St. Louisan Ryan Howard was hitting .183 when he came to bat in the sixth inning Tuesday night. But that at-bat came at Busch Stadium, where Howard has made things happen before.
Facing Michael Wacha, the Philadelphia Phillies’ first baseman launched his 12th homer in 36 games he’s played here, a 411-foot drive over the Cardinals’ bullpen in right-center-field for the first run of the night.
It was the only run of the night as 22-year-old Philadelphia righthander Aaron Nola flummoxed the Cardinals on just two hits, one out of the infield, fanning seven over seven innings. And Phillies relievers Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez struck out four Cardinals over the last two innings to preserve a 1-0 win for the Phils.
Wacha, who allowed just five hits over eight innings, striking out eight, was shut out for the second game in a row. Except for scoring 10 runs in a comeback win on Monday, the Cardinals have tallied just six runs over their other five games in the last week, losing all five.
They are 13-14 for the season and 6-8 at home.
HOLLIDAY, BOURJOS SHINE ON DEFENSE
Left fielder Matt Holliday helped Cardinals starter Michael Wacha close out the fourth inning Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. Holliday retreated almost to the wall and jumped to make the catch on Philadelphia left fielder Darin Ruff’s bid for an extra-base hit after Wacha had thrown one of his few “hangers” of the early innings.
But Phils right fielder Peter Bourjos, a Cardinal the previous two seasons, turned in a brilliant, sliding catch near the line in the Cardinals’ fourth to rob Randal Grichuk of a hit that might have scored Yadier Molina from first.
Molina was credited with an infield hit with two out after the Cardinals had challenged first-base umpire Quinn Wolcott’s initial call of out.
Wacha allowed four hits through five scoreless innings and Philadelphia righthander Aaron Nola only two.
WACHA SURVIVES HIT BY PITCHER
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha survived a two-out double by Philadelphia pitcher Aaron Nola in the second inning Tuesday night. Nola, who had been hitless in 10 at-bats with seven strikeouts, lined his drive to the left-center-field wall but Wacha kept the game scoreless by striking out former Cardinal Peter Bourjos to end the inning.
Nola allowed a leadoff double by Matt Carpenter in the first but then retired Stephen Piscotty, Mat Holliday and Matt Adams in order although Adams hit the ball hard to right fielder Bourjos.
Cardinals Platinum Glove catcher Yadier Molina called for a pitchout and then gunned down Odubel Herrera trying to steal second for the first out in the Philadelphia third. Cardinals receivers have thrown out seven of 13 would-be thieves.
But the offense wasn’t doing much with Nola, a curveball practitioner who struck out four through three innings as the game remained scoreless.
CARPENTER PLAYS IN 27TH STRAIGHT
Two Cardinals had appeared in all 26 games so thrthfar this season. One, Matt Carpenter, will be leading off and playing third base Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. The other, infielder-outfielder Brandon Moss, is starting the game on the bench but is likely to be seen as a pinch hitter, a job in which he has hit two homers.
“Really?” asked Moss, when told about his consecutive-game streak. “I didn’t realize that.
“But it’s obvious that (manager Mike Matheny) likes to use the bench. And I think it’s a good thing because we have a deep bench.
“We don’t have your typical bench where you just have your pinch hitters or your fourth or fifth outfielders. We have guys who can play almost every day sitting on the bench. He gets us in there and it keeps us fresh, which is why we’re all producing.”
Center fielder Randal Grichuk, two for two, including a 443-foot homer off the bench on Monday, is back in the lineup in center field. In the Cardinals’ 27th game, Matheny hasn’t repeated a lineup from one game to the next.
ADAMS SHOWS VERSATILITY
Matt Adams, riding a four-game hitting streak and a .462 batsman at home this season, is at first base and hitting fourth in the Cardinals’ lineup which will back Michael Wacha. Adams, who has missed just one game this season, displayed the breadth of his game on Monday when he bunted for a single, drew a walk and then hit a 422-foot, opposite-field homer.
Adams said he never had bunted for a hit and homered in the same game.
“I worked hard in spring training on (bunting),” said the lefthanded-hitting Adams who tried, but mostly failed, at bunting for hits last year against defensive shifts. “I’m feeling more comfortable with it this year, for sure.
“If it’s that open, I’m going to try it. I’m not saying it’s always going to work.”
Matheny said, “As he continues to do that and proves that he can, they’re going to have to think about how to defend him and it might open up some spots.”
HARRIS CLEARED TO THROW
Righthander Mitch Harris, who appeared in just one spring game because of elbow problems, has been cleared again to start throwing in Jupiter, Fla., at the Cardinals’ spring training site. Harris was 2-1 with a 3.67 earned run average as a 29-year-old rookie last year, having served five years of active duty in the Navy after his graduation from Annapolis.
1. Matt Carpenter 3b
2. Stephen Piscotty rf
3. Matt Holliday lf
4. Matt Adams 1b
5. Yadier Molina c
6. Randal Grichuk cf
7. Kolten Wong 2b
8. Aledmys Diaz ss
9. Michael Wacha p
1. Odubel Herrera cf
2. Freddy Galvis ss
3. Maikel Franco 3b
4. Ryan Howard 1b
5. Cameron Rupp c
6. Darin Ruf lf
7. Cesar Hernandez 2b
8. Aaron Nola p
9. Peter Bourjos rf