Strange Inning for Norris

(Busch Stadium) It was not the outcome the St. Louis Cardinals were looking for on Monday night as they fell by a score of 6-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers.

The loss dropped the Cardinals to 3.0 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Wild Card and allowed the Colorado Rockies to climb to within 0.5 games behind them for the second Wild Card spot.

Walks were costly for St. Louis, as the team issued six free passes–four of them coming from the bullpen.

And while there are various points of the game which can be looked at as positive and negative, there were two plays in the 8th inning that deserve particular attention.

1. After a one-out triple by Eric Thames, Bud Norris intentionally walked Mike Moustakas to set up runners at the corners. Norris then attempted a pick-off play but the ball bounced off Moustakas and Thames scored to put Milwaukee up 5-4.

“It was called from the dugout,” said Norris. “We’re trying to keep him close, keeping us in double-play depth. Trying to make a good throw in the tag zone and see if I can get a guy. A decent throw, but obviously crept in and got him and the ball bounced away. Just a tough break. Very unfortunate.”

“We called it,” backed up Mike Shildt. “I take full responsibility for it.”

2. A single later, Milwaukee again had runners at the corners when Orlando Arcia grounded to Paul DeJong, who fired home to Yadier Molina, who then threw to Jedd Gyorko to get the retreating Moustakas at third. Gyorko then threw the ball to first and Arcia was ruled out by the first base umpire.

However, home plate umpire Lance Barksdale immediately called the play off. Norris and Shildt protested the call, as Gyorko had been in the process of throwing the ball when Barksdale decided to call time out. It was to no avail.

“You don’t see it very often,” acknowledged Shildt. “He basically said because the ball was wet he wanted to call time.”

Curtis Granderson then lined out to end the inning without further damage, but Milwaukee added an insurance run in the 9th to go on to the victory.

Norris (3-6) suffered the loss, his fifth straight.

Combined, the two teams used 17 pitchers in the game–Milwaukee intended to utilize their bullpen often as reliever Dan Jennings started the game and faced only Matt Carpenter.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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