Though Bader did not tally a hit in the win, he twice pushed in a run by taking a pitch off his body with the bases loaded. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler plunked him on the left elbow during a four-run second inning. Pedro Baez later misfired on a fifth-inning fastball, which grazed Bader on the right wrist.
In doing so, Bader became the first Cardinal to collect two RBIs via a hit-by-pitch in the same game. The last player to do it elsewhere was Reed Johnson in 2005.
“Over the course of 162 games, every RBI matters,” Bader said. “Whether you walk or get a single or whatever, they all count. It came at a good time. If I have to wear it for the club, I’ll do it again.”
Once on base, Bader wreaked havoc there, too, to help the Cards play catch-up. He scored the final run in the second inning by racing home from second on Buehler’s wild pitch. Never hesitating as he rounded third, Bader registered a sprint speed of 29.1 feet per second, according to Statcast. For context, a sprint speed of 27 feet/second is considered Major League average.
The wild pitch, which caromed all the way down to the Cardinals’ dugout, also scored Jedd Gyorko from third.
“I noticed out of the hand, saw the ball in the dirt,” Bader said. “As I was rounding third base, I just picked up the first baseman to see what he was doing. He wasn’t going after it too hard, so I just took a chance and took the extra base. There’s no hesitation. You have to be aggressive, and the situation allowed me to be aggressive.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Cards player to score from second on a wild pitch was Randal Grichuk, who did so against Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium on May 23, 2017. The play also brought back memories of a game last August when Bader showcased his speed by scoring from second base on a groundout.
“He’s ready with that good secondary lead and to pounce,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “And so once he sees the ball in the dirt, he’s gone. His mindset, like we saw last year in Colorado: Score. Good players anticipate, and that’s what he did.”
Bader also came around to score in the fifth inning. After he took his free base, Matt Wieters followed with a go-ahead two-run single for St. Louis. Bader advanced to third and then came home on a fielding error by second baseman Max Muncy.