Cards outlast rain, Twins for 5th straight win
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals wrapped up a wet homestand and extended their winning streak to five with a 3-2 win over the Twins in a game twice interrupted with rain delays on Tuesday. Each of the Cardinals' last three games featured at least one rain delay. In between, there was also a postponement on Sunday.
Despite ominous skies, Tuesday's matinee started on time and saw the Twins jump out to a quick lead with Trevor Plouffe's RBI double off Michael Wacha. Rain halted play for 45 minutes in the bottom half of the frame, and the Twins never gained offensive traction again against the Cardinals' righty.
Wacha sailed until the next rain storm arrived with him on the mound and one out in the seventh. He wouldn't return after that 47-minute delay but still earned his ninth win, a total reached by only two other National League pitchers this year.
"I felt good about it," Wacha said afterward. "I kept the ball down most of the time. First inning, I gave up a couple hits there, leaving the ball up in the zone. Other than that, I felt good about myself making pitches whenever I needed them."
The Cardinals supported Wacha with three runs off Twins starter Kyle Gibson. Yadier Molina doubled and scored on two productive outs in the second. Mark Reynolds' two-run single gave the Cardinals a lead an inning later. Gibson (4-5) allowed six hits and struck out four over six innings.
"Gibson pitched well," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "[He] probably made a little bit of a mistake to Reynolds there. Wacha was tough, and we had to fight the delays and all that stuff, but at the end of the day we had some chances there to find a way to get even or go ahead, and we couldn't do it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cleaning up: After homering in his previous two games, Reynolds delivered a tie-breaking, two-run single in the third. It was just the fifth hit Reynolds has tallied in 26 chances with a runner in scoring position and two outs this season. The Cardinals are now 16-1 in games where Reynolds, now the team's cleanup hitter, drives in at least one.
"I was trying to barrel something and was fortunate to find a hole," Reynolds said. "I think he was trying to sink it in there, and I think he left it middle-in instead of getting it under my hands. I found a hole out there."
Wacha weathers the storm: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier led off the game with a single, stole second and scored on Plouffe's double to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead before rain delayed the game in the bottom of the first. Wacha returned from the delay to retire 11 straight Twins hitters.
Wacha, who routinely has starts delayed or interrupted by rain, managed the latest storm without issue. He set down 15 of the first 16 batters on just 54 pitches after the first-inning delay. Wacha would have kept pitching, too, if not for another delay in the seventh. Seth Maness took over when play resumed and allowed an inherited runner to score.
"We started off with the rain like that, we sat him down for a little while, and it's always tough to see what it's going to look like when he comes back out, but he's had quite a few of these starts," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha. "He just comes out and makes pitches. I thought his fastball got better as the game went, which made his changeup even better. And just another quality start for us."
Not on Yadi's watch: Baseball's top prospect, Byron Buxton -- who logged his first Major League hit Monday with a triple -- led off the eighth inning with a single off reliever Matt Belisle and represented the tying run. Trying to collect his first career stolen base, Buxton took off for second to move into scoring position with one out, but he was cut down on a perfect throw from Molina to second baseman Kolten Wong. The out came just before Torii Hunter recorded a two-out single. More >
Stranded: Kurt Suzuki notched his first double since May 26, driving in Eduardo Nunez to pull the Twins within 3-2 just three pitches after play resumed from a second rain delay in the seventh. Suzuki advanced to third on a wild pitch from Maness, but pinch-hitters Eddie Rosario and Kennys Vargas left Suzuki stranded at third.
The Twins missed another chance in the ninth, when Nunez hit a one-out double to the wall off Kevin Siegrist, but Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar flied out around a walk to end their final threat. More >
"St. Louis, we know, has a knack for finding a way to win those kind of games, and they've done it two days in a row against us," Molitor said. "It's a tough loss, because we had our chances there."
"We have guys out there that can do it and step up. That's kind of what our season has been defined as right now, so it's not surprising. He's a great pitcher. Every guy out there has the ability to get three outs in an inning." -- Trevor Rosenthal, on watching Siegrist collect his second straight save in his absence More >
Twins: Byron Buxton will make his Target Field debut when the Twins return home to face the Cardinals at 7:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday in the first of eight straight home games. Tommy Milone gets the start for Minnesota and will try to lower his 7.71 home ERA.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez will take the mound as the Cardinals open a two-game series in Minnesota on Wednesday. The club is 10-2 in Martinez's starts this season. The game opens a three-city, eight-game road trip for St. Louis, which is 17-14 away from home.
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