MILWAUKEE — The Cardinals got everything they could have asked for and more from their two starting pitchers in Monday’s doubleheader against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Combined, Kwang Hyun Kim and Daniel Ponce de Leon allowed only two runs on seven hits over 13 innings – but neither came away with a win for their effort.
Kim, coming off the injured list nine days after he spent a night in the hospital because of a kidney blockage, shut out the Brewers on three hits over seven innings in game one, but left with the game still scoreless as it headed into extra innings.
Ponce de Leon, coming back up from the satellite camp in Springfield, pitched into the seventh in game two, giving up only four hits in six-plus innings, one of which was a two-run homer by former Cardinal Jedd Gyorko. He matched his career high with nine strikeouts.
“Enormous, clutch, timely, all those superlatives,” said manager Mike Shildt. “KK was fabulous, Ponce was tremendous. They were outstanding.”
The Brewers got the eighth-inning win in game one, scoring twice after the Cardinals had taken the lead in the top of the inning for the 2-1 win. The Cardinals came back in the second game to score a run in the ninth and held on for a 3-2 victory.
Here is how the games broke down:
At the plate
The Cardinals only run in the opener came on an RBI single by Tommy Edman in the eighth.
In the second game, they got an RBI infield single from Tyler O’Neill with the bases loaded and a run-scoring single from Brad Miller, following a double by Paul Goldschmidt, before Paul DeJong put them ahead with a two-out RBI single in the ninth.
For the two games, they were a combined 15-of-66 at the plate and struck out 31 times. They had a combined six hits in 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position with 20 of those at-bats coming in the second game.
On the mound
Kim was able to pitch around two walks in the fourth and also stranded two runners on base in the sixth and did not allow a runner past second base. He walked three, one intentionally, and struck out six, throwing 85 pitches.
In the eighth, the Brewers rallied for two runs off Ryan Helsley and Austin Gomber, the winning run scoring on a sacrifice fly.
In the second game, Alex Reyes took over for Ponce de Leon and stranded the would-be winning run on third and struck out three in the seventh inning; Genesis Cabrera got an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded in the eighth and Tyler Webb got help from DeJong and Kolten Wong turning a key double play before a game-ending strikeout in the ninth.
Cardinals pitchers combined for 23 strikeouts in the two games.
In the first five starts of his career, Kim has allowed only one earned run in 27 2/3 innings, a 0.33 ERA. That run came in his first start. Over his last four starts, he has not allowed an earned run in 24 innings. Kim also has allowed only three hits in each start, and according to Stats Inc., he is the first pitcher in the NL to make four consecutive starts in which he threw at least five innings, allowed three or fewer hits and no earned runs since earned runs became an official stat in 1912.
The Cardinals are still coming to grips with Sunday’s death of scout Charles Peterson, who had been battling COVID-19 for nearly a month.
“This is a very difficult time for many of us,” said John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations. “At 46, he is gone too early. I’ve talked to a lot of people on our staff today and they are just sad."
Peterson had worked for the Cardinals since 2012, most recently being responsible for scouting players in Georgia, South Carolina and north Florida.
“It’s hard to accept,” Mozeliak said. “It doesn’t seem fair... From the moment I met him I will never forget him. He just had that type of personality. We talked a lot, we talked a lot about his career, how to balance ambition with doing what you are good at. He opened up my eyes to a lot of things. He was insightful, he brought wisdom to the game. When I think back what his impact was to our amateur department, I know he will be missed. He brought a lot of light to a lot of people.”
To make room for Kim on the roster, Austin Dean was placed on the injured list. He suffered an injury to the flexor tendon in his right elbow making a throw in Sunday’s game.
The team did not make a move with John Gant, who had to come out of Sunday’s game because of a groin strain. The team is still optimistic he will only need to miss a couple of days.
Adding Kim in place of Dean gives the team an extra pitcher as they at least temporarily go with a three-man pitch.
Mozeliak said Johan Oviedo’s latest COVID-19 test was negative and if he tests negative again on Tuesday he likely will be available to start the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
The satellite camp in Springfield is expected to close this weekend. Mozeliak said teams will be able to have an expanded taxi squad for the playoffs and those players will be able to work out in St. Louis but will be separated from the active roster. On the taxi squad for this trip are Andrew Knizner, Justin Williams, Max Schrock and Junior Fernandez.
Jack Flaherty will get the start on Tuesday, the only nine-inning game in this five-game series against the Brewers.