It was the St. Louis Cardinals’ turn to get shutout on Thursday. One night after defeating the Miami Marlins 2-0 on a Nolan Arenado home run in the ninth inning, the Cardinals offense was silenced by Marlins starting pitcher Pablo López.
López threw nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Three of those strikeouts were against Albert Pujols. His 0.52 ERA in three starts this season leads the majors.
The Marlins offense looked like it was going to deliver another lackluster performance. Their only two runs scored through five innings were on uncharacteristic fielding mistakes by the Cardinals: an error by shortstop Paul DeJong on an attempted double play that allowed Jesús Sánchez to score from third base in the second inning, and a passed ball by catcher Yadier Molina in the fourth inning that allowed Sánchez score from third again.
Sánchez capped off his busy night with a 423-foot line drive home run in the sixth to give Miami a 3-0 lead. The 24-year-old came into Thursday’s game hitting .333 with an OPS of .959.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. finally got his shot at hitting leadoff for the first time this season. He had spent time in the middle and end of the lineup, with most of his games (5) coming in the No. 9 spot. While he has found some success at the bottom of the order with a 1.085 OPS coming into Thursday, he has told reporters that hitting near the bottom is “not my thing.”
Chisholm, Jr. may have bought himself more time in the leadoff position, as he hit a late-game home run to extend Miami’s lead. The home run came one swing after he chirped at home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi over a call, resulting in Cuzzi telling Chisholm, Jr. to get back in the batter’s box immediately. Yadier Molina urged pitcher Aaron Brooks to throw a quick pitch while Chisholm, Jr. was talking to Cuzzi, but wound up calling for time instead. On the very next pitch, Chisholm, Jr. connected on a low slider and sent it over the right field wall.
We're on Jazz Chisholm time. ⏰ pic.twitter.com/73T7f1w0Y7— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 22, 2022
With this victory, the Marlins snapped their eight-game head-to-head losing streak against the Cards and concluded their first homestand of the regular season with a winning record of 4-3.
The Marlins travel to Atlanta on Friday to face a Braves team (6-8) that has struggled to get going this year. Trevor Rogers will take the mound for Miami against Kyle Wright at 7:20 p.m.