahead run on Dylan Carlson’s double off Cardinals nemesis Kyle Hendricks, who is 12-3 against the Cardinals and 3-0 this season. Shildt had been ejected for protesting a strike three call on Carlson in the latter’s previous at-bat.

Genesis Cabrera moved to the eighth inning and Giovanny Gallegos recorded the final out of the eighth but hit his second batter in two innings  in the ninth and the Cubs tied the score on pinch Eric Sogard’s pinch hit double.

Expanding the Cardinals' major league lead, reliever John Gant hit two more batters in the inning before second baseman Tommy Edman threw out Rizzo from short right field.

With the Cubs starting the 10th with Rizzo on second, Gant allowed a single to Javy Baez, with Rizzo stopping at third. McFarland relieved to throw the  double-play ball on which there were five throws and a rundown with first baseman Goldschmidt taking the final throw on the third-base line and tagging out Rizzo after Sosa had joined the rundown. 

It started with Sosa gloving Ian Happ’s grounder and stepping on the bag for the forceout at second. Wainwright was impressed with a deke that Sosa had made, as if he then was going to throw to first.

Rizzo belatedly had taken off for home and Sosa turned and fired there. 

“It looked like he was just conceding a run to go take the double play,” Wainwright said. “And then he snapped his head around real quick to get the runner in a rundown.”

Shildt said the club actually practices a play like that in spring training but it is trickier with nobody out. 

“Anticipation is very important,” Shildt said. “I’m not going to say it’s a lost art, but it’s fading from our game. You’re talking about a high IQ guy.”

Sosa, through a translator, said, “Even before the call went to the bullpen, I was running through scenarios in my head. What can I do if the ball is hit to me?

“Once I grabbed the ball, I kind of glanced at Rizzo and saw that he wasn’t breaking immediately. Then, I went to second base and took the (play) myself. I peeked again and he was a little bit further down the line. It was a point of no return at that point. I had to go home so we could get Rizzo.”

Bader jumped to the top of the left-center-field wall to take away a potential home run from Willson Contreras in the Cubs’ first.

“He’s got tremendous talent. We always knew that,” said Wainwright.

“He’s always been an incredible outfielder but we’ve seen his offense turn the corner. He’s not just hitting fastballs anymore. He’s hitting off-speed pitches.

“He’s covering the whole plate a lot better than he used to. He used to swing at those pitches in the dirt.

“When he’s in the outfield, he’s a total game-changer. He’s one of the best, if not the best, center fielders in all of baseball.

"It’s cool to see him. . . become this total player." 

To Wainwright’s assessment that Bader is the complete player now, Bader, nine for his past 14, said, “That’s a nice comment. I feel great.

“But I don’t think of it that way. I’m just focused more on the task at hand right now, which is winning as many games as possible.”

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third when former Cardinals farmhand Rafael Ortega tripled with one out to score Nico Hoerner, who had singled.

In the sixth, Contreras opened with a double and went to third on Rizzo’s groundout to Goldschmidt. 

Baez slashed a grounder inside the line at third but Arenado backhanded the low-hopper and made a strong, off-balance throw home where catcher  Molina tagged out a sliding Contreras.

Jason Heyward, a .357 career hitter against Wainwright, doubled for the second time, going to the opposite field in left, with one out in the seventh. Arenado came to the fore again, though, diving to stop Hoerner’s grounder to his left and, from one knee, throwing to first for the out.

Shildt, who had taken the Tuesday loss hard as did his team said, “I got asked a lot last night, a lot today, how is your team going to respond? I answered that they would answer in a tough fashion.

“Toughness, heart, perseverance. . . you can capitalizes all of those--for  whatever you want to write or broadcast," Shildt said. 

A Chicago Cubs player walks off the field as St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single during the tenth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals won 3-2 over the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader (48) celebrates after hitting a RBI double to tie the game during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Bader would later score on an RBI hit from left fielder Dylan Carlson, not pictured. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader (48) makes a leaping catch at the wall for an out during the first inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (8) argues with umpire Jeff Nelson (45) over a call in the previous inning as umpire Manny Gonzalez (79) blocks him during the sixth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Shildt was ejected from the game. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, center, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single during the tenth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals won 3-2 over the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, left, says a prayer as he walks off the field with teammates after hitting a walkoff single during the tenth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals won 3-2 over the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader (48) takes a minute after being tagged out on second during the third inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Giovanny Gallegos (65) walks back to the mound after hitting a batter during the ninth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

The moon rises behind the stadium lights during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tyler O'Neill (27) is tagged out by Chicago Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner (2) to end the inning as he tries to steal second during the eighth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader (48) hits a RBI double to tie the game during the seventh inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Bader would later score on an RBI hit from left fielder Dylan Carlson, not pictured. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Tommy Edman (19) slides in safe to third on a hit by center fielder Harrison Bader, not pictured, during the fifth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Edman was left stranded on third. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt (8) receives a standing ovation for arguing with the home plate umpire during the sixth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) tags Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras (40) out at home during the sixth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Genesis Cabrera (92) watches his pitch from his follow through during the eighth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader (48) is tagged out by Chicago Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner (2) while trying to get a double during the third inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) is checked on at home after getting hit in the head by the ball during the third inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) watches the ball after hitting a double during the first inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) unwinds during the first inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Chicago Cubs left fielder Rafael Ortega (66) signs autographs for fans before the start of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals are hoping to redeem themselves after giving up a five run lead in their last game, Tuesday night, against the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

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St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, center, is mobbed by teammates after hitting a walkoff single during the tenth inning of a MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The Cardinals won 3-2 over the Cubs. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

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Molina lifts Cards to 3-2 win over Cubs in 10 innings

San Francisco Chronicle 22 July, 2021 - 12:58am

Molina doubled home the winning run against All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel to give St. Louis a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.

“I think right there the game’s over,” Shildt said. “That’s the first thing that goes in my head. I’m sitting there and thinking it’s time to go home. He was locked in. He’s a tough player.”

Adam Wainwright pitched seven strong innings for the Cardinals. Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson each hit an RBI double in the seventh to put St. Louis ahead 2-1.

Bader also robbed Willson Contreras of an early two-run homer.

“The defense behind me tonight was outstanding,” Wainwright said. “Those guys played a really good game. Their guy did a good job, too, so it was a good win. Last night was a tough loss. We just couldn’t lose this one. The clubhouse is rocking right now.”

Chicago tied it in the ninth on pinch-hitter Eric Sogard's run-scoring double off Giovanny Gallegos.

Paul Goldschmidt started the bottom of the 10th as the automatic runner on second base. Nolan Arenado drew a walk from Kimbrel (1-3), who got the final out in the ninth for the Cubs. Molina then hit a drive to right field for a ground-rule double and his ninth career game-ending hit.

Anthony Rizzo began the top of the 10th on second and went to third on a single by Javier Baez that chased John Gant. But on a forceout at second, Rizzo stopped halfway down the line and was tagged out in a rundown for a double play.

“It looked like he just froze there,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “We left some guys on earlier in the game. We shouldn't have even been in that situation, to be honest with you.”

Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa started the play.

“I was running through scenarios in my head before the play,” Sosa said through a translator. “What can I do if the ball gets hit to me? I saw that Rizzo wasn't breaking immediately. I went over to second base by myself. I peeked again and saw he was a little bit further down the line and it was at the point of no return at that point. I had to go home so we could get Rizzo.”

T.J. McFarland (1-0) earned his first win with the Cardinals.

After the Cubs tied it in the ninth, Gant came in and hit two batters with pitches to load the bases before getting Rizzo to ground out.

St. Louis went ahead 2-1 in the seventh when the Cardinals chased starter Kyle Hendricks, who has won 10 straight decisions.

“Kyle was great tonight,” Ross said. “I thought it was another great performance from him. He's been as good and as steady as anybody.”

Paul DeJong hit a slow roller in front of the plate and went to second on a throwing error by catcher Contreras. With one out, Bader hit a double to left that scored DeJong.

“I play with my heart,” Bader said. “It's a matter of keeping things simple. I'm so happy to be out there playing baseball with my teammates. I think there's a lot of good things ahead of us.”

Bader, who went 3 for 4, has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games while notching five multi-hit efforts in his last seven games.

“He understands what kind of player he needs to be,” Shildt said. “He’s a talented kid.”

Andrew Chafin entered and got a flyout before Carlson doubled in Bader.

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third when Rafael Ortega tripled home Nico Hoerner with one out.

“We left 12 guys on base,” Hoerner said. “In a low-scoring game, that's significant. I had a couple of at-bats with runners in scoring position. Each guy in the locker room feels we were one pitch from turning the game around.”

Wainwright and Molina made their 292nd career start as batterymates, which is fourth all-time (since record-keeping began in 1908) in major league history. The pair is 14 games behind the Chicago White Sox duo of Red Faber and Ray Schalk for third place.

Shildt was ejected before the sixth inning began. Carlson was called out on strikes with runners on second and third by plate umpire Jeff Nelson to end the fifth. An upset Carlson voiced his displeasure with the call. Shildt came out and was sent to the clubhouse for the third time this season and the eighth time in his career.

“I took a nap,” Shildt quipped about how he spent the rest of the game.

Cardinals pitchers plunked five batters in the game, including three in the ninth inning. That raised St. Louis' total to an MLB-leading 72 hit batters.

Goldschmidt extended his season-best hitting streak to 16 games with a double in the first inning. It’s the longest active streak in the majors and the longest by a Cardinals player since Molina’s 16-game run in April 2019.

Cubs: Kris Bryant (hamstring fatigue) remained out of the lineup. Bryant was removed in the fifth inning Wednesday after he made a diving catch in the third. He could potentially return Thursday. ... 3B David Bote (left shoulder dislocation) will resume his rehab stint with Triple-A Iowa on Thursday after getting a day off Wednesday.

Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (forearm) is set to make a rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Memphis in Louisville. ... RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (shoulder) is slated to pitch one inning Thursday for Memphis.

Cubs: RHP Adbert Alzolay (4-9, 4.59 ERA) will make his 17th start of the season Thursday and second against St. Louis. He is 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA in three career starts against the Cardinals.

Cardinals: LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (5-5, 2.87) has not allowed a run in 21 innings, the longest streak by a St. Louis pitcher this year. Kim, who has won four straight starts, went six innings to beat the Cubs 6-0 at Wrigley Field on July 10.

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Hendricks does his part in pitchers’ duel, but Cardinals come out on top

Chicago Sun-Times 22 July, 2021 - 12:03am

Hendricks left Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals trailing by a run, but his teammates bailed him out. However, they couldn’t finish the job, falling 3-2 in 10 innings.

But regardless of the Cubs’ plans at the deadline and the shift in their season, Hendricks has continued to have one of the best stretches in baseball.

Hendricks left Wednesday’s game against the Cardinals trailing by a run, but his teammates bailed him out, rallying in the ninth inning for the second straight night. However, the Cardinals prevailed 3-2 in 10 innings on Yadier Molina’s single off Craig Kimbrel that scored Paul Goldschmidt, who was placed on second base.

The Cubs’ offense had gotten nothing going and entered the ninth 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. But with two out, second baseman Nico Hoerner was hit by a pitch to put a runner on and keep the Cubs’ hopes alive.

Pinch hitter Eric Sogard followed by lining an RBI double into the right-field gap, scoring Hoerner to tie the game at 2.

That took Hendricks off the hook for the loss, extending his current hot streak. In his previous 13 starts, Hendricks was 10-0 with a 2.66 ERA. He also had quality starts in 13 of his previous 15 outings.

While he didn’t earn his MLB-leading 13th win, Hendricks finished another strong start, allowing two runs and eight hits in 6⅓ innings. The Cardinals got to him in the seventh inning, scoring a pair of runs before he was removed from the game.

In a starting rotation that has been anything but consistent, Hendricks has not only been the stabilizing leader that the Cubs hoped he would be this season, but in many ways, he’s been even better.

The ace continued his run of success Wednesday against the Cardinals and did what he does best: give the Cubs an opportunity to win a game.

“Kyle is definitely a leader in [every] sense of the word,” manager David Ross said before the game. “His personality is a benefit in so many ways in baseball, because of the ups and downs of the season — the different things that come with a baseball season. He’s the same guy in the clubhouse and the same guy in the dugout. He works hard, he’s prepared, but he’s also just a steady personality.”

In a battle with longtime Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, Hendricks put up another stellar performance in an old-school pitchers’ duel.

The right-hander rolled through the first four innings as he scattered two hits while inducing a ton of weak contact. He recorded five of his first nine outs in the game on grounders.

Hendricks has been able to avoid getting himself in bad situations and limiting damage, and he did that again.

He got into a jam in the fifth inning as he allowed back-to-back singles to Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader to put runners on the corners with one out.

But he didn’t let the traffic stop him. After getting the second out of the inning on a Wainwright sacrifice bunt, Hendricks struck Dylan Carlson out looking to end the inning.

What has been one of the more impressive parts about Hendricks’ three-month run of success has been the way he’s been doing it.

Throughout his eight-year major-league career, Hendricks has been the model for pitch mix. While he’s done that during his run, the Cubs’ right-hander feels like he has another level.

“I told him, I’m pretty thankful for what he gives us every fifth day,” Ross said before the game. “I think he wants to go deeper into games. I think he wants to not give up. All the great ones I’ve been around, they don’t want to give up a hit.”

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About 9:50 p.m., the 26-year-old fell from a train platform onto the Green Line train tracks in the 3600 block of West Lake Street, and was struck by an approaching train.

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Cubs stage epic rally in 9th, stun Cards

MLB.com 21 July, 2021 - 12:21am

Consider Tuesday's improbable 7-6 comeback win over the rival Cardinals a snapshot. Following an early exit by Kris Bryant -- leading to a social-media storm of speculation -- Chicago rallied for six runs in the ninth for a stunning victory.

Box score

And it was Ian Happ -- Bryant's replacement in left after the star exited with what the team described as right hamstring fatigue -- who delivered the decisive blow.

“For us, having a rally like that and really having fun,” Happ said, “I mean, for me personally, I can say that was a really enjoyable moment and something that I will use as, 'Hey, I want to have that feeling more often.' And that's exactly what I think we're trying to do on a daily basis.”

In his third plate appearance in Bryant’s place, Happ pulled a pitch from All-Star closer Alex Reyes into the right-field corner at Busch Stadium, plating a pair of runs to help Chicago win for just the fifth time in 20 games. It marked the first time since April 29, 1979, that the Cubs erased a five-run deficit in the ninth inning.

Not much has changed, however, in the Cubs’ landscape. Even with the win, Chicago is tied for third in the National League Central and 8 1/2 games back of the division-leading Brewers. The North Siders are in sell mode -- outfielder Joc Pederson was already dealt to Atlanta last week -- and Bryant is a prime candidate to be shipped to a contender.

So when Ross made the decision to pull Bryant as a precaution, the manager knew trade speculation would begin swirling.

“Of course. It made me laugh,” Ross said after the win.

“That's the first thing I thought of when he did come out and I finally had a chance to reset. I said, 'I bet the world, all you guys, the [national reporters], all those guys, I love that they had to waste some time and make some phone calls.'”

Ross described Bryant’s issue more as “heavy legs,” adding that the superstar utility man was feeling improved after some treatment. The manager noted that Bryant had a busy midseason break -- him being in the All-Star game and all -- and there was a chance that Ross would offer him a day out of the starting lineup on Wednesday night.

“No sense pushing somebody that didn't have much of an All-Star break,” Ross said.

And it was a chance for Happ, who entered the night with a .180 average and .615 OPS, to continue to work on finding his swing.

The ninth inning started in unusual fashion, with Patrick Wisdom reaching first base on a strikeout via a wild pitch from reliever Luis García.

“It's funny how it starts with a dropped third strike,” said Cubs starter Trevor Williams, who worked five innings. “I think if you were to ask around the league if that's a dumb rule or not, I mean, today it was a great rule for us.”

An infield single-error combo (on a grounder to short by Nico Hoerner) and subsequent walk (Jake Marisnick) then loaded the bases with no outs.

Sergio Alcántara and Anthony Rizzo went on to draw bases-loaded free passes against Reyes, who then surrendered a two-run single to center off the bat of Javier Báez.

That set things up for Happ, who has been trying to pry himself out of an offensive funk of late.

The hard-throwing closer sent a 97 mph fastball over the heart of the plate and Happ completed the six-run momentum swing.

“Pretty spectacular that Happer comes up with that hit in that moment,” Ross said. “All he's been grinding through and working through -- super happy for him.”

Before the game, Ross was fielding questions about Happ being out of the lineup to allow center fielder Rafael Ortega to get more at-bats. Go figure, the unexpected development with Bryant would pave the way for Happ’s heroics.

“I haven't had a lot of moments like that [this year],” Happ said. "So, to have one of those and to really kind of find that and feel that, I mean, that was really cool.”

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