There is no easy way to put this: a simple, run-of-the-mill loss would have been far better than the loss the Rockies took today.
That is saying nothing of the eventual final score. Injuries were how the Rockies suffered perhaps their biggest defeat of the season.
Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela took the mound for his 19th start of the year this afternoon. It would end up his shortest of the season, a five-out showing ended by a lower body injury suffered while running to cover first base on a ground ball.
It is unjust to presume a recovery timetable without a diagnosis, but judging by how Senzatela was carried off the field, his outlook for the rest of 2022 could be bleak.
The Cardinals tacked five earned runs on Senzatela, posting four hits in the first inning (all singles). After an early flyout in the second, a double to left and a groundout, a right-side ground ball by Brendan Donovan would be the final pitch of Senzatela’s day.
To make matters worse for the Rockies, the injuries did not stop there. Outfielder Charlie Blackmon legged out a ground-ball single in the first inning; despite remaining on the base paths and taking the field for three outs, he was removed from the game in the bottom of the second inning.
The score was 10-0 Cardinals after the third frame. A buzzsaw Adam Wainwright stood in the Rockies’ way for seven innings. Albert Pujols hammered career home run number 690 in four-run fashion.
The Rockies remain winless at Busch Stadium since 2018.
Gomber takes over against old squad
In January 2021, pitcher Austin Gomber was included in the package deal that sent Nolan Arenado to St. Louis. After the injury to Senzatela, it was Gomber tasked as the immediate replacement, working again in his old ballpark.
After an abnormal, extended on-field warmup, Gomber promptly allowed an RBI double to Paul Goldschmidt. This pushed across the Cardinals’ fifth run of the day, and the inherited runner that scored was charged to Senzatela.
Gomber remained in the game for six more outs, facing 12 hitters in that span. Consecutive walks opened the third inning, followed by an RBI single by Dylan Carlson. A pair of strikeouts would follow, but another walk would load the bases with two outs.
The Cardinals would then pinch-hit a machine.
HOME RUN NO. 690 FOR ALBERT PUJOLS IS OH SO GRAND!!!— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) August 18, 2022
TV: Bally Sports Midwest
Stream: https://t.co/T19nzOKKEf#STLCards pic.twitter.com/LPQfcwchmi
Win probability for the Cardinals would remain above 99 percent for the rest of the afternoon.
Wainwright absolutely carves
In his previous start before today, 40-year-old Adam Wainwright threw a complete game against the Brewers. He tacked on seven more innings this afternoon, keeping him on pace for approximately 200 innings this season.
He did so by recording a perfect fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh inning. Wainwright faced 23 batters, two more than the minimum 21 over seven innings.
Three hits were recorded by the Rockies in the first seven innings. Ryan McMahon singled to open the second inning but was caught stealing second to end the frame. This would end up being the Rockies best run-scoring opportunity of the entire day.
Wainwright’s final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.
(Give that man his statue, St. Louis.)
Bird, Stephenson toss low-leverage preservation work
The mound at Busch Stadium was a lonely place for anybody wearing purple this afternoon, but the extended outings by Jake Bird and Robert Stephenson helped preserve the setup and closer core of the Colorado bullpen.
Bird and Stephenson allowed a combined six hits and three runs over four innings, running into a scorching hot lineup with plenty of momentum. It wasn’t a great showing, but for the purpose of keeping others rested, it helped put an end to this contest.
Cardinals bullpen caps off shutout
There was little reason to push Wainwright after seven innings and with a 12-run lead, so Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol rolled with Genésis Cabrera and Chris Stratton for the final six outs.
A leadoff walk by Cabrera in the eighth gave the Rockies a mild chance at breaking the shutout, but three consecutive batted-ball outs would strand Elehuris Montero at first. Stratton allowed a ground-ball single with one out, but ended the threat with a game-ending double play.
Bernard gets a hit
A small little something we can cheer about: Wynton Bernard recorded his fourth-career hit in the ninth inning. He is now 4-for-14 in four games (.286/.286/.572).
(The plane flight out of seemingly-cursed St. Louis, of course.)
The San Francisco Giants will make their way to Coors Field to open a three-game set on Friday. Colorado’s José Uréna will toss against San Francisco’s Alex Wood, and first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MDT.