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Mikolas gets big out vs. Soto, lets him know it

Right-hander says response to Nats' OF was 'good natured'; Soto: 'I don't mind'
@SteveGilbertMLB
October 12, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Miles Mikolas pitched out of jams, got big outs, tossed six innings and most importantly gave his team a chance -- and a really good chance at that -- to win. Oh yeah, and he, um, grabbed some attention on Twitter as well during a fifth-inning exchange

ST. LOUIS -- Miles Mikolas pitched out of jams, got big outs, tossed six innings and most importantly gave his team a chance -- and a really good chance at that -- to win.

Oh yeah, and he, um, grabbed some attention on Twitter as well during a fifth-inning exchange with Juan Soto.

Game Date Time Matchup/
Result
TV/
Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 11   WSH 2, STL 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 12   WSH 3, STL 1 Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 14 7:30 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
Gm 4 Oct. 15 8 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
*Gm 5 Oct. 16 4 p.m. STL vs. WSH TBS
*Gm 6 Oct. 18 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS
*Gm 7 Oct. 19 8 p.m. WSH vs. STL TBS

That the Cardinals came out on the losing end of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series presented by GEICO by a 2-0 margin on Friday night was much more a reflection of the offense than it was about the pitcher, who is starting to fulfill the promise the team saw when it signed him to a long-term contract and started him on Opening Day.

Mikolas allowed seven hits but managed to pitch around that traffic, allowing just one run.

“He threw well,” Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter said. “It’s a shame that we wasted a start like that, because obviously he was in command and he made the one mistake to [Yan] Gomes early and then really settled and pitched out of a few tough jams. You hate to not be able to scratch runs when you get a start like that, but that’s the way it goes. You’ve got to be ready to go tomorrow.”

The lone damage the Nationals managed against the 31-year-old came in the second when Howie Kendrick, the hero of Washington’s dramatic Game 5 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday, led off with a double.

Two outs later, Gomes smacked a 1-0 slider into the gap in left-center for a double, scoring Kendrick.

“Miles was great,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Gomes made him pay for a ball up. But outside of that, he was tremendous. Scattered a few hits, but that’s what he did -- scattered hits.”

The biggest out of the game for Mikolas came in the fifth. It also drew the most attention on social media.

Mikolas found himself in quite a jam that inning with two outs, the bases loaded and the ever-dangerous Soto at the plate. Soto took a couple of curves for balls, but Mikolas threw a nifty one for strike one and then figured he would come back with yet another on the fourth pitch.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Mikolas.

Soto rolled over the pitch and grounded out to second to end the frame. That’s when the fun started.

Soto has drawn attention from some opposing teams this year, the Cardinals included, for his actions between pitches, including sometimes grabbing himself -- and he made that gesture during his fifth inning at-bat.

So, as Mikolas walked back to the dugout he turned towards Soto, who was taking off his helmet at first, and returned the gesture.

“He has a routine where he shuffles around the box, and adjusts his cup and whatnot, but I was just having fun out there,” Mikolas said. “Kind of giving it back to him in a good-natured, ribbing kind of way. No intent to be mean or trying to start anything, just having fun out of there.”

Soto, who saw the gesture, did not appear to take any offense.

“For me, that's good,” Soto said. “If he reacts, I don't mind. He got me out. He can do whatever he wants. I’m going to laugh at it. We’re going to keep going and face him again.”

Given the way he’s pitched of late, Mikolas is having plenty of fun after an uneven regular season.

Signed to a four-year, $68 million extension during Spring Training, Mikolas pitched the Cardinals to a win in a crucial game against the Cubs down the stretch and also got the ball in Game 1 of the NL Division Series, where he allowed one run over five innings in the Cardinals’ win.

“I feel pretty good,” Mikolas said. “I ironed some stuff out mechanically in the last half of the season, last couple of weeks. And getting into October, it’s time to kick into another gear. If I had a rough regular season, trying to make up for it in the postseason.”

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.