Despite three Cardinal home runs, two costly infield errors doomed the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Carlos Martinez (12-5) who has been one of the most successful pitchers in the National League this season was not able to overcome the disappointment of the mid-inning miscues. The Cardinals have put together this remarkable season mainly with their pitching. The Cardinals do not have a starter with an ERA over 2.95. Also the Cardinals’ stellar defense has helped the pitchers in limiting opponents’ runs.
This season the Cardinals have proven to be more successful in limiting their opponents runs than in manufacturing runs on their own. This dynamic was underscored Sunday when two Kolton Wong errors proved more dynamic than the two Jason Heyward home runs and the first MLB home run of the rookie Stephen Piscotty. In total, the Cardinals three home runs created four runs scored. The two errors allowed for five of the six runs scored by the visiting Marlins.
On Sunday the Cardinals were looking to sweep the Marlins in the third game of their three game set. Even with the best record in MLB, the Redbirds are five wins to seven losses in the last game of a series when they have a chance to sweep. The Cardinals are 0-5 since the All Star Break in their inability to sweep a series on the last day.
Martinez overcame several early inning issues. In the first inning, Martinez offered up a leadoff single and a stolen base to Miami’s Dee Gordon. He saw the Marlins take an early lead when Justin Bour’s two out RBI single allowed Gordon to score. Second base umpire Will Little called a balk on Martinez in the second inning. Martinez appeared unfazed by the early lead and balk call. Martinez was the second Cardinal pitcher in as many days who was charged with a balk. In the third, Gordon who had gotten his second hit in as many at bats was picked off by Martinez as Gordon was caught leaning.
Heyward homered in the bottom of the first and third innings for his tenth and eleventh home runs of the season. In the bottom of the fifth, Piscotty hit his home run.
Martinez worked five innings, allowed five hits, five runs, one earned run, walked no one, and struck out five.
Miami’s starter, St. Louis native David Phelps (4-8), worked two and one-third innings, allowed four hits, three earned runs, walked one, struck out four, and served up the two Heyward home runs. The former Cardinal, Chris Naveson (1-0) picked-up the Marlins’ win. Miami’s A.J. Ramos earned his nineteenth save of the season.
In a post game interview the Cardinals’ Jason Heyward summed up the game by saying, “If you can keep the other team from scoring, it’s huge because it’s not going to be easy to score runs, as much as you want it to be, it’s not going to be easy.” This philosophy was proven today in the Marlins-Cardinals game.
With Sunday’s loss, the Cardinals are 75-42; five games in front of Pittsburgh and seven and one-half games in front of the Cubs in the National League Central Division.
On Monday, the San Francisco Giants make their 2015 debut at Busch. The Giants’ Chris Heston (11-7) meets the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha (14-4) in the first game of a three game series.
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