ST. LOUIS -- William Fowler saw the pitch once. It was a slider, just over 88 mph, that finished in the middle of the zone.When Dodgers reliever Thomas Stripling threw that same pitch again -- down to almost the exact same placement and speed -- Fowler wasn't missing. He turned
ST. LOUIS -- William Fowler saw the pitch once. It was a slider, just over 88 mph, that finished in the middle of the zone.
When Dodgers reliever Thomas Stripling threw that same pitch again -- down to almost the exact same placement and speed -- Fowler wasn't missing. He turned on the ball and smashed it deep over the wall in right-center, giving the Cardinals a late lead and the eventual win, 2-1, over the Dodgers on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.
"He's just such a great addition to our club in so many ways," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Fowler after the game. "And to be able to come in big like he's done it a few times, you know he knows we need that shot in the arm. We needed a win like this in a bad way."
Fowler's approach was simple. In a tie game with two outs in the eighth, he wasn't trying to do too much.
In fact, having struggled at points throughout the season and sitting at 0-for-3 in the game, Fowler said he was simply trying to put something solid in play away from the Dodgers' defense.
"I told somebody before the game, " Fowler said, "I gotta hit over the wall. I can't hit it to anybody."
The execution matched the plan.
Fowler's solo shot left the bat with an exit velocity of 106.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It traveled an estimated 429 feet, making it the longest of his seven home runs this season, as well as his third longest of the Statcast™ era (2015-present).
It also marked the second straight game the Cardinals homered off a Dodgers bullpen that entered the day leading the NL in ERA.
"Their bullpen has been tough. They're going to come right at you," Fowler said. "Just got a good pitch to hit."
Still, after the game, Fowler wasn't interesting in talking about his own accolades. Asked repeatedly about the at-bat, he maintained it was crucial for the team to get a win given the pitching performance of Carlos Martinez (8 IP, 1 ER) that day.
He did, however, give a comment when asked about the reaction from the right-hander. Upon seeing the home run, Martinez jumped out of the dugout, greeting Fowler after his lap around the bases.
"I know he was elated," Fowler said. "And he should be, the way he pitched."
Scott Chasen is a reporter with MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Cardinals on Wednesday.