It should no longer come as any surprise. Pitching loomed large in yet another Arizona victory. Madison Bumgarner took the mound to face off against Miles Mikolas and the St. Louis Cardinals. Bumgarner had early help, as Arizona’s offense spotted him a run before he ever took the mound. With one out in the first, David Peralta reached on an error by Kolten Wong, whose throw to first was so poor that not even Paul Goldschmidt could haul it in. Peralta promptly stole second base and then scored when Ketel Marte followed the steal with a double into the gap. The Diamondbacks added to their lead with singles from Carson Kelly, Bumgarner, and Starling Marte in the second.
The Cardinals tied things up when Tyler O’Neill and Dexter Fowler went back-to-back on consecutive pitches, both dropping the ball into the left field seats. The Cardinals then took the lead in the fifth inning. With one out, Mikolas was allowed to hit for himself and slapped a single to left. After a grounder by Kolten Wong to Goldy at first, Harrison Bader came to the plate. With two outs and a 1-1 count, the Cardinals decided to get aggressive with the base running. Mikolas took off for second with Bumgarner’s first move. Bader lined the curve sharply into right center. With Starling Marte running towards the right center gap to cut off the ball, Virtual Ron Warner got the windmill going and waved a hard-charging Mikolas home. Marte managed to cut the ball off, but with his momentum going away from the play, his throw home was not in time to get Mikolas, meaning the Cardinals’ pitcher ran first-to-home on a single.
All that hard running may have played into what happened in the bottom half of the inning. Mikolas allowed a single to Ketel Marte. Then, with Jake Lamb battling his way to a 3-2 count, Marte stole second om the final pitch of the at-bat as Lamb struck out looking at a very hittable fastball. A full count strikeout of Christian Walker later, Josh Rojas singled past Wong at second, scoring Marte. Carson Kelly followed that up by watching a 3-0 fastball down the pipe after three pitches nowhere near the zone. The next pitch of the at-bat was nowhere close again, putting runners at first and second. That was when Virtual Mike Schildt decided that Mikolas had done enough. From there out, it was up to the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Madison Bumgarner wasn’t done yet. He decided to give the Diamondbacks another three innings of perfect ball, nine up, nine down for the Cardinals.
John Gant did his job, keeping the Arizona scoreless for four outs before turning the ball over to Andrew Miller for the eighth inning. After cruising through the eighth, Miller was sent back out to pitch the ninth inning, the score still tied at three. Miller walked the first batter of the inning, Carson Kelly, on four pitches. That brought Giovanny Gallegos out to pitch. Gallegos managed to get Nick Ahmed to strike out swinging. That brought Stephen Vogt to the plate in the role of pinch-hitter for MadBum. Vogt hit a low liner to right which Fowler misplayed, resulting in Vogt safe at first and Kelly taking third. With Kelly at third and less than two out, Starling Marte struck out swinging, stranding Kelly at third. The Cardinals then turned to Ryan Helsley in an attempt to get David Peralta. Peralta showed patience and drew a 3-2 walk, loading the bases. Helsley then got ahead of Ketel Marte 0-2. On the next pitch, Marte turned on a cutter and sent it 424 feet to center field for a grand slam, putting the Diamondbacks up four. Yoan López then coasted through a perfect ninth inning to finish off the victory for the Diamondbacks.
Final Score: AZ 7 - STL 3
Player of the game honors went to Ketel Marte. The second baseman was instrumental in five of the seven runs scored by Arizona, giving him the nod just ahead of MadBum, who turned in yet another strong performance.
The same two teams finish up their season against each other tomorrow afternoon. The match-up is expected to be Zac Gallen versus Adam Wainwright.
The Diamondbacks remain in second place in the NL West, 2.5 games behind the Dodgers.