The Dodgers and Cardinals played one of the weirdest games of this season, as the Cards at one point led by seven, only to see the Dodgers cut the lead to one, but eventually the home team won by eight, a 16-8 triumph for St. Louis.
It was encouraging to see the Dodgers offense chip away at what felt like an insurmountable deficit, but a blowup in the eighth inning at the hands of Yency Almonte, was the dagger, to make this, once again, a blowout win for the Cardinals.
The comeback that never was
Any baseball fan is familiar with those games that get so out of hand that everything changes, from the vibe around the stadium to the moves made by each manager, and the sense of urgency, or lack thereof, that players might present.
After four innings, tonight’s game felt like one of those. The Dodgers' offense got on the board with a couple in the first, but then fell dead silent, as the Cardinals scored nine unanswered runs, with six in the third, and three in the fourth.
Julio Urías saw his night blown up, and then an overworked Phil Bickford coughed up another three, and it felt like we’d be resigned to five innings of lifeless play. Nevertheless, this team found a way to make this a game, well, before the final innings.
In the sixth inning, Miguel Vargas singled, David Peralta reached on an error, and Miguel Rojas singled home run a run, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 9-3, and removing starter Adam Wainwright from the game.
Génesis Cabrera came on to face the top of the order, but it wasn’t Mookie Betts at the plate. Trayce Thompson was the first to bat, because in the middle innings, the game was so out of hand, that Dave Roberts decided to give Betts a breather.
Thompson worked a wonderful at-bat with some great takes, and walked on eight pitches to load the bases.
Facing a left-hander, Freddie Freeman hit a grand slam for his 300th career home run, making this a two-run game in the blink of an eye.
Freddie joins the 300 club in grand style! pic.twitter.com/Jf8NvLEUT6— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 19, 2023
In the following inning, Max Muncy took Cabrera deep, and all of a sudden the Dodgers were only down a run.
In the end, none of it mattered as the Cardinals blew it back up in the bottom of the eighth, but in losses, one looks for small victories, and seeing a team get back into a game they trailed by seven, is certainly one of them.
Urías makes Dodgers’ history, but not in an ideal way
Julio Urías isn’t off to the greatest of starts in the year heading into free agency, and that’s been particularly magnified by the magnitude of his poor outings, which have put a serious dent in his season numbers.
The left-hander lasted seven innings in two of his last three starts, and got through the first two innings on Thursday unscathed.
However, in the third inning Urías allow not one, not two, not three, but four home runs in the same frame. It was the first time a Dodgers' starter allowed four bombs in the same inning since Ben Wade for Brooklyn on May 28, 1954.
Roberts pulled the plug on Urías after three innings, setting up yet another long night for the bullpen.
Andre Jackson helps the ‘pen, covering over a third of this game
The right-hander came into this game with the Dodgers down by seven, just with the duty to cover innings on a lost affair, but as his offense mounted a comeback, those innings became more and more important.
Ultimately, Jackson covered three full frames without allowing a run, but the Cardinals got to him in the bottom of the eighth, forcing Dave Roberts to use another pitcher, Yency Almonte, and between the two of them, St. Louis put up seven runs, capped by a Willson Contreras three-run shot, his second on the night.
Home runs: Freddie Freeman (8), Max Muncy (15); Willson Contreras 2 (5), Juan Yepez (2), Nolan Gorman 2 (12), Paul De Jong (6), Nolan Arenado (9),
WP — Adam Wainwright (1-0): 5⅔ IP, 5 hits, 5 runs (2 earned), 3 walks, 1 strikeout
LP — Julio Urías (5-4): 3 IP, 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers and Cardinals will play the second of this four-game series on Friday night (5:15 p.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network). Right-hander Tony Gonsolin will get the ball for Los Angeles, against St. Louis left-hander Steven Matz.