On some days, baseball is an unpredictable and wonderous game. On others, what you think should happen based upon the strengths and weaknesses presented before you comes to fruition, and this was one of those games. Jaime Garcia was masterful and stymied the Marlins offense for 25 outs as the MLB's best home team did indeed beat the MLB's worst road team by the final score of 3-1.
This was a pitcher's duel for much of the game, with Garcia and Tom Koehler trading efficient, scoreless innings. In the top of the fifth, Ichiro sliced one down the line in left for his 4,191st professional hit between Japan and MLB, tying him with Ty Cobb.
Bottom of the fifth and the Cardinals small ball run manufacturing machine got going. After Stephen Piscotty flied out, Mark Reynolds doubled to center. Garcia then moved him over to third and Reynolds was able to score off of a well placed Matt Carpenter bunt down the third base line. 1-0 Cardinals.
Fast forward to the seventh, Randal Grichuk doubled off of a Koehler fastball that bounced on the warning track in center. Piscotty followed with a sharp grounder to Gordon which moved Grichuk to third. Reynolds then struck again, leaning low and stroking a single into left field to drive in Grichuk to make it 2-0 Cardinals. Koehler would be lifted for Miguel Rojas at the plate in the top of the 8th, his final line coming to two runs off of five hits, and one walk to two strikeouts...a solid performance.
In the top of the eighth the Cards tacked on one more, with Carpenter depositing a 3-2 pitch from Mike Dunn into the stands for a solo shot, 3-0 Cardinals.
In the top of the ninth Garcia finally began to show some sign of being human, getting Martin Prado to K but then plunking Dietrich in the bicep and walking Casey McGehee, prompting Mike Matheny to pull him. Gillespie would tarnish the numbers a little by smacking a single off of Trevor Rosenthal into right which Heyward misplayed, allowing Dietrich to score. Still, Garcia came out with a great final line of eight and a third's innings pitched, one run on six hits and six strikeouts, no walks. Rosenthal would thereafter do his thing, getting Realmuto to fly out and Ichiro to pop out to end the game, 3-1 Cards your final.
Of note, Cole Gillespie had a couple of singles to extend his hitting streak to six games. The Marlins will try again for victory tomorrow in game two, Brad Hand vs. John Lackey, 7:15 EST.
Hero of the Game: Jaime Garcia (+.453)
Goat of the Game: JT Realmuto (-.188)
Play of the Game: Matt Carpenter bunt base hit; Reynolds scores (+.146)