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Mozeliak: Cards 'don't envision' trading pitchers

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

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CHICAGO -- As others speculate about Carlos Martinez's potential availability at the Trade Deadline, Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak downplayed the likelihood that the team would deal Martinez or any of the other high-end pitchers they hope to build around.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

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To move Martinez, in particular, would require the Cardinals to be overwhelmed by the return. Including the two option years on Martinez's contract, the Cardinals have the 26-year-old locked up for another five seasons at $69.5 million. It's a reasonable cost for a player who, since becoming a permanent member of the rotation in 2014, has posted a 3.22 ERA and .600 winning percentage.

As far as what the Cardinals might do before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, Mozeliak, for the second time this week, responded with the succinct answer of "TBD."

"I think we're going to take that day by day," Mozeliak continued. "You can't just make a knee-jerk reaction to say we did something. I definitely think how we play over the next 10, 11 days could definitely move the needle in how we think about it."

The Cardinals' schedule has something to do with that. Though they opened the second half 7.5 games behind the Cubs in the National League Central, the Cards have an opportunity to make a serious dent in that deficit. Eight of their first 11 games out of the break come against the Cubs.

St. Louis is also bunched up among eight clubs in the Wild Card race. Only 6.5 games separate the top and bottom of that group.

Mozeliak is open to being nudged in one direction or another should the Cardinals open this second half with a statement under interim manager Mike Shildt. They'll never succumb to being a seller, but there would be a different calculus depending upon whether the Cardinals decide to buy for this year or for the future.

"I think we feel like we've been kind of straddling the fence a little bit, if you will, looking at what a pursuit might look like versus also what it might look like to move a player," Mozeliak said. "Again, [we] haven't made any concrete decisions on what it's going to look like, but we're going to remain open-minded."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez

Shildt's tweaks bear fruit, but Cards fall short

Molina has 4 hits in 2-hole; Pham goes deep batting 8th
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Mike Shildt's first bold statement as interim manager came not in what he said, but rather in what he wrote.

As part of the reset the Cardinals initiated with last weekend's managerial change, Shildt has workshopped a lineup that he believes will showcase commitment, prioritize stability and enhance the defense. Thursday's 9-6 loss to open a five-game series against the Cubs exposed some flaws in the design, though that's not likely to push Shildt to abandon one of his first key decisions since taking over for Mike Matheny.

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CHICAGO -- Mike Shildt's first bold statement as interim manager came not in what he said, but rather in what he wrote.

As part of the reset the Cardinals initiated with last weekend's managerial change, Shildt has workshopped a lineup that he believes will showcase commitment, prioritize stability and enhance the defense. Thursday's 9-6 loss to open a five-game series against the Cubs exposed some flaws in the design, though that's not likely to push Shildt to abandon one of his first key decisions since taking over for Mike Matheny.

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"You also have to make sure guys know that you are with them," Shildt said prior to the second-half opener. "That's part of the composition of the lineup."

A middle-of-the-order presence under Matheny, Yadier Molina tallied a career-high four hits -- and sparked the Cardinals' first run-scoring opportunity -- as the club's new two-hole hitter. Tommy Pham, a fixture near the top of the order all season, dropped down to the eighth spot, where he had a three-hit game and tattooed a changeup 433 feet onto Waveland Ave. in the second inning.

Video: STL@CHC: Wong singles home DeJong in 9th

The Cardinals' offensive production -- which included a pair of two-out RBI hits from Kolten Wong, who has hit sixth in Shildt's first two games as manager -- was sustained throughout the evening. They chased Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks in the fifth, scored in six frames and finished with 15 hits.

"I don't want to put a blind eye to this game, but also draw out some real positives from it in that you're talking about a lineup that got turned over several times," Shildt said. "I'm really optimistic about the at-bats we had and the execution."

The problem was that the Cubs were the ones to tally the big inning.

Video: STL@CHC: Cubs score 5 in 5th, anchored by Happ's HR

A 3-1 lead evaporated in the fifth when Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez, who relied more heavily than usual on his changeup, gave up five runs on as many hits. Ian Happ blasted a two-run homer off the righty, and a series of defensive blunders complicated his night.

That fifth inning opened with the first of two errors by shortstop Paul DeJong. The Cardinals finished with their eighth three-error game of the season.

"It wasn't the cleanest game," said third baseman Jedd Gyorko, whose third-inning miscue led to an unearned run. "Obviously, I have to set the tone right there and make a play. We're better than what we threw out there today."

Video: STL@CHC: Bryant reaches on Gyorko's fielding error

Cleaning up the defense was an impetus for some of Shildt's changes -- most notably in nudging Jose Martinez out of an everyday role. Shildt has talked to Martinez about the change, as the organization evaluates whether he might best fit as a trade chip this month.

"Right now, that asset could be a great bat off the bench," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "Obviously, long term, that is something we need to think through."

Martinez's diminished role opens up more regular opportunities for Gyorko and Dexter Fowler, both of whom have started two straight games under Shildt. The pair combined to go 1-for-9 on Thursday.

Igniting the offense and stabilizing the defense will only take the Cardinals so far if they can't also fix the bullpen. A club that now trails the Cubs by 8 1/2 games in the National League Central increased the difficulty of their attempted comeback by allowing Chicago to tack on three late-inning runs. Those proved to be the difference.

Video: STL@CHC: Pham scores on Russell's throwing error

Cardinals relievers have been knocked around for 31 runs in the team's last seven games.

"When you're facing a team like Chicago, you have to bring your 'A' game," Molina said. "We didn't bring the 'A' game tonight, defensively or on the pitching side."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Seeking to both neutralize and fool a Cubs offense that was familiar with his arsenal, Martinez attacked the Cubs with a heavy dose of changeups and cutters, one of which he would like back. With an opportunity to limit the damage in the fifth, Martinez threw a 1-2 cutter that Happ deposited over the wall in right-center. The home run, which put the Cubs ahead by three, was just the fifth allowed by Martinez in 17 starts this season.

"I was trying to go off the plate," Martinez said. "But that pitch didn't cut much and came in straight."

Video: STL@CHC: Happ blasts a 2-run homer to right-center

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Seeking to shelve the struggles of a disappointing first half, Pham enjoyed some instant results from the work he did over the All-Star break to correct the mechanics of his swing. He obliterated a 79.1-mph changeup from Hendricks for his second home run in a month's span. With an exit velocity of 107.5 mph, the homer was Pham's third-hardest hit this year.

Video: STL@CHC: Pham crushes a home run 433 feet at Wrigley

SOUND SMART
Before Thursday, the Cardinals had won 32 consecutive games in which they notched at least 14 hits. Their last loss in such a game came on Sept. 2, 2015, against the Nationals.

HE SAID IT
"This is clearly a big weekend, but they are all big weekends. I don't get too concerned about the opponent. The opponent is the opponent. We show up and really it's about how we play. And if we play the best version of ourselves, we take the results and feel good about it." -- Shildt, when asked about the club's first five-game series at Wrigley Field since September 2003

UP NEXT
The Cardinals' five-game series against the Cubs will continue on Friday as right-hander Jack Flaherty (3-4, 3.24 ERA) opposes lefty Jon Lester (12-2, 2.58 ERA) in a 1:20 p.m. CT matchup. Flaherty, who threw five scoreless innings in his final start of the first half, will be making his first career appearance at Wrigley Field.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Yadier Molina, Tommy Pham

Warner named bench coach, fills final vacancy

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Interim manager Mike Shildt filled his final coaching vacancy Thursday by naming Ron "Pop" Warner as his bench coach. Warner joins Mark Budaska and George Greer, both of whom will serve as hitting coaches, as the new additions to the staff.

Warner has spent his entire professional career in the Cardinals organization, first as a player (1991-99) and then as a coach, manager and, most recently, assistant field coordinator. Like Shildt, Warner has managed several players on the Cardinals' roster.

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CHICAGO -- Interim manager Mike Shildt filled his final coaching vacancy Thursday by naming Ron "Pop" Warner as his bench coach. Warner joins Mark Budaska and George Greer, both of whom will serve as hitting coaches, as the new additions to the staff.

Warner has spent his entire professional career in the Cardinals organization, first as a player (1991-99) and then as a coach, manager and, most recently, assistant field coordinator. Like Shildt, Warner has managed several players on the Cardinals' roster.

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"He sees the game really well," Shildt said of Warner. "He has a real appreciation of how the game is played. He can look in the other dugout and know how matchups work. He is a valuable set of eyes and experience."

Though Warner will serve as Shildt's bench coach, he will not be the one to step in and manage if Shildt were to be ejected from a game. That responsibility would fall on third-base coach Jose Oquendo.

"I felt like given Mike's relationship with Oquendo and Jose's experience it just seemed natural," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

A numbers game

With a new role comes a new number for Shildt, who turned in his No. 83 uniform for one with a No. 8. It was the number Shildt said he had as a Little League player and just so happened to be the number worn by his baseball idol, Cal Ripken Jr. Shildt worked odd jobs for the Orioles' Double-A affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., and, as a kid, he interacted with the future Hall of Famer on Ripken's way to Baltimore.

"When he came through, he modeled it so well in 1980," Shildt said of Ripken. "Then when Cal went to the big leagues, and was wearing No. 8, I was like, yeah, this is my number."

Pitching plans

Miles Mikolas, whose wife Lauren gave birth to twins on Monday, will remain on the paternity list through Friday. He'll rejoin the Cardinals on Saturday and will then start the series finale a day later.

The Cardinals, who plan to call up Luke Weaver to start the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, will also need to summon a starter from Triple-A Memphis to start Monday in Cincinnati. Mozeliak said the club is close to finalizing that decision.

Injury report

• After being sidelined by soreness on Sunday, closer Bud Norris was available out of the Cardinals' pen on Thursday. Harrison Bader, who exited the team's last game with a hyperextended left knee, was also cleared by the medical staff to play in the series opener at Wrigley Field.

• The Cardinals activated outfielder Tyler O'Neill from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Memphis. O'Neill had been sidelined by a left hamstring strain.

Michael Wacha, who has been out for four weeks because of a left oblique strain, has still not been cleared to begin a throwing program.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Thursday's top prospect performers

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Jesus Luzardo extended his scoreless streak to 26 innings as he spun another gem in Double-A Midland's 3-1 win over Corpus Christi.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Thursday.

Jesus Luzardo extended his scoreless streak to 26 innings as he spun another gem in Double-A Midland's 3-1 win over Corpus Christi.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

The Athletics' top prospect (No. 20 overall) hasn't surrendered a run since June 11 and hasn't allowed an earned run since June 6. The lefty has been lights out all season, posting a 2.36 through 14 starts with Midland after beginning the year with Class A Advanced Stockton, and Thursday's outing was no different.

Luzardo threw 42 of his 68 pitches for strikes and issued just one walk and one hit as he cruised through five innings. Luzardo also recorded seven strikeouts, bringing his total to 106 through 83 1/3 innings this season.

Luzardo's seventh strikeout

The 20-year-old got into a rhythm right away as he retired the first nine batters he faced. The Hooks put their leadoff man on base in both the fourth and fifth innings, but no damage was done and Luzardo retired six in a row to finish his outing.

Other top prospect performances from Thursday's action:

• No. 10 overall prospect Michael Kopech (White Sox No. 2) put together another strong start for Triple-A Charlotte. The hard-throwing right-hander yielded seven hits, but limited the damage to just two runs (one earned) over six innings. Kopech, who has struggled with consistency this season, has thrown the ball well lately, giving up one earned run or less in four of his past five starts. Also worth noting that Kopech's command was strong as he threw 70 of his 102 pitches for strikes while striking out nine and walking one.

• No. 100 overall prospect Dakota Hudson (Cardinals' No. 3) fell two outs shy of his first complete game this season, but still picked up his 13th win for Triple-A Memphis. Hudson, who was lifted after 6 1/3 innings, struck out eight and gave up one run on five hits as he lowered his ERA to 2.36 through 18 starts.

Braves No. 12 prospect Bryse Wilson has been nearly untouchable lately for Double-A Mississippi. After throwing seven scoreless frames, Wilson has turned in a scoreless performance in three of his past four starts. The 20-year-old right-hander matched his season high with nine strikeouts -- a total he's reached in three of his past four starts -- as he threw 64 of his 99 pitches for strikes. Wilson also walked one and gave up three hits.

Wilson throws seven scoreless

• Cardinals No. 27 prospect Elehuris Montero hit a pair of homers -- his first career multihomer game -- as part of a 3-for-5 performance for Class A Peoria. The 19-year-old hit two run homers in both the third and seventh innings.

Watch: Montero goes yard

Cubs No. 18 prospect Keegan Thompson continues to post zeros for Double-A Tennessee. The right-hander threw five scoreless innings and hasn't given up a run in three of his past four starts. Thompson threw 42 of his 72 pitches for strikes, struck out five, walked one and gave up two hits.

Dodgers No. 11 prospect Gavin Lux extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a leadoff triple for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. The 20-year-old later added another hit to finish 2-for-4 and boost his average to .324. Lux, a first-round pick from the 2016 Draft, last went hitless on June 26. Since then, he's raised his average 15 points and collected multiple hits in nine of the 19 games.

Reds No. 8 prospect Tyler Stephenson set a career high with two homers and tied a career high with five RBIs in a huge game for Class A Advanced Daytona. Stephenson, who is hitting .282 through 76 games this season, hit a two-run shot in the sixth and then capped his night with a three-run blast in the ninth.

Watch: Stephenson launches homer

• Reds No. 9 prospect Vladimir Gutierrez gave up one run over seven innings for Double-A Pensalcola and has now surrendered one earned run or less in seven of his past eight starts. Not only did Gutierrez keep the runs off the board, but he also piled up the strikeouts, reaching double digits (10) for the second time in his career.

Tigers No. 11 prospect Mike Gerber helped lift Triple-A Toledo to a win as he clubbed a pair of homers for the second time this season. Gerber, who has 12 homers through 59 games this season, hit solo homers in the fifth and eighth innings before finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Watch: Gerber rips 2nd homer

Twins No. 16 prospect Kohl Stewart seems to be finding his rhythm with Triple-A Rochester. Stewart gave up one run over six innings, while striking out eight and giving up a trio of hits. After giving up 11 runs in 10 innings over his first two starts, the right-hander has allowed one earned run in each of his past two outings (12 innings).

• Blue Jays first-round Draft pick Jordan Groshans came through with the second three-hit game of his career, finishing 3-for-5 with a homer in the Rookie-level GCL. The 18-year-old has gotten off to a fast start in his brief career and is slashing .372/.440/.590 with three homers through 21 games.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

What could happen in NL Central at Deadline

MLB.com

The All-Star Game has come and gone, and the non-waiver Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away. Until July 31, much of the talk in baseball will be focused around buyers and sellers, blockbuster moves and small deals and an endless buzz of trade rumors.

The National League Central might be one of the most intriguing divisions over the next 12 days. The Cubs have climbed back into first place, and they have by far the NL's best run differential. After an aggressive offseason, the Brewers' recent skid has given them more reason to make another big splash. The Cardinals ousted manager Mike Matheny, but will they shake up their roster?

The All-Star Game has come and gone, and the non-waiver Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away. Until July 31, much of the talk in baseball will be focused around buyers and sellers, blockbuster moves and small deals and an endless buzz of trade rumors.

The National League Central might be one of the most intriguing divisions over the next 12 days. The Cubs have climbed back into first place, and they have by far the NL's best run differential. After an aggressive offseason, the Brewers' recent skid has given them more reason to make another big splash. The Cardinals ousted manager Mike Matheny, but will they shake up their roster?

The Pirates are in a different place than they were two weeks ago, now standing within one game of .500 and 5 1/2 games back in the race for the second NL Wild Card spot. The Reds are 40-38 under interim manager Jim Riggleman, so perhaps they'll be more inclined to hang on to players previously presumed to be trade candidates.

This week, MLB.com spoke with scouts and executives to see what they think will happen in the NL Central.

CUBS
What they need to do: The Cubs will look for rotation depth, an NL executive suggested, especially if they don't think Yu Darvish is close to helping them. An NL scout noted the Cubs need more consistency from their rotation, so they should pursue a starter. That lines up with what Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer recently said about the Cubs' search for pitching. With no other glaring needs, an NL executive said, they'll likely be in the market for another back-end bullpen arm.

What they can get: The Cubs don't have a particularly strong system, one NL official pointed out, so they may not be in position to make a big move. An NL scout said their Major League depth theoretically frees them up to move someone like Ian Happ or Mike Montgomery, who might start for another club, if they wanted to pursue a bigger acquisition. They don't have a representative on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, and they moved their best trade chips to get Aroldis Chapman (2016) and Jose Quintana ('17).

Video: The MLB Tonight crew discuss the Brewers' needs

BREWERS
What they need to do: One NL executive said the Brewers need pitching, both in their rotation and bullpen, along with help in the middle infield. The executive expected Milwaukee to pursue a contractually controllable starting pitcher and at least one infield upgrade. The Brewers have been relying on Tyler Saladino, Jonathan Villar, Brad Miller and Hernan Perez up the middle. An NL scout took it a step further, saying the Brewers "must" get a starter and prioritize that over a shortstop.

What they can get: An NL official said the Brewers had the necessary pieces to acquire All-Star shortstop Manny Machado, who was dealt to the Dodgers on Wednesday, even if they didn't complete the trade. The fact that they pursued Machado, the consensus top player available before the Trade Deadline, puts them in play for just about anyone. One NL scout said the Crew has the prospects and depth in their farm system to get a "high-end starter." They've also been linked to infielders Whit Merrifield, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, among others, and a number of starters, including rental lefty J.A. Happ.

CARDINALS
What they need to do: Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak recently said the club's next move was "TBD," so their direction is unclear. The Cards have underperformed, leading one NL scout to say they simply need their roster to play better. The scout said their hitters and starters are good enough to win, but they lack depth in the bullpen. Their biggest concern, the scout said, remains in the dugout following Matheny's dismissal.

Video: Cards dismiss manager Matheny, hitting coach Mabry

What they can get: Bullpen help is never in short supply this time of year, so one scout suggested they look to "the usual suspect teams" to shore up their relief corps. The Mets, Orioles, White Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays and Padres, among others, should have veteran relief help available. Lefty relievers like Zach Duke (a former Cardinal), Luis Avilan and Jake Diekman may be of some appeal.

PIRATES
What they need to do: Some in the industry believe the Pirates might be better off taking part in a multi-year rebuild, but the Bucs have said they intend to be competitive this year, and next. In that case, an NL executive said, they can't trade core players like Starling Marte and Jameson Taillon. One NL scout figured that predicament, along with their recent surge, will lead them to wait until closer to July 31 to take any action. If they're still toward the back of the Wild Card race, the scout said, they won't be "big-time buyers." If they've fallen completely out of the mix, they can move veterans, then use the rest of the season to evaluate their young talent -- including prospects like Austin Meadows, Kevin Newman, Kevin Kramer and Clay Holmes -- and determine who they can build around going forward.

What they can get: One NL scout figured closer Felipe Vazquez would bring in a haul of young talent, given the demand for young, controllable relievers, but Vazquez is the kind of core player the Pirates won't move if they want to contend next season. Their most likely trade candidates are left fielder Corey Dickerson, catcher Francisco Cervelli (if healthy), starter Ivan Nova and infielders Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and David Freese. One scout figured Dickerson could bring in at least one organizational top-10-caliber prospect, and thought there would be interest in Harrison, Mercer and Freese as utility/role/bench players. Cervelli's concussions complicate his future, and while Nova is a reliable veteran, he isn't the kind of front-line arm most contenders are looking for this time of year.

REDS
What they need to do: The Reds' recent run has inspired some confidence in Cincinnati, and one NL executive pointed out that they have a lineup that could contend, as long as it's led by Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. However, one NL scout said the Reds need to capitalize on their short-term assets and sell. The scout said Cincinnati could flip Matt Harvey to a contender and get back as much talent as possible, then market Billy Hamilton as a fourth outfielder who could change games with his speed and defense.

What they can get: One NL scout noted that this deadline will shed light on their overall plan. If they think they can contend as soon as next year, it might make sense to keep Gennett, closer Raisel Iglesias and reliever Jared Hughes. The scout credited Cincinnati as having a strong core of position players and "a chance to have a good 'pen if they stay where they are." One scout thought they could swap Hamilton, at least, to land some young pitching prospects to eventually bolster their unproven rotation.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals

Cards face big decisions entering 2nd half

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Having already put the team on notice by making a rare in-season managerial change, the Cardinals appear to be approaching another crossroads.

They still see a pathway to the postseason, which is why principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. settled on replacing manager Mike Matheny with Mike Shildt last weekend instead of waiting until after the season. But an honest evaluation of the roster reveals additional deficiencies and multiple holes. Injuries, inconsistency and underperformance have hampered momentum and forced the organization to re-evaluate just how committed it is to making a push for the postseason in 2018.

ST. LOUIS -- Having already put the team on notice by making a rare in-season managerial change, the Cardinals appear to be approaching another crossroads.

They still see a pathway to the postseason, which is why principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. settled on replacing manager Mike Matheny with Mike Shildt last weekend instead of waiting until after the season. But an honest evaluation of the roster reveals additional deficiencies and multiple holes. Injuries, inconsistency and underperformance have hampered momentum and forced the organization to re-evaluate just how committed it is to making a push for the postseason in 2018.

As Cardinals management huddles to decide on the franchise's direction ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, here's a more detailed look at how the club could approach the next few weeks:

Buyer or seller? 'TBD'
Those were literally the three letters offered by president of baseball operations John Mozeliak on Sunday when asked whether Matheny's dismissal foreshadowed other moves to come. Mozeliak has noted that it would be prudent to view potential deals through a long-term lens, though that's not to say the club is ready to punt on the season. In order to strike a balance between competing now and building for later, the Cardinals will likely pursue players who have multiple years of control remaining as well as deals that can help balance the roster.

What they are seeking?
Truly, anything is on the table. The club would be open to adding prospects who could fill future needs, but it will also entertain offers for Major League players who can help immediately. They are interested in restructuring their bullpen, and, specifically, could benefit from bringing in another left-handed arm. As far as possible additions on the position-player side, the Cardinals have expressed interest in swapping out a right-handed hitter for a left-handed one. Their search for an impact bat continues, too, though it's unlikely they fill that need with a move made this month.

What they have to offer
The Cardinals are in position to offer prospects or players on their Major League roster. The club has a wealth of pitching prospects that may interest other teams, and with Yadier Molina blocking prospects Carson Kelly and Andrew Knizner, the Cardinals could deal from that catching depth. Jose Martinez, who doesn't have an obvious defensive fit in St. Louis, would be a candidate to be flipped to an American League club. And if the Cardinals fall further out of contention, they may even entertain dealing closer Bud Norris, who will be a free agent after this season.

Video: CLE@STL: Jose Martinez crushes a 3-run homer to left

Possible scenario
The Cardinals could capitalize on Martinez's offensive value and improve their defense by sending the first baseman/outfielder to a team that could use Martinez as a designated hitter. As far as potential relief targets, San Diego closer Brad Hand would fit the team's desire to add a lefty reliever who could be a late-inning option for multiple seasons. Hand is under contract through 2020 after signing an extension earlier this year.

Video: Hand on trade chances, All-Star Game and McGwire

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals say Shildt 'was born' to manage

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- In the fall of 2011, as then-general manager John Mozeliak turned his attention to finalizing staffing assignments for the organization's affiliates, he wondered if he was making a mistake.

It wasn't a matter of whether he believed Mike Shildt could be effective in making the managerial leap from Rookie-level Johnson City (Tenn.) to Double-A Springfield (Mo.). Quite the opposite, in fact. Mozeliak's hesitation was driven by the void Shildt would be leaving at the Rookie level.

ST. LOUIS -- In the fall of 2011, as then-general manager John Mozeliak turned his attention to finalizing staffing assignments for the organization's affiliates, he wondered if he was making a mistake.

It wasn't a matter of whether he believed Mike Shildt could be effective in making the managerial leap from Rookie-level Johnson City (Tenn.) to Double-A Springfield (Mo.). Quite the opposite, in fact. Mozeliak's hesitation was driven by the void Shildt would be leaving at the Rookie level.

"He was so good at the lower levels," Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations, recently recalled. "I think he would be defined as a true teacher. To me, I always think that's so important at those kind of teams. He's always been able to change his message, to adapt his message to the students or, in this case, players. The one thing I've always admired about him is his ability to adapt."

Adaptability might now be the most important trait for Shildt as he embarks on an unexpected trial run as Cardinals manager. Shildt was still in uniform as the club's bench coach late Saturday when he learned that principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak had selected him to take over for Mike Matheny.

Video: Mike Shildt takes over as Cardinals' interim manager

The magnitude of the opportunity struck him as he showered in the clubhouse that evening. The news was still settling in a day later as a sopping-wet Shildt celebrated a victorious managerial debut by being spun in a laundry cart and doused with water.

"Talk about a surreal moment," he said as a puddle formed around him. "I just got through managing a game for the St. Louis Cardinals."

He'll have at least 68 more, as the Cardinals are committed to sticking with Shildt as their skipper through the remainder of this season. His tenure could be longer, too, if the Cardinals enjoy a second-half turnaround that leaves them wanting to see more.

So far, that's been the case each time Shildt has taken on a fresh challenge.

His playing career stalled at the collegiate level, so Shildt worked his way into the professional realm by going to scout school. That landed him a job with the Cardinals, who, after identifying qualities they thought would allow Shildt to shine in an on-field role, invited him to put on a uniform.

Shildt transitioned from hitting coach to bench coach to position coach to manager in the farm system within a four-year span. Along the way, he absorbed every morsel of instruction, advice and technique that he could from longtime instructor George Kissell. He still reviews those lessons on an almost daily basis. Shildt has become a student of the organization's history.

"This is what he was born to do," said infielder Greg Garcia, who played under Shildt in the Minors. "I'm telling you, this guy bleeds Cardinal red. This is his organization. He loves it more than anything."

Though he becomes the first Major League manager since Dave Trembley (2007-10) to ascend to the position without having played professionally, Shildt built an impressive coaching resume on his climb. He won three championships in three years, and he is now in his fourth coaching position with the Cardinals since the start of the '17 season.

Brought onto Matheny's staff as the quality control coach, Shildt transitioned to third-base coach last June and became bench coach this year. His journey through the system coincided with several players he'll now guide.

And their endorsements are strong.

"One thing with Shildt, no matter how good or bad you were going, he always made it his purpose to let you know that he was on your side and to make you believe in yourself," said Kolten Wong, who played for Shildt in Double-A and Triple-A. "It makes you want to play hard for him. When it came out that he was going to be the manager, it put a smile on my face knowing this dude, he's going to have our back no matter what. He's going to fight for us no matter what. He really deserves this chance."

After a whirlwind weekend, Shildt returned to his home in Charlotte, N.C., this week to spend time with his mother, Lib. It was a fitting follow-up to the unexpected promotion given that Lib provided her son with his early connection to the game. She worked for the Orioles' Double-A team in Charlotte, and Shildt tagged along to her workplace.

He took odd jobs around the park and spent time as a batboy, clubbie and scoreboard attendant. Shildt watched the likes of Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray pass through on their way to Hall of Fame careers. Those were the undergraduate years of Shildt's baseball education. He was absorbing back then, too.

"He's someone that pays attention to the little things. It's always what he's done," Mozeliak said. "Anybody that has ever been around Mike Shildt knows that he's very detailed."

During his time in North Carolina, Shildt planned to reach out to every member of the team's big league roster to open a line of direct communication. He planned to talk about what's been and what's to come, with Shildt challenging and empathizing in the same way he has for years.

His goal? To get everyone moving forward, together.

"Look, my job is to put guys in a position to where they can succeed," Shildt said. "I'm sitting here as the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals -- one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. I see it as an opportunity, not a threat. And so, I'm going to appreciate in that dugout what I have. I'm blessed beyond belief."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Rolen IU's new director of player development

Hall of Fame candidate joins Hoosier's coaching staff to recruit players on campus
MLB.com

Scott Rolen is jogging onto the diamond again; just not for Major League Baseball.

The eight-time National League Gold Glove Award winner, seven-time All-Star and Hall of Fame candidate returns to his native of Indiana -- serving as the director of player development for the Indiana University Hoosiers.

Scott Rolen is jogging onto the diamond again; just not for Major League Baseball.

The eight-time National League Gold Glove Award winner, seven-time All-Star and Hall of Fame candidate returns to his native of Indiana -- serving as the director of player development for the Indiana University Hoosiers.

Rolen played 17 seasons for the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds from 1996-2012. Viewed as the best defensive third baseman of his era -- becoming just the fourth third baseman to have at least 2,000 career hits, 500 doubles, 300 home runs and 1,200 RBIs -- Rolen finished his career patrolling the hot corner in Cincinnati from 2009-12.

"I've enjoyed watching the success and development of IU baseball over the last five years under Tracy Smith and Chris Lemonis," Rolen told Indiana University Athletics. "Hopefully I can be a positive contribution to future successes here in Bloomington. I'm excited to be a Hoosier."

The 43-year-old Rolen will work alongside Indiana baseball head coach Jeff Mercer, recruiting coordinator Dan Held, pitching coach Justin Parker and assistant coach Casey Dykes.

Rolen's primary role as the Hoosier's director of player development will be collaborating with the coaching staff to recruit players on campus, in accordance with NCAA rules. Having spent 17 years on the big stage, Rolen is the perfect mentor for young athletes seeking valuable advice, lifestyle choices and informed decisions when pursuing professional baseball careers.

"I couldn't be more excited to add Scott Rolen to our staff," Mercer told Indiana University Athletics. "The impact Scott will have on the student athletes in our baseball program will be unique among college programs. The value for the staff and players, gaining knowledge daily from someone with such a historic career and who truly values the growth of young people, is special."

Video: Rolen on new breed of Phillies, his time with team

The Phils drafted Rolen in the second round after his senior year at Indiana's Jasper High School in 1993, where he was named Mr. Baseball. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound athlete hustled from the outset, debuting for the Phils in '96 and earning the NL Rookie of the Year Award the following year. He batted .281/.364/.490 with 2,077 hits, 316 home runs and 1,287 RBIs in his career.

Rolen was a member of the 2006 World Series championship team with St. Louis and won the '04 NL Silver Slugger Award in one of the best seasons of his career -- hitting .314 with 34 home runs and 124 RBIs. He spent four seasons in the top 10 WAR position players, capping his career with a lifetime 70.2 WAR.

Rolen received 10.2 percent of the votes in his first year on the ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Eligible candidates need to receive at least 75 percent of the vote for election into Cooperstown. However, he did finish with the minimum 5 percent of votes required to return to the ballot in 2019 -- set to have nine more chances for the for the election. Rolen joins three-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time All-Star Darin Erstad as Hall of Fame candidates to join college coaching staffs. Erstad serves as head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies

Mikolas to paternity list; Bowman set to return

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Miles Mikolas, who missed the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard to return home for the birth of his twins, will open the second half on the paternity list, the Cardinals announced on Wednesday. Reliever Matt Bowman will join the club in Chicago on Thursday to fill the roster spot until Mikolas returns.

Players are eligible to remain on the paternity list for up to three days, though it was not immediately known whether Mikolas planned to be away for that long. The timing of Mikolas' departure was a bit unexpected as his wife, Lauren, had previously announced that she was due to give birth in September.

CHICAGO -- Miles Mikolas, who missed the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard to return home for the birth of his twins, will open the second half on the paternity list, the Cardinals announced on Wednesday. Reliever Matt Bowman will join the club in Chicago on Thursday to fill the roster spot until Mikolas returns.

Players are eligible to remain on the paternity list for up to three days, though it was not immediately known whether Mikolas planned to be away for that long. The timing of Mikolas' departure was a bit unexpected as his wife, Lauren, had previously announced that she was due to give birth in September.

The Cardinals have Mikolas scheduled to start next on Sunday in the finale of the club's five-game series at Wrigley Field. Carlos Martinez and Jack Flaherty will start on Thursday and Friday, respectively. John Gant will pitch one game of Saturday's doubleheader, and the Cardinals will call Luke Weaver up from Triple-A to start the other.

Bowman last pitched for the Cardinals on June 18, after which he was placed on the disabled list due to blisters on his right middle finger. Bowman was simultaneously diagnosed with Raynaud's syndrome, which was affecting blood circulation in his hand.

When Bowman was activated from the disabled list two weeks ago, the Cardinals optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Memphis. In 20 1/3 innings with the Cardinals this season, Bowman has posted a 5.75 ERA.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Miles Mikolas

Wednesday's top prospect performers

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

Very few hitters are hotter than Ryan Mountcastle right now and the Orioles' top prospect continued to rake in Double-A Bowie's 5-3 loss to Altoona.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

Very few hitters are hotter than Ryan Mountcastle right now and the Orioles' top prospect continued to rake in Double-A Bowie's 5-3 loss to Altoona.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Mountcastle, the No. 79 overall prospect, has a hit in 16 of his past 17 games after going 2-for-4 with a homer. Mountcastle has also homered in back-to-back games and is 5-for-13 (.385) in the three games since Sunday's Futures Game.

The 21-year-old has certainly played well lately, but the truth is he's pretty much hit all year, although his season got off to a bit of a late start because of a fractured hand. Mountcastle hit .278 in May, then bumped that up to .324 in June and has a ridiculous .357 average through 13 games in July.

While Mountcastle's calling card has always been his ability to hit, it's important to note that he's hitting well this year while also learning to play a new position. After coming up as a shortstop, the 2015 first-round pick was shifted to third late in 2017. After playing 37 games at the corner last year (as well as in the Arizona Fall League), Mountcastle has played third base exclusively in 2018.

Mountcastle goes yard

Overall Mountcastle is hitting .318/.366/.528 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs through 62 games.

Other top prospect performances from Wednesday's action:

• No. 6 overall prospect Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1) came up clutch with a pair of walk-off hits as Double-A Hartford swept a doubleheader against Reading. Rodgers went 2-for-3 with a walk-off single in Game 1 and then won the second game, which he finished 1-for-3, with a two-run double.

Rodgers hits a walk-off

• No. 34 overall prospect Taylor Trammell (Reds' No. 3) went 2-for-4 with a double and his first homer since late May for Class A Advanced Daytona. Trammell, who won the Futures Game MVP on Sunday, is 4-for-12 in three games back with Daytona. Jose Siri (Reds' No. 7) also had a big night at the plate, hitting a pair of homers and finishing 3-for-5 with four RBIs for Double-A Pensacola.

• No. 72 overall prospect Stephen Gonsalves (Twins' No. 4) was dominant once again. The lefty, who has struggled with command this season, walked five, but still threw six scoreless frames for Triple-A Rochester. Gonsalves has given up one earned run or less in six straight starts and has a 3.34 ERA through 14 starts with Rochester this season.

Gonsalves finishes strong

Astros No. 29 prospect Brandon Bailey was unhittable as he extended his scoreless streak for Class A Advanced Buies Creek. Bailey, who hasn't given up a run over his past three starts (16 innings), cruised through five hitless innings. The right-hander issued a pair of walks and struck out five while throwing 34 of his 55 pitches for strikes.

Cardinals No. 7 prospect Randy Arozarena was perfect at the plate in the first two-homer game of his career. Playing for Double-A Springfield, Arozarena went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double, four RBIs and four runs scored. The 23-year-old hit a solo homer in the fifth and then, needing a triple for the cycle, went deep again -- this time a two-run shot -- in the seventh.

Watch: Arozarena goes yard

Marlins No. 27 prospect Tyler Kolek and Osiris Johnson, the club's second-round pick from the 2018 Draft turned in strong performances in the Rookie-level GCL. Kolek, making his first appearance since August 2017, gave up one hit in a scoreless inning. Offensively, Johnson put together the best game of his young pro career, going 4-for-6. The 17-year-old, doubled, hit his first homer, drove in three runs, scored three runs and stole a base.

Red Sox No. 3 prospect Tanner Houck spun his second scoreless start of the season for Class A Advanced Salem, yielding five hits over six innings. The outing was a nice bounceback start for Houck after he had given up five runs over six innings in his last start. The right-hander also showed strong command in the outing as he struck out seven and issued just one walk. Red Sox No. 9 prospect Mike Shawaryn also had a good day on the mound, firing six innings of one-run ball in a win for Double-A Portland.

Yankees No. 26 prospect Garrett Whitlock has been lights out this season and that continued in his debut with Double-A Trenton. The right-hander posted a 1.55 ERA through 87 1/3 innings with Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa before being promoted to the Thunder where he spun five scoreless frames. Whitlock struggled with his command as he walked five and didn't record a strikeout, but only gave up three hits and kept himself out of trouble.

• Astros fourth-round pick Alex McKenna hit his first two homers for Class A Short Season Tri-City. The 20-year-old, who finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs, has hits in nine of his past 10 games and is slashing .288/.386/.475 through the first 16 games of his professional career.

Watch: McKenna launches 2nd homer of game

• Kevin Woodall, the Cardinals' 10th-round pick from the 2018 Draft, hit a trio of homers as he finished 3-for-3 for Rookie-level Johnson City. Woodall, who also drew two walks, hit a two-run homer in the first, a solo shot in the fifth and capped his night with another two-run blast in the seventh.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Yadi adds to Midsummer Classic resume

Cardinals catcher and 9-time All-Star smacks long flyout in pinch-hit AB
MLB.com

Given how Yadier Molina's peers spent chunks of the past two days raining praise on his defensive ability, and how he's transformed and set standards at the catcher position over his 15-year career, it was notable that Molina's most recent All-Star appearance came without strapping on any gear.

Molina entered as a pinch-hitter for the National League in the fifth inning and flew out to deep center in his lone at bat in Tuesday's 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which the American League won, 8-6, in 10 innings. Molina raised his hands to his head in disbelief as Mike Trout settled under his long drive to the warning track.

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Given how Yadier Molina's peers spent chunks of the past two days raining praise on his defensive ability, and how he's transformed and set standards at the catcher position over his 15-year career, it was notable that Molina's most recent All-Star appearance came without strapping on any gear.

Molina entered as a pinch-hitter for the National League in the fifth inning and flew out to deep center in his lone at bat in Tuesday's 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, which the American League won, 8-6, in 10 innings. Molina raised his hands to his head in disbelief as Mike Trout settled under his long drive to the warning track.

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The stormy conditions at Nationals Park contributed to Molina's surprise: He struck the first-pitch fastball from Jose Berrios at 100.6 mph and a 31 degree launch angle, per Statcast™. Such contact goes for hits 72 percent of the time.

Molina has typically avoided such misfortune in his All-Star career. Tuesday marked the second time in seven All-Star appearances (he did not appear in two games he was selected for) that Molina did not register a hit.

Tweet from @Cardinals: Yadier Molina and Miles Mikolas are on their way to the 2018 All-Star Game! #STLCards pic.twitter.com/jmNWUtq04r

In all, Molina is 5-for-9 with a home run and two runs scored in his career in the Midsummer Classic. His .556 average ranks second all-time among players with at least nine All-Star plate appearances. Only Hall of Fame center fielder Richie Ashburn, who hit .600 in four All-Star games, hit at a better clip.

Molina reflected on his string of Midsummer Classics during Monday's media day.

"My advice [to younger players] would be to enjoy it," Molina said. "These things happen fast."

Video: 2018 ASG: Molina represents the Cardinals in D.C.

Molina was lifted for pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar in the seventh. He was the only Cardinals player eligble to participate; Miles Mikolas was selected, but departed the festivities to attend a family matter in his hometown of Jupiter, Fla.

Willson Contreras and J.T. Realmuto, both of whom were teenagers when Molina debuted in 2004, split catching duties for the NL.

Molina and Contreras, the outspoken catcher of the rival Cubs, have clashed in the past. But Molina's influence is perhaps more noticeable in Contreras than in any other current backstop. The athletic, fiery Contreras has earned a reputation for his aggressive style behind the plate, where he moves lithely, commonly throws behind runners and is known for his elite arm strength.

Such are the skills that made Molina synonymous with the position, and have fueled recent debate over his future Hall of Fame candidacy. His appearance Tuesday night did nothing to hurt it: Molina's ninth All-Star selection with the Cardinals tied him with Albert Pujols and Bob Gibson among the franchise ranks.

Only eight catchers in Major League history have earned more All-Star appearances at the position. Seven are enshrined in Cooperstown.

On Monday, Molina was asked how he felt about being compared to Hall of Famers.

"I don't like to think about it right now, but it's in the back of my mind," he said. "Obviously you have that in the back of your mind. It's great to be on the lists with those names. But right now I'm concentrated on winning games."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Yadier Molina

On record-setting night, AL outslugs NL

MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

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WASHINGTON -- The ball wasn't flying out of Nationals Park quite as frequently as it did during Bryce Harper's heroic hometown homer binge a night earlier, but it was flying all the same in a dinger-driven, record-breaking 89th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night.

Video: 2018 All-Star Game sets new record with 10 home runs

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In the end, the two standout swats were the back-to-back solo shots hit by Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer -- off a Dodgers pitcher (Ross Stripling), no less -- in the top of the 10th inning of what became an 8-6 victory for the American League.

Video: 2018 ASG: Bregman wins MVP, gives car to his mother

Bregman was given the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet for his role in the AL's sixth straight win in the Midsummer Classic.

"I took a cutter down the middle of the first pitch and kind of went into battle mode and just was trying to put a line drive in play, and it left the yard," said Bregman. "It was crazy. It was a lot of fun."

But while the result reflects the AL's recent dominance in this summer showcase and, in a way, the Astros' standing as defending champs, the game itself was reflective of the homer-happy times we live in.

Video: 2018 ASG: AL bash 5 homers to earn extra-innings win

"It was like a regular-season game with the home runs accounting for pretty much everything," said Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ, who made a rare turn in the "closer" role by getting the save in the 10th. "Maybe a few less walks than normal, but pretty standard stuff. We were commenting in the bullpen that that's the way it's going these days."

The two teams combined for 10 homers, destroying the previous record of six that had last been reached in 1971 by some gentlemen named Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente -- Hall of Famers, all.

Video: 2018 ASG: NL crush 5 home runs in Washington, D.C.

Maybe not all of the blasts on this night were hit by guys who are Cooperstown-bound. But Bregman, Springer, Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, Willson Contreras, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Christian Yelich, Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto collectively put up a performance for the All-Star ages. All but one of the game's 14 runs was driven in by a long ball.

Video: 2018 ASG: Segura clobbers a go-ahead 3-run HR

"To kind of empty your tank and hit homers at this event is probably the best thing imaginable," said AL and Astros manager AJ Hinch. "Just to have that kind of emotion that comes with the home run. Especially when the big boys hit it, and especially when the Astros hit it."

Video: 2018 ASG: Hinch on Bregman, Springer in All-Star Game

The AL seemingly had the game in hand thanks to Segura's pinch-hit three-run homer off Josh Hader in the top of the eighth. But Gennett wowed the crowd and stunned the junior circuit by taking Mariners closer Edwin Diaz deep in the bottom of the ninth to tie it.

To extras it went, and it didn't take long for Bregman and Springer to summon the Fall Classic magic of old. The AL added another run on -- of all things -- a sacrifice fly from Michael Brantley. And though Votto's solo shot in the bottom of the 10th kept things interesting, Happ was able to close it out before any more dinger drama developed.

Video: 2018 ASG: Sale K's 1 in scoreless 1st inning

So this was a night for watching it fly and letting it fly. AL starter Chris Sale threw a fastball clocked by Statcast™ at 100.7 mph -- his fastest pitch since 2010. NL starter Max Scherzer threw his four fastest pitches of the season en route to striking out four in two innings of work.

Video: 2018 ASG: Scherzer fans 4 batters in ASG start

The All-Stars capitalized on their opportunity to showcase their skills in the nation's capital, and they let their personalities show, too, with in-game selfies and mic'd-up position players. Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor felt so bad when he couldn't muscle a drive over the wall that he dropped down and did some pushups. It was that kind of night.

Video: 2018 ASG: Lindor hits the grass for some pushups

There was even some off-the-field drama developing, with reports swirling about Manny Machado possibly heading to the Dodgers as he played what might have been his last game in a Baltimore Orioles uniform. In an in-game interview with FOX Sports and MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Machado acknowledged the not-so-subtle storyline by saying, "If this is the last time, hopefully I treated them well, I did everything I could for the organization."

Video: 2018 ASG: Machado talks All-Star Game, trade rumors

The AL could be losing one of its signature stars. But it won a game that very much resembled a Derby.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gennett's game-tying homer might get lost to history, given the end result, but he still put himself in a pretty cool spot in the All-Star history books. When he hit his two-run, 396-foot blast off Diaz, Gennett became just the third player to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of a Midsummer Classic, joining Ralph Kiner in 1950 and Fred McGriff in '94. That sent the All-Star Game into extras for a second consecutive year. The last time that had happened was 1966-67.

Video: 2018 ASG: Gennett hits game-tying HR in the 9th

SOUND SMART
This was the first game in MLB history -- regular season, postseason or All-Star -- in which five players homered for each team.

HE SAID IT
"In the beginning, it was, 'Is anybody going to get a hit other than a homer?' And at the end, it was, 'Are we going to have enough pitching to get out of this mess?'" -- Hinch

UP NEXT
Oh yes, they'll meet again. The 90th All-Star Game will take place on July 9, 2019, at Cleveland's Progressive Field, which last hosted the Midsummer Classic in 1997 (when it was still known as Jacobs Field). The AL will take an All-Star edge into that contest, having broken the all-time tie Tuesday by improving to 44-43-2 against the NL.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Alex Bregman, Willson Contreras, Scooter Gennett, Aaron Judge, Jean Segura, George Springer, Trevor Story, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Christian Yelich