ATLANTA -After squandering scoring opportunities in the third and fourth, leaving two runners in scoring position, the Cardinals nudged across the tying run in the fifth inning Thursday night in the National League Division Series opener.
The ball didn’t leave the infield as the run was plated.
Harrison Bader beat out a tapper down the third-base line. Pitcher Miles Mikolas bunted him to second and Bader, untended by Keuchel, stole third without a throw. Dexter Fowler, down in the count at 1-2, rolled a grounder to second and Bader scored as the Cardinals caught up at 1-1.
Keuchel was lifted from the game after Tommy Edman hustled a double on a looper to left. Under-armer Darren O’Day relieved and dodged further trouble when shortstop Dansby Swanson dived to take a hit away from Paul Goldschmidt.
Mikolas, who allowed a run in the first inning, set down 11 hitters in succession from the second into the fifth before Ronald Acuna Jr., doubled with two out in the Atlanta fifth. But, after a visit from catcher Yadier Molina, Mikolas retired Ozzie Albies on pop to first baseman Goldschmidt.
MIKOLAS COOL AT FIRST, BUT HEATS UP
At 94 degrees for first pitch in SunTrust Park, the temperature for the Cardinals-Braves opener in the National League Division Series on Thursday was believed to be one of the highest for a postseason game. Ranking first is the 103-degree reading at Dodger Stadium for the first game of the 2017 World Series.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, however, was cool–at the least at the beginning, although he heated up. . Mikolas, who put together a two-year streak of 43 starts in which he had given up two walks or fewer, went to three-ball counts on the first three hitters.
He walked both Ronald Acuna Jr., and Ozzie Alibies but catcher Yadier Molina took care of the first one by throwing out Acuna Jr., trying to steal second. With Albies running on a 3-2 count, Freddie Freeman poked a slider to left, sending Albies to third.
Josh Donaldson hit a soft chopper out of Mikolas’ reach and headed for second baseman Kolten Wong. Base runner Freeman stopped near second. Wong reached for the ball and was about to backhand to shortstop Paul DeJong for the forceout but he couldn’t find the handle.
Albies scored on the error and the other runners were safe although this probably wouldn’t have been a double play. Mikolas retired the next two hitters on fly balls to left and only one run was scored in the inning.
Atlanta lefthander Dallas Keuchel set down the first five Cardinals over two innings, four on ground balls, before DeJong singled to left with two out in the second. But center fielder Acuna Jr.., made a sliding catch off Wong to end the inning.
The Braves ran themselves into an out in the second after Brian McCann doubled to left center to open the frame. Dansby Swanson flied to short right and then, with one out, Keuchel curiously tried to sacrifice to third McCann, who ranks No. …read more
Source:: Daily times