(Busch Stadium) In a matter of just a few innings, Jose Martinez experienced the best and worst of what a baseball game can provide. Martinez failed to make a catch at first base which allowed the deciding run to score from second at Toronto beat his St. Louis Cardinals 6-5 in 11 innings.
“Nobody wants to make that error in that situation,” said Martinez. “That ball should be caught. I mean, that ball should be caught. I couldn’t. I did my best, I couldn’t get it. I’ll try and do my best next time and try to make that play.”
Shortstop Aledmys Diaz snagged the grounder from Steve Pearce, but his throw was to the right field side of first base. Martinez stretched but did not leave the bag, a “bad decision” he said he would not do again.
“Gotta catch the ball,” stated Mike Matheny. “Obviously, stay on as long as you possibly can but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get to it. If you can do both, that’s ideal but the ball takes precedence, of course. I think the ball was moving on him was the problem. It was running away from him.”
“No, I don’t think so,” said Martinez, refusing to make any excuse. “I think I wasn’t ready for the situation. I should be in the game and just take care of the ball and not let the runner from second base score.”
In the 7th inning, Martinez came of the bench to deliver a 2-run homer and tie the game up 4-4. It was the first of his big league career and he received a curtain call for his efforts.
“Best feeling ever,” said Martinez. “But I think right now it’s the situation of the game, right now I don’t think that’s most important. The most important thing is we lost the game.”
“I just stood there and everybody was telling me to go out, it was great,” said Martinez, who was initially unaware to go back out and tip his cap. “I’m going to be grateful for that my whole career.”
Martinez wasn’t alone in the defensive mishaps as the Cardinals committed four errors in the game, although the throwing error charged to Stephen Piscotty had more to do about circumstance than execution.
Throwing from right field, Piscotty’s throw hit Ezequiel Carrera in the helmet as he was sliding into third base. The ball bounced away and Carrera scored.
“Just bad luck,” said Piscotty. “It’s bad luck coupled with poor defense. I think you can survive with one or the other, but when both happen it’s tough to win ballgames. We’re going to continue to work to clean it up and hopefully, that bad luck turns into good luck. But there’s nothing we can do but just keep working, keep grinding, and keep moving forward.”
Besides the errors, the Cardinals also left 7 runners on base while going 4-15 with runners in scoring position.
“You go through those periods where it just happens,” said Matheny. “There’s other times where we’ve gone seasons setting records, doing the exact same thing. It’s what we’re doing right now. We work. We work on it. You work on the different situations, you work on how your approach looks but sometimes they make really good pitches like (Estrada) did tonight.
“He had a changeup, obviously, everybody could see how good his changeup was. And then he executed good fastball pitches when he had to. He pitched his way out, but we still think regardless how good somebody’s throwing, we’ve got to figure out a way to get it done. And we just couldn’t do it. It’s a hard game and you’ve got to go through those times where you just can’t execute like we want to and gotta fix it.”
The Cardinals are the fourth team to commit four errors in a game this season, joining Milwaukee, San Diego, and Washington.
photo credit: Jeff Curry- USA TODAY Sports