Updated: Jul 30, 2021
Coming out of the All-Star break, winning two out of three from the Giants and with the next seven games against their own division, the destiny of the St Louis Cardinals was in their own hands.
Game 1, July 19 vs. Chicago NL: Cardinals 8, Cubs 3
The Cardinals came in with a two-game winning streak and five wins in their last eight.
The Cardinals called up Jake Woodford to be the starter for Game 1 of the series. He was sent down to Memphis before the break to get stretched out to help fill the gap in the rotation left by the departure of Carlos Martinez. This year, he had appeared in 17 games as a reliever, pitching 25 innings with a 4.62 ERA, a 1.461 WHIP, 14 walks and 21 strikeouts. He had one of the worst inherited runners scoring ratios on the staff, 62.5%. When he took the mound Monday night, he looked like a totally different pitcher. He looked in control and had good command for 5 2/3 innings allowing only one run on six hits, no walks and six strikeouts. TJ McFarland finished the sixth. Andrew Miller pitched two-thirds of an inning allowing one run, and John Gant pitched the remainder of the game (2.1 innings), allowing a run on two hits.
The Cardinals scored eight runs on nine hits and were aided by four Cubs errors, three that came in the four-run fourth for St Louis.
The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead on a Dylan Carlson single in the third. In the Cardinals part of the fourth, it started with a strikeout, then a throwing error by Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom, a single by Yadier Molina (the only ball in the inning to leave the infield), and a walk to Tommy Edman loaded the bases. Javier Baez then misplayed a ground ball by Paul DeJong, allowing a run to score. Harrison Bader then hit a ground ball fielded by Baez, who tried to throw home but overthrew the catcher allowing Molina to score. One batter later with two out and the bases loaded, Carlson walked, bringing home Edman. Paul Goldschmidt then had an infield single to bring home the Cardinals fourth run to make it 5-0.
The Cubs scored their first run of the fifth on a double-play ball by Ian Happ.
In the sixth, Carlson and Goldschmidt went back to back with Carlson's a two-run homer to make it 8-1.
In the seventh, the Cubs scored a run on a Patrick Wisdom home run. They got their third and final run on a ground out to third by Kris Bryant in the eighth.
The win started the Cards off right at 1-0 for the week and brought them to an even 47-47 overall.
Goldschmidt had his fifth multi-hit game in his last eight and extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Carlson has 23 multi-hit games this year.
Game 2, July 20 vs. Chicago NL: Cubs 7, Cardinals 6
This game marked the return of Johan Oviedo to the Cardinal rotation.
Like Woodford, Oviedo was sent down before the All-Star break to get some work. He came back and looked ready. Facing the Cubs, he pitched efficiently: Five innings, 74 pitches. He gave up one run on three hits, walked one and struck out five. Three Cardinals relievers kept the Cubs in check until the ninth when literally all hell broke loose. Genesis Cabrera, Ryan Helsley and Justin Miller all pitched scoreless innings. Luis Garcia started the ninth and lasted three batters getting no outs. Alex Reyes came in and allowed six runs, three of which were charged to Garcia. Giovanny Gallegos came in and got the Cardinals out of the inning.
The Cubs started the scoring in the second inning when Nico Hoerner drove in a run with a ground out.
In the third, Carlson doubled home the tying run. In the fourth, Nolan Arenado hit a solo shot. Bader singled home a run and then Oviedo helped his own cause with an RBI single to give the Redbirds a 4 -1 lead. In the sixth, Edman led off with a solo home run. Two outs later, Jose Rondon smacked a pinch-hit home run giving St. Louis a 6-1 advantage.
Then came the disastrous ninth!
Garcia struck out the first batter who reached on a ball that got past Molina, which was ruled a wild pitch. The next batter reached on what was ruled an infield single. Then a throwing error by DeJong allowed a runner to advance to third. Garcia walked the next batter, loading the bases. Reyes was brought in. He walked Sergio Alcantara to force in a run making it 6-2. After striking out the next batter, Reyes forced in another run. He walked Anthony Rizzo, making it 6-3. Baez then singled home two runs closing the gap to 6-5. Happ then doubled home two more to give the Cubs the lead 7-6. Six runs were scored with three charged to Garcia and three charged to Reyes. That is the way it ended, knocking the Cardinals to 1-1 for the week and 47-48 overall.
Alex Reyes had his first blown save ending his consecutive save streak to start a career at 24.
Ryan Helsley has only allowed one run in his last 10 games. covering 8 2/3 innings for a 1.04 ERA .
Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Game 3, July 21 vs. Chicago NL: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 (10 innings).
Uncle Charlie took the hill in Game 3 of the four-game set against the Cubs, looking to continue his dominance on the mound.
He did just that with a line of 7IP, 6H, 1R, 0BB, 5Ks, 1HBP. However, he didn't get the win. Wainwright left the game, and the Cardinals spotted him a one-run lead. Cabrera and Gallegos combined for a scoreless eighth, but Gallegos allowed the tying run in the ninth. Gant and McFarland finished the game, with McFarland getting the win.
The Cardinals pounded out 12 hits in the game and stranded seven runners.
Bader went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, raising his average to .276 to go with a .345 OBP and a .465 slugging percentage. He also robbed Wilson Contreras of a home run in the first inning. Molina went 1-for-5, but that one hit was a walk-off winner.
The Cubs drew first blood on an RBI triple by Rafael Ortega. The Cardinals could not break through on Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks until the seventh. Bader doubled home DeJong to tie the game and Carlson doubled Bader home to give the Cardinals and Wainwright the lead. In the ninth, with a runner on and two out, Eric Sogard hit a two-strike pitch for an RBI double to tie the game at two and snatch a victory from Uncle Charlie.
The game went into the 10th when, with two on and one out, Molina, with two strikes, singled to right field for the walk-off winner. The win made the Redbirds 2-1 for the week and 48-48 overall and they closed within 7 1/2 games of division-leading Milwaukee.
Paul Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 16 games. His numbers during the stretch were .379/.446/.667 over 74 plate appearances with five home runs and 13 RBI. He also has an 18 game on-base streak.
Adam Wainwright: Went at least seven innings for the ninth time this season. Only Jacob DeGrom has done it more (11 times).
Harrison Bader: Has hit safely in eight of his last 10 with five multi-hit games. Since coming back from injury on July 1, he is hitting .352/.407/.537 with two HRs and 10 RBI.
Tyler O'Neill: Has an eight-game hitting streak.
Game 4, July 22, vs. Chicago, NL: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2
Like the line in Dandy Don Meredith's famous saying, "Turn out the lights," all good things must end. And so it was Thursday night for Kwang Hyun Kim and Paul Goldschmidt, but the Cardinals kept winning.
KK took the mound against the Cubs with the longest current streak of consecutive scoreless innings at 21. Kim started by setting down the first 11 batters he faced. He gave up a two-run double in the fourth, so his streak ended at 24. 2 innings pitched. He ended up going 6IP, with 2H, 2R, 1BB, 7K. A trio of relievers -- Helsley, McFarland and Reyes, finished to secure the win.
The Cardinals managed only five hits but scored three times in the first two innings.
Carlson started it off with a solo home run to right field for an early 1-0 lead.
In the third, with Carlson on, Arenado took a pitch to left center for a home run.
The Cubs picked up two runs in the fourth on a Jake Marsnick double. That would be the scoring for both teams as the bullpens shut down both offenses for the rest of the game. Each team had only one hit after the fourth inning.
The win mad the Cards 3-1 for the week and 49-48 overall. With the Reds and Brewers both idle, the Cardinals were one-half game behind the Reds and seven games behind the Brewers.
Kim: The ninth time in 10 starts this year that he went five innings or more and allowed two runs or less.
Goldschmidt: While his hitting streak ended at 16 games, he had two walks to extend his on-base streak to 19 games.
Carlson: Had his sixth three-hit game.
Game 5, July 23 at Cincinnati: Reds 6, Cardinals 5
Wade LaBlanc 0-1 took the hill for his fifth start as a Cardinal.
LeBlanc was shaky, and he threw 82 pitches. Fifty-two were strikes and of the nine balls put in play, eight were ground balls (the one fly ball was a home run). He gave up two runs in the first and one in the fourth. He pitched four innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. He walked only one and struck out five. The Redbirds used five relief pitchers in the game. Adam Miller and Justin Miller combined forces for a scoreless fifth. Cabrera pitched a scoreless sixth. Helsley had only given up two runs total since giving up two runs to the Reds on June 5, a span of 17 games covering 16 innings. He gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth. Gallegos gave up an unearned run in the ninth. Helsley had his first blown save and Gallegos his third loss.
Offensively Paul Goldschmidt had two hits (1B, HR), as did Bader(2B, HR) and Andrew Knizner (2B, 1B). Knizner also had two RBI
The Cardinals started the scoring on a Goldschmidt first-inning home run 448 to centerfield.
The Reds took the lead on a Joey Votto two-run double.
St. Louis knotted things up on a Bader solo shot in the second inning.
Kyle Farmer untied the game in the fourth inning with a solo homer. In the sixth, Knizner swatted a two-run double to give the Redbirds a two-run lead.
In the seventh on back-to-back singles and a double later, the Reds cut the lead to one off of Helsley. A wild pitch allowed the Reds to tie the game. Had it not been for a fly out and throw out at home, the Reds might have taken the lead.
In the eighth, with Gallegos on the hill after a single throwing error put runners on first and second. A one-out walk loaded the bases, then a sacrifice fly by Tyler Stephenson gave the Reds the go-ahead and winning run. The loss put the Cardinals at 3-2 for the week and 49-49 overall.
Goldschmidt extended his on-base streak to 20 games.
Knizner: His two RBI were his first multi-RBI game this year. It was his fourth multi-hit game of the year.
Bader had his seventh multi-hit game since coming off the IL. It was also his fourth multi-hit game in his last five games.
Cabrera had given only one hit in his last six games spanning 5.2 innings.
Game 6 July 24, at Cincinnati: Reds 5, Cardinals 3
Woodford made his second start since the All-Star break.
While he did not match his first outing, he turned in a decent performance: 5IP, 7H, 3ER, 2BB, 2Ks
There were some control issues, but he did get through five innings. The Reds got three runs on seven hits and two walks. He only struck out two.
McFarland had a 1-2-3 sixth inning, then gave up two in the seventh but had two strikeouts)
Gant came in and shut the door in the eighth. No hits, no runs, one walk, two strikeouts. However, the offense couldn't catch up.
The Cardinals banged out eight hits with Goldschmidt and DeJong each getting two hits. Arenado had his 27th double and 60th RBI.
The Cards scored the first run of the game in the second on a Bader single.
The Reds countered in the second on a Jesse Winker double, bringing home two runs for a 2-1 lead.
The Reds added again in the fifth on a Votto solo home run, then again in the seventh on a Winker two-run shot, which proved to be the game-winner.
The Redbirds pushed two across in the eighth—one on a double by Arenado and the other on a DeJong single.
The loss put the Cardinals even at 3-3 for the week and one game under .500 at 49-50 overall.
DeJong: 10th multi-hit game.
Goldschmidt: On-base streak at 21 games.
Bader: Since July 1 had hit safely in 14 out of 17 games and led the team in BA .at 275, second in OBP .344, and fourth in slugging at .478
Gant: Since moving to the bullpen: 13.1IP, 7H, 2R, 6BB, 6K, ERA 1.35, WHIP 0.977
Arenado led the team with 19 HR, 27 doubles, 60 RBI.
Game 7 July 25, at Cincinnati, Cardinals 10, Reds 6
The Cardinals salvaged a win in Cincinnati by virtue of a huge seven-run fourth inning, giving them a better than .500 performance for the week and the chance for a successful road trip with two games in Cleveland next.
Oviedo tried for the 14th time to get his first win as a Cardinal. For the 14th time, he was denied that accomplishment. This time he did not make it through the fifth inning. Struggling with the control, he only went 4.1 innings and threw 98 pitches. He was charged with three runs on five hits. He walked six and struck out six. The Redbirds used six relief pitchers to finish the game. Helsley finished the fifth and got his fifth win. Andrew Miller gave up one run and Justin Miller allowed two. Cabrera, Gallegos and Reyes finished the game to secure the Cardinals win.
Four Cardinals did the majority of the damage with 12 hits (four home runs, one triple and two doubles).
Arenado was 3-for-5 with 1 RBI, 3 runs and a HR.
O'Neill 2-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs, HR
Bader 3-4, 3RBI, 1 run, HR
Carlson 1-4, 2 RBIs, 1 run, HR
In the first, O'Neil hit a two-run shot to give St Louis the early lead.
Votto negated that in the bottom of the inning with a three-run shot.
It would stay that way until the fourth when after a walk and an infield single put two on with one out. Edman doubled home a run. Bader went after took the first pitch he saw and took it to left for a three-run shot. Three batters later, with one out and one on, Carlson hit a two-run shot. Edgar Garcia relieved Reds starter Sonny Gray and got the Reds out of the inning. After the dust settled, the Redbirds were up 9-3.
The Reds fought back in the fourth, chasing Oviedo from the game with the bases loaded and one out.
In came Helsley to get the final two outs.
In the sixth, the Reds made good on their threat, with an RBI single by Tyler Stephenson.
Then again, in the seventh, Max Schrock doubled into left to score two more runs making the score 9-6.
Arenado ended the scoring with a "just over the wall" home run to left. Reyes came on for a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the deal.
That made the Redbirds 4-3 for the week and 50-50 overall.
DeJong: Hitting .310/.375/.500 in July.
Arenado: 20 HRs
Bader: Six out of his last 10 games had been multi-hit games. For July: .362/.421/.609.
Helsley: Only four out of 28 inherited runners have scored (14%). Four times he came in with the bases loaded and one runner scored.
Up next week:
Tuesday Wednesday series at Cleveland
July 27: Adam Wainwright 7-6 vs. Cal Quantrill 2-2
July 28: Kwang Hyun Kim 6-5 vs. Zach Plesac 5-3
Followed by an off day Thursday and a three-game series at home against the Twins.
July 30: Wade LeBlanc 0-2 vs. Jose Berrios 7-5
July 31: Jake Woodford 2-2 vs. Bailey Ober 1-1
Aug 1: Adam Wainwright 8-6 vs. Michael Pineda 4-5
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