ST. LOUIS -- Twelve hours after Harrison Bader received the call that he was headed to the Cardinals, the outfielder recorded his first Major League hit in the ninth inning of a tie game. Tuesday truly became a memorable day when he scored the game-winning run for a 3-2 victory
ST. LOUIS -- Twelve hours after Harrison Bader received the call that he was headed to the Cardinals, the outfielder recorded his first Major League hit in the ninth inning of a tie game. Tuesday truly became a memorable day when he scored the game-winning run for a 3-2 victory over the Rockies at Busch Stadium.
"It's been a long time coming in the sense that I always dreamed about this moment," Bader said. "It's been a whirlwind. You just take it and you roll with it."
Bader doubled off Jake McGee to open the ninth. After moving to third on Greg Garcia's sacrifice bunt, the Cardinals' No. 6 prospect scored the walk-off run when Jedd Gyorko hit a shallow sacrifice fly to right field that gave Bader just enough time to tag up and race home at 29.9 feet per second. His dash home was the fastest from third base for a Cardinals player this year. Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez's throw beat the speedy Bader, but the hop eluded catcher Ryan Hanigan.
"We knew [Bader] was fast watching him all spring and hearing the reports," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You get him on third base, that's one of those situations [where] we got to take a chance and trust in the speed. Jedd got enough and Bader did the rest. I'm sure it's a first game he'll never forget."
The Rockies -- who hold a 4 1/2-game lead over the Cubs in the National League Wild Card race -- tied it on Trevor Story's 14th homer of the season, off Matt Bowman to open the eighth.
The Cardinals had established an early lead in the first inning when Paul DeJong hit a two-run homer, his seventh this month. He matched the mark for most by a Cardinals rookie in July and is tied for second place among NL home run leaders this month.
Lance Lynn did his part to maintain the lead, holding the Rockies scoreless through six innings and giving up just three hits. The right-hander struck out six and allowed two walks. Amid considerable trade speculation, Lynn has now given up one run in his last 25 1/3 innings. The win also kept the Cardinals four games back of the Brewers in the NL Central.
• Lynn locked in as trade speculation swirls
After his bumpy start to the night, Jon Gray put together a solid outing, striking out six. In his five innings, the right-hander gave up eight hits but only allowed the home run. Gray did not issue a walk in the game, the first time he has done so in a start this season.
"It was not the greatest start for me, but settling down, making good pitches was key," Gray said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
What a Story: The Cardinals bullpen continued its recent struggles in the eighth as Matt Bowman gave up a leadoff home run to Story to tie the game, 2-2. The blown save marks the Cardinals' 15th this season, which is fourth-most in the National League.
• Story surging with renewed mental approach
"Wasn't that bad of a pitch," Matheny said. "That's the bottom of the zone, the inner portion of the plate, Story made the right swing on it."
Phamtastic grab: Lynn gave up his second hit of the day to Hanigan to start the sixth, but after a quick double play, the Cardinals needed just one out to keep Lynn's scoreless streak alive. Charlie Blackmon hit a line drive to left field, but Tommy Pham made a spectacular inning-ending diving catch that left Blackmon staring in disbelief. Statcast™ rated the grab as a 4-star play with just a 38 percent catch probability, as Pham had just 3.8 seconds to cover 58 feet.
"Game's on the line, kind of a do-or-die moment. ... As soon as you see that ball making contact with the glove, you just put your head down and run in a straight line." -- Bader, on the game-winning play
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
DeJong is one of only two players to ever hit double-digit home runs for both the Cardinals and Triple-A Memphis in the same season. He joins Rick Ankiel, who did so in 2007. DeJong has 13 with each team, while Ankiel spent the majority of 2007 with Memphis, hitting 32 home runs there and 11 with St. Louis.
Ian Desmond suffered a what is believed to be tightness in his right calf. Mark Reynolds replaced him at first base in the bottom of the fourth. Desmond, who missed missed the season's first 25 games with a fractured left hand, missed nine games this month with a right calf strain. He and the Rockies hope the precautionary move prevented further injury for Desmond, who had never been on the disabled list before signing a five-year, $70 million contract this offseason. More >>
Rockies: Rookie righty Jeff Hoffman (6-2, 5.10 ERA) will face the Cardinals on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. MT, hoping to rebound from giving up seven runs and nine hits in three innings in a home loss to the Pirates in his last start. Hoffman is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in five road starts.
Cardinals:Carlos Martinez (6-8, 3.34) will take the mound in the series finale Wednesday night at 7:15 CT. While the right-hander leads the team with 14 quality starts, he has not received run support consistently, which has resulted in the team going 1-5 in his last six starts. Preview >>
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Alaina Getzenberg is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis and covered the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.