Monty continues dominating stretch with 1-hitter

Lefty throws a 'Maddux' with 99 pitches

August 23rd, 2022

CHICAGO -- After he completely smothered the Cubs with the first shutout of his MLB career, celebrating in the clubhouse with his Cardinals teammates and taking a second to catch his breath, 6-foot-6 left-hander Jordan Montgomery grabbed his phone and immediately saw a message from his older brother, Jay.

“I’ve got a text message from him waiting right now where he said, ‘A Maddux!’” said Montgomery, who moved into some elite company with the best performance of his career in Monday’s 1-0 win over the Cubs.

A Maddux is a shutout on fewer than 100 pitches. Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, the inspiration for the achievement's name, accomplished that feat 13 times since 1988. Fittingly enough, the 6-foot-6 Montgomery reached that rarefied air Monday at Wrigley Field where Greg Maddux starred early in his career. Also, Montgomery’s pitching coach in St. Louis is Mike Maddux, brother to the former Cubs and Braves star pitcher. On Monday, Montgomery needed just 99 pitches to blank the Cubs in 2 hours, 16 minutes.

Montgomery, who was acquired in a trade with the Yankees on Aug. 2, limited the Cubs to one hit while retiring the final 19 hitters of the game. He was a Christopher Morel double in the bottom of the third away from a perfect game. Montgomery (7-3 overall and 4-0 as a Cardinal) retired 27 of the 28 hitters he faced, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter, extending his streak of innings without a free pass to 15.

The first complete game of Montgomery’s MLB career came on a night when the Cardinals bullpen was shorthanded after All-Star closer Ryan Helsley was moved from the paternity list to the restricted list following the birth of his first child.

“Man, that was exactly what we needed,” said manager Oliver Marmol, whose Cardinals won an eighth straight game. “Outside of him just fitting in well and performing, he embraces competition, and this was a perfect example of it. We needed some length out of our starter because our ‘pen was real thin going into that game. For him to give up one hit and go nine [innings], that’s a pretty special outing.”

Montgomery’s four outings with the Cardinals have been nearly flawless, and he’s helped to stabilize a pitching staff that was rocked early on after Jack Flaherty and Steven Matz were hampered by injuries. In four outings with the Cardinals -- a stretch where he beat his former team (Yankees) and toppled two of St. Louis’ biggest rivals (Brewers and Cubs) -- Montgomery has allowed just one earned run and 13 hits over 25 2/3 innings, while striking out 24 compared to just three walks.

“I play baseball to compete, I enjoy pitching and competing,” said Montgomery, who got to keep the ball from the best outing of his career. “I have faith in my stuff, and you’re going to hit a sinker into the ground. … I don’t understand what the narrative is about me because I’ve been a good pitcher my whole career. I expect a lot out of myself. I think my stuff plays, and you can always count on me competing out there.”