Abraham Lincoln once said “never dismiss a team that pitches well, hits into the gap, and believes in the long ball.” Good words, Honest Abe. The Marlins followed Lincoln’s old adage and showed up to play in the Gateway to the West on our nation’s 241st birthday.
Jose Urena (6-3, 3.42) was in total control of the game today as he tossed a no-hitter through five innings. Before the game broke open in the fifth, the Marlins had leadoff hits in four out of the five but no runs to show for it.
Urena started to move to a more aggressive approach at the strike zone, but the Cardinals took advantage of it. Paul Dejong broke Urena’s control with a single to right, and then Urena left one up in the zone for Greg Garcia who took it just over the fence to start the scoring off at 2-0. Urena was sat down after striking out Stephen Piscotty with an away pitch to move his strikeout count for the day at seven. He went 96 pitches through five and allowed for the recently recalled Drew Steckenrider to show his stuff.
To start the scoring for the Fish, Dee Gordon sped to second off of a barely fair ball. Giancarlo Stanton smashed a single with a ball 118 MPH to Matt Carpenter to cause a throwing error. Christian Yelich then knocked a homer off the high side of the zone to take the lead. That was Yelly’s eighth homer of the season, which surpasses his number from the first half of 2016. With Marcell Ozuna and Martin Prado on second and third, J.T. Riddle singled to drive them in, leaving the score at 5-2. This was the Riddler’s third straight multi-hit game.
Steckenrider came in with a 1.72 ERA through 24 games with the AAA Babycakes, but gave up a hit to St. Louis native Luke Voit. The 26 year old Steckenrider, out of Greater Atlanta Christian (also my preschool alma mater — shout out to the Spartans) struck out Randal Grichuk and closed the sixth on a Paul DeJong fly out to right.
With Gordon and Stanton on base, Yelich reached first on a fielder’s choice and Gordon was out in the pickle at home. Ozone then struck out swinging to end the inning still at 5-2.
Kyle Barraclough took the mound in the 7th. After a botched fly ball play by Stanton and a single for Matt Carpenter, the Redbirds had runners at the corners and looked ready for a Marlins bullpen collapse. However, Bearclaw got Tommy Pham for Pham’s fourth strikeout and Piscotty for his third of the day.
David Phelps pitched well in the eight, but the Fish bats stayed quiet. A.J. Ramos took the mound in the ninth where he struck out Garcia. Alex Mejia grounded out to short, and Matt Carpenter hit a fly ball to Marcell Ozuna to end the game.
Overall, the Cardinals couldn’t recover from Yelich’s three RBIs and the Marlins all around pitching success. After Urena went five IP with 2 ER, the bullpen (Steckenrider, Barraclough, Phelps, and Ramos) went through four innings on 58 pitches with four hits, no runs, no walks, and five sweet, sweet strikeouts.
Tomorrow’s game against the Cardinals kicks off at 8:15 ET with Edinson Volquez (4-8, 3.97) taking on Mike Leake (6-6, 2.97). Now be sure to vote for Justin Bour and our Citrus State neighbor Logan Morrison for the All-Star Game Final Vote!