(Busch Stadium) There was a combination of familiar and new as Matt Carpenter helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-0 victory over Miami tonight. After a solo home run in the third inning, Carpenter beat the defensive shift with a bunt in his next at-bat. The Marlins were slow to react and Matt raced to second with an infield double.
“I’ve always thought that if you bunt it hard enough if and it gets in an area where there’s nobody there, that’s always a play,” said Carpenter, who recalled seeing the play before. “Obviously, you take a home run every time but the bunt double’s a good feeling too, can’t deny that.”
It was the third bunt hit of the season for Carpenter, who has gone the opposite way more often this year instead of just trying to hit over the shift.
“If you hit left-handed in this league, they’re going to shift you,” Carpenter stated. “They shift Joey Votto and he hits the ball to the other way more than anybody. People don’t really hit ground balls to the opposite side and that’s what the shift is really all about. Until they outlaw or ban it, they’re just going to do it.
“Anytime that there’s not somebody over there with less than two strikes, I bunt every single time. I will always go for that hit. I’ve even tried this year with two strikes, it didn’t work out well. I’m not opposed to lying down a bunt in that situation. A lot of teams know it. The teams in our division know it–they don’t do it, but sometimes every now and then we play somebody that’s not seen it and they go over. Tonight, I was able to take advantage of it.”
“Sounded like he got barrel on it, so not surprised it went a good ways,” Miles Mikolas (5-7) quipped. The Cardinals starter snapped a five-game losing streak in picking up his first win since May 6th.
“It’s nice, anytime the team wins I’m happy,” Mikolas said. “Regardless if I get the win or not, I think I got the no-decision against Chicago. That was nice game, but we ended up getting the win. If there’s a stat that how often a team wins when a pitcher starts, regardless of the decision or not, sometimes it’s about keeping the game close. Even if you’re down 2-3, to leave the game with just a one-run deficit–that’s what a starting pitcher’s job is. Obviously to keep runs off the board, but you’re the guy out there to keep them close. Let the offense do its work, keep them within striking distance. If you can do that as a starter, regardless of your win total, the team’s going to win a lot of ballgames.”
It was the second time this season Mikolas did not allow a walk or run in a game and his eighth quality start.
–In the bottom of the 8th inning, Dexter Fowler hit his 8th home run of the season to cap the Cardinals scoring. It was the third time in the last four games that Fowler went deep and was his first career long ball against Miami, the only National League team he had yet to hit a home run against.
photo credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports