Game Report: Cardinals 5, Reds 4

By Rob Rains

People who either left Busch Stadium before the ninth inning Monday night or changed the television channel to the Olympics might have needed a double-take when they saw the game’s final score.

Flat for eight innings, the Cardinals trailed 4-0 going to the bottom of the ninth. They had gone 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and even with two outs, and a runner on first, there was no sign of a developing rally.

A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases. Matt Carpenter’s single cut the lead to 4-2. Stephen Piscotty dropped a single in front of the left-fielder to make it 4-3. That’s when the last-place Reds really began to self-destruct.

A walk to Matt Holliday loaded the bases again. Ross Ohlendorf replaced Tony Cingrani and walked Brandon Moss on a 3-2 pitch to tie the game. Then his second pitch to Yadier Molina hit him in the back, providing a new definition to the term game-winning hit.

When the Cardinals had two outs and the runner on first, their win expectancy on Fangraphs was down to 0.4 percent.

According to ESPN’s Stats and Info, going into Monday, major league teams this season were a combined 3-636 when trailing by at least four runs going to the ninth inning.

It was the Cardinals’ first comeback from a 4-0 deficit to win in the bottom of the ninth since Aug. 19, 2005 against the Giants, when Jim Edmonds won the game with a two-run double.

It was the first win for the Cardinals on a walkoff hit by pitch since Jon Jay was hit by a pitch by the Reds’ J.J. Hoover on Aug. 14, 2014.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals had left seven runners in scoring position in being shut out through eight innings … Piscotty had gone 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position but was still leading the league in that category when he came through in the ninth … Molina recorded his first walkoff RBI since May 15, 2012 … The runs snapped a 21-inning scoreless streak against the Reds dating back to the second game of last week’s series in Cincinnati … The comeback matched the Cardinals’ biggest of the season, last accomplished against the Padres on July 21 when they trailed 5-1 going to the eighth before they scored four runs to tie it and then got the winning run in the ninth.

On the mound: The rally took away a potential loss for Michael Wacha, who gave up three runs in the second and one in the fourth before leaving after five innings … Matt Bowman worked two scoreless innings before Zach Duke pitched the eighth and Seth Maness the ninth and kept the Reds from adding to their lead.

Key stat: Before the ninth inning, the Cardinals had gone a combined 3-for-34 in their last three games with runners in scoring position, then got the back-to-back hits from Carpenter and Piscotty.

Of note:

The Cardinals had been 2-4 in the first six games of this stretch of nine consecutive games against the last-place Reds and Braves, with one of the wins coming in a 1-0 game when the only run was driven in by the pitcher … The Cardinals had scored a combined 10 runs in their last 51 innings against the Braves and Reds before getting the five runs in the ninth…. Former first-round pick Luke Weaver made his debut at Triple A on Tuesday night in Memphis’ game at New Orleans. He worked six shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four … Four of the Cardinals selections in this year’s draft, playing at State College, were named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team on Monday. Selected were pitcher Eric Carter, catcher Jeremy Martinez and infielders Tommy Edman and Danny Hudzina.

Looking ahead
: Mike Leake, 0-1 with a 10.32 ERA in two starts against his former team, will get the start for the Cardinals on Tuesday night with Brandon Finnegan scheduled to start for the Reds.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains