It seems that a lot of games have been going to extra-innings over the last few days, although Matt Holiday hitting a grand slam home run, giving the St. Louis Cardinals an 11-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds, came way before the moment in which fans start heading for the exits out of boredom.
The Cardinals claimed the 3-game series in Cincinnati with two wins, keeping the Reds at 4 games behind them in the NL Central, and improving their Major League best record to 41-22. After a wild first six innings with Lance Lynn, giving up four runs, the Cardinals settled down with Trevor Rosenthal, claiming the win, striking out four batters during his two innings.
The two teams reached the 10th inning tied at four, where J.J. Hoover completely imploded, giving up six runs on four hits, not making it through the inning. He gave up hits to Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter, putting the Cards 7-4 up before Matt Holiday stepped up to the plate on a good hitting day for him up to that point (2 walks, 1-3 before the grand slam), and finished it in the best way possible before Kevin Siegrist closed out the game.
Against some teams, when you lead, 4-2, in the late innings, you feel like the game’s over. This team fights you — the whole lineup. Every guy in the lineup has a hitting streak. It’s not easy to navigate nine innings.
The Reds had a 4-2 lead heading into the 7th thanks to Brandon Arroyo, allowing two runs in the six innings he was in, but after coming off for Sam Lecure things turned south, as Lecure didn’t record a single out, instead allowing 3 hits and two runs on only 13 pitches before leaving the game, as Carlos Beltran got a home run and Yadier Molina hit a single that brought Matt Holiday home for the first time in the game.
The Reds had an awful day at the plate, hitting only 6-of-32, with Brandon Phillips, still nursing a swollen arm, going only 1-for-5, as the Cards’ pitchers did a very good job all throughout the game. The Cards hit a much better game with 14-of-42, including 3-of-3 from Jon Jay, who also reached base two more times thanks to two walks.
The Cardinals look as solid as they always do, with a lineup that might not have Albert Pujols anymore, but looks impossible to get around when everyone is having a decent day. Five of their first six hitters in the lineup are hitting over .305 at the moment, as they’re second in the Majors in runs and batting average (.276) while holding the third base OBP (.338). Their average when it comes to power, but this teams seems so loaded and with enough players to come up with the big home run when necessary (Holiday hitting his 10th, Beltran his 14th of the season), it’s hard seeing anything but an injury keeping the Cardinals from winning the NL Central, even if it’s a little too early, and a bit too close in the standing, to make such declarations.