Jedd Gyorko blazes a three hole shot in the sixth to give the Cardinals an 8-5 win over Astros
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
St. Louis Cardinals at Houston Astros Minute Maid Park scored early facing Dallas Keuchel. With two runners on, one out in his first, Brandon Moss cranks out a single up the center for a RBI. YadierMolina grounds out as Matt Carpenter adds the second run. Before Jaime Garcia begins his start, the Cardinals had given him a two run lead.
The last J Garcia had faced the Astros was September 25, 2012, going seven scoreless innings with five strikeouts. With his multiple DL visits that kept him off the field in previous seasons; now, 2016, he was back in Minute Maid Park to take his stand against the Houston team. However, unlike his performance four years ago, the Astros wasted no time in matching the Cardinals lead. J Garcia sent lead-off George Springer to first with a HBP. Followed with a wild pitch, Springer advanced to second. Rookie Alex Bregman crunched out a two-run homer over the right wall to tie the score. That was Bregman's first major league home run for his fifth-sixth RBI. He used 23 pitches in his first inning before he saw his third out.
J Garcia fought his way out of jam in his second. In the third, Marwin Gonzalez blazes the two seamer out of the park to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. Jose Altuve added another for the Astros with a RBI single to give the Astros a bit of breathing room in the fourth.
Keuchel, who had taken down the side in his next two innings, feeling pretty confident on the mound, allowed a double by Randal Grichuk in the fifth. Two outs on the board, Tommy Pham, with a full count sends a bullet out over the opposite field for a two-run homer to tie the score.
J Garcia held the Astros in the bottom of the fifth with taking out the three batters that came to the plate. Keuchel's sixth, gave the Cardinals their lead for the night. He issued a walk, Moss singled for two runners on. He was retired and Patrick "Pat" Neschek followed. Neschek was with the Cardinals last season, and Cardinals fans enjoyed his strong 'side-winder' pitching. Now, he was the foe. He came in and had some work to do against his former team. It was the Molina-Carpenter duo again that would another run. He got Molina with a ground out as Carpentercame in for the run cutting the lead to one. He served up a pitch to Jhonny Peralta for a single for his two runners on the corners. Jedd Gyorko comes to face Neschek. The side-winder had a 2-1 count, his next pitch was choice for Gyorko. He sends a missile out for a three hole shot to clear the bases and to give the Cardinals an 8-4 lead.
J Garcia would give up another home run as Jason Castro connects for a solo in the bottom of the sixth to cut into the Cardinals lead. He was retired with 5 IP/3 HR/5 ER/3-BB and only two strikeouts. Keuchel saw his night end with 5 IP/1 HR/6 ER/1-BB/7 SO. Even though neither starter had great stands, J Garcia gets the win and Keuchel is handed the loss in the Cardinals 8-5 win.
Rookie Alex Reyes gets the call to replace J Garcia. Reyes, Cardinals top prospect, was on the mound for two scoreless innings. This impressive reliever has yet to allow any runs, earned or otherwise, in his now total of six innings pitched in his three games. He earned his first win as a major leaguer against the Chicago Cubs over the weekend. Last night's performance he allowed one hit, issue two free passes; but, fanned four while on the hill. Reyes was a starter with the Memphis Triple-A Redbirds; however, holding a 4.96 ERA, the Cardinals have placed him in the bullpen for the moment. With reliever LHP Tyler Lyons going to the DL due to a right knee fracture, Lyons is unavailable for long relief. Now, the Cardinals have a outstanding replacement with Reyes. He has yet to record an ERA since his arrival, August 9, with the Cardinals.
No more runs would be seen for the remainder of the game. Randal Grichuk in the line-up and taking care of centerfield, was playing last night to his hometown crowd. Family and friends in attendance to give him support. He was 2-4 AB with a double, one run and added a triple in the ninth facing Ken Giles.
Closer Seung "The Final Out" Hwan Oh earned his 12 save. He allowed one hit, but had 3 K's to close down the Astros for their loss. The Astros have the best "at home" ERA in the American League. The Cardinals found their way to get past that.
GAME TWO AND FINAL GAME AT 1:10 CST
The Astros swept the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, June 14-15, in their split two game series. The Cardinals look to re-pay the favor. Cardinals Carlos Martinez (10-7/3.34 ERA) will face Astros Doug Fister (11-7/3.61 ERA). Martinez is 6-1/2.48 in his away games. This will be his first start against the Astros this season. He has only faced two of the Houston hitters, Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena holding the pair to a .250 BA. Fister is 3-4/3.90 at home. Facing the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, he got the win with a 2.45 average. He went 7.1 IP/2 ER/1-BB/6 SO. For this afternoon, this could prove to be a great match-up.