There wasn’t exactly a pitcher’s duel at Busch Stadium Monday night. It was a show of power as batters from both teams swapped extra base hits, running up the scoreboard to a final 8-6, with the St. Louis Cardinals topping the Cincinnati Reds.
It came down to offense as pitchers from both teams struggled to command the ball all night. The game began with a four-pitch walk from St. Louis starter Tyler Lyons, and things spiraled out of control from there. By the end of the inning, the score was 4-0 Cincinnati and the Cardinals had their work out for them.
Leak wasn’t perfect either. He showed weakness and the Cardinals did what they do best — hit with runners in scoring position. It’s hitting with RISP that has set the Cardinals apart offensively this year, and they didn’t hold anything back on Monday. St. Louis hit 2-for-4 with RISP and left only three batters on for the night.
The Reds didn’t fare too badly at the plate themselves, as they also had some clutch hitting. They went 2-for-5 with RISP and continued to pack on the four-run lead they acquired in the second inning. When St. Louis closed in on them, Cincinnati fought back with another extra-base hit by Zack Cozart that scored a run in the sixth.
Time was beginning to run out for the Cardinals until Allen Craig changed everything in the seventh inning, hitting an opposite field home run to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game.
St. Louis’ seemingly effortless ability to provide clutch hits up and down the lineup has been the team’s greatest asset. Every team in the playoffs is going to have great pitching and great hitting, but timely hitting is a rare ability. Clutch hitting is what puts rings on fingers and if tonight is any indication of what’s to come, the NL better look out come October.