Evan MacLane found out Wednesday afternooon the Cardinals needed an extra arm in the bullpen, so he left from AAA Memphis and headed to Colorado. He arrived at the stadium in the fifth inning, got dressed and watch the Cardinals take a 5-0 lead. Little did he realize he would make his major league debut four innings later.
That’s because in the bottom of the fifth the Rockies scored three runs to make it a 5-3 game. Then, trailing 7-4, the Rockies scored three in the eighth to tie the game. Tony LaRussa used four pitchers to get through 3.2 innings. Left with Dennys Reyes and Ryan Franklin (whom both pitched in that ninth inning meltdown the night before) LaRussa called on the lefthanded MacLane.
After a deep breath, he faced Chris Ianetta and just missed on a couple of close changeups. He also got Ianetta to swing and miss on changeup. However, it was MacLane’s last pitch, a hanging changeup that Ianetta crushed to left field for an 8-7 walk-off win.
Colorado is a tough place to pitch, but I pin this loss on LaRussa. He used Mitchell Boggs for four pitches and Trever Miller for six. There is no reason after the slugfest the night before and quite possibly Ryan Franklin and Dennys Reyes unavailable that two pitchers should be gone after ten pitches. Not in that ballpark. His counterpart Jim Tracy, used Esmil Rogers for two innings and 40 pitches to get through the seventh inning after the Cardinals roughed up their starter Aaron Cook for five runs in five innings. In tight one run ballgames in late innings, LaRussa is a master of pitching matchups. However, in the middle innings of games, especially in one where runs are going to be scored, I just always thinks he out-thinks himself.
The Cardinals had their share of hits, 16 of them, but none of them came before the three home runs they hit. Matt Holliday hit two and Jon Jay hit one…all solo shots. Holliday added a double to go 4 for 5 with two RBIs and four runs scored.
The Rockies found late inning heroics in the eighth inning off Jason Motte. Boggs gave up a double to lead off the eighth and got a groundout. LaRussa went to Miller who walked a batter and he was done. Onto Jason Motte to try to clean up a first and third situation with one out. LaRussa guessed wrong with his change. Dexter Fowler hit a 3-2 fast ball into right field tying the game at 7-7.
Jaime Garcia was in line for another win after the rookie left in the sixth with a 6-4 lead. Garcia gave up just two earned runs to keep his ERA down to 2.17.