Winn's 12th-inning homer leads Cardinals to series-opener win

June 18th, 2024

MIAMI -- was not looking to put one out of loanDepot park on Monday night. Not with two strikes and a runner on third in the 12th inning of a tie game. Yet that is precisely what he did.

Winn’s two-run scorcher over the left-field fence helped the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-6 win over the Miami Marlins.

The Cardinals have won five of the past six; Miami has lost six straight and 12 of 14.

“I feel like I have been striking out a lot,” Winn said. “I am just trying to battle, put a good swing and make contact. With one out and the infield in, I was trying to get something in the air. He threw me a couple I could have hit in the air, but I missed them. But then he hung me a slider and, yeah.”

Miami, down two coming into the bottom of the 12th, made it 7-6 when Nick Gordon tripled into the right field corner to score Jake Burger.

Gordon tagged up from third with the game-tying run -- “I thought we were going to have to play another inning,” Winn joked -- only he got nailed at home on a laser throw from right fielder Dylan Carlson, which was clocked at 91.5 mph.

Carlson hit catcher Pedro Pagés on the fly.

“He unleashed a rocket. That was sick to watch,” Winn said. “I forgot he could throw upper-90s from the outfield. For him to be able to put it on the money was huge for us. [Gordon] was out by 10 feet. It was incredible what he did there.”

“Obviously it wasn't close when I got thrown out, but in that situation, he's got to make a good throw,” Gordon said. “He's got to make a perfect throw. He's got to be good. At the end of the day, we are professionals, but he's still got to make a play. We've been in a little bit of a rut, so we're trying to get something going … you make plays to make something happen.”

What turned out to be the final five innings spoiled what had been a classic pitchers' duel.

Sonny Gray faced the minimum through five innings, thanks to some terrific defense by Winn, who turned two double plays, and a fantastic catch at the wall by center fielder Michael Siani.

The Cardinals had a 1-0 lead off Siani’s homer to start the fifth against Miami’s Braxton Garrett, and the game stayed that way until the sixth, when Tim Anderson scored off a triple by Jazz Chisholm Jr.

“Overall, I thought we were in the right spot,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Our defense did a great job.’’

St. Louis broke things open with three runs in the eighth -- two coming on a two-out triple by Iván Herrera.

Marmol pulled Gray in the bottom half with a man on first and two out. But Jojo Romero issued a walk and three-run homer homer by Bryan De La Cruz.

“I thought Sonny did a nice job,” Marmol said. “It was a tough decision letting him go out there for the eighth. I know he was at 71 pitches, but that was a long eighth and it is tough to throw seven innings and then sit in the dugout. If the hamstring wasn’t something at the beginning of the year, it would be easier to let him go out there. But if we go down one more starter, we’re not in a really good spot.”

Gray ended up going 7 2/3 innings and was charged with two runs off five hits with four strikeouts as he failed to get his second straight win.

“My mindset, from the fourth inning on, was that I was going to finish the game,” Gray said. “That’s the M.O. I had every time I went out there: ‘Attack these dudes, continue to attack and you will finish this game.’ It didn’t end up playing out that way, but we got the win and it was a big one. Gets us over .500 and we fought to get there. Now it’s just continuing to push forward and not be content.’’