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|After Yadier Molina’s two homers led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win at Milwaukee Saturday http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jeremy-kerley-jersey , manager Mike Matheny spoke hopefully of a bounce the win would create.
His instinct proved correct Sunday when St. Louis capped a rough road trip with an 8-2 rout that allowed it to salvage a split of a four-game series with the National League Central leaders and pushed it within 4 1/2 games of the Brewers.
The Cardinals open a six-game homestand Monday night in Busch Stadium with the second of four straight series against first-place teams, facing the Cleveland Indians.
St. Louis (40-36) scored just seven runs in its first three games in Milwaukee, whiffing 34 times, with 15 occurring in a 2-1 loss Friday night. It fanned another 11 times on Sunday but mixed in 10 hits, including a three-run homer by Jose Martinez to cap a five-run fourth inning that turned momentum for good.
While the Cardinals enter the series with hope that they are turning things around, Cleveland (43-33) did so during the last week. Its 12-2 rout Sunday of Detroit was its seventh straight win, moving it eight games ahead of the Tigers and Minnesota Twins in the American League Central.
The Indians also appear to have the mound advantage for the series opener with Mike Clevinger (6-2, 3.00 ERA) against spot starter John Gant (1-2, 4.39).
Clevinger’s last start was one of his best this year. He notched 10 strikeouts Tuesday night in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Clevinger has lasted at least six innings in five straight starts, solidifying his place in a deep rotation.
“His fastball had really good life,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria told mlb.com. “He was keeping the ball down below the zone. You saw him get a lot of checked swings on some of his breaking pitches … he’s got a pretty good repertoire and was able to command consistently in the zone consistently throughout the whole ballgame.”
Gant is starting in place of Michael Wacha, who took his 8-2 record to the disabled list last week after suffering an oblique strain Wednesday in Philadelphia. The former Atlanta Braves prospect is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts this year, leading some to wonder why Dakota Hudson (10-2 at Triple-A Memphis) or Daniel Poncedeleon was not picked to replace Wacha.
In his last start, Gant lasted 5 1/3 innings on May 25 in Pittsburgh, losing 8-1 despite fanning seven and walking none. He was charged with four hits and three runs.
Gant has made one career start against Cleveland, lasting two innings in a 2016 game for the Braves and permitting one run and three hits with two strikeouts.
Carlos Martinez (3-4, 3.24) starts Tuesday night for St. Louis opposite Corey Kluber (11-3, 2.10). Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.50) faces the Indians’ Shane Bieber (2-0, 2.45) in a battle of rookie right-handers on Wednesday night.
Kole Calhoun has come a long way since getting a needed break on the disabled list last month, and Garrett Richards looked pretty sharp after his own DL stint. Calhoun hit a two-run homer, Richards pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Mariners 7-4 on Wednesday to snap Seattle’s eight-game winning streak.
Batting in the leadoff spot for only the fourth time this season, Calhoun had three hits and drove in three runs to help lift Richards (5-4) in his return.
Calhoun’s towering homer in the sixth gave the Angels a 6-2 lead. He also had a single in the fourth inning for his first RBI. Calhoun is batting .306 with four homers and eight RBIs since coming off the DL on June 18. He was hitting .145 before that break.
”Kole did his job today,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ”That’s what we need from the guys at the top of the order. It gave us a lot of opportunities today.”
Richards http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-trent-murphy-jersey , who went on the DL on June 15 with a left hamstring strain, allowed three runs, including back-to-back homers to Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy, over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out eight.
”I just overthrew a couple of heaters there,” Richards said of the home runs. ”But I felt good. The hamstring felt good. I knew I would be on a leash (80 pitches), so I just tried to execute pitches.”
Richards retired 10 of the next 11 hitters he faced after the home runs.
”Garrett just exhaled (after the homers) and made some really good pitches,” Scioscia said. ”He gave us a chance to win the game.”
Blake Parker pitched out of trouble in the ninth for his 10th save. Mike Zunino singled and Denard Span doubled to put runners at second and third, but Dee Gordon flied out to center and Zunino was thrown out at the plate on Jean Segura’s grounder to Albert Pujols at first. Mitch Haniger ended it with a groundout to third.
Parker failed to cover first on the grounder to Pujols, so Pujols had no choice but to throw home.
”Pujols getting that guy at the plate was a huge out,” Scioscia said. ”The pitcher didn’t cover there, so Albert made a great decision and threw a strike to the plate.”
The Mariners had their chances, including a bases-loaded, no-outs situation in the seventh inning when trailing 6-3. After Gordon and Span struck out, Segura hit a broken-bat flare that looked like it might drop behind second base and score two runs, but Angels second baseman David Fletcher made a leaping catch to end the inning.
”I got a pretty good read off the bat,” Fletcher said. ”I kind of felt I had a bead on it all the way. It was a nice feeling to save those runs from scoring.”
The Mariners struck out 15 times and left eight men on base.
Mike Leake (8-5) allowed four runs and nine hits before leaving with no one out in the fifth. He had allowed two runs or less in seven of his previous eight starts.
”They were battling me, fouling balls off today,” Leake said. ”Trying to get them to go down, but they found some holes and that’s about it.”
Luis Valbuena drove in two runs for the Angels and Shohei Ohtani and two hits and scored two runs.
Angels: OF Chris Young was placed on the 10-day DL a day after straining his hamstring. LHP Tyler Skaggs was also placed on the DL with a thigh strain. Skaggs said hopes to miss only one start. OF Jabari Blash and RHP Deck McGuire were recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake, with INF Kaleb Cowart also optioned to Triple-A. … LHP John Lamb will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow early next week. He’ll become the fourth Angels pitcher to have the procedure this season.
Mariners: Manager Scott Servais said RHP Erasmo Ramirez could begin a rehab assignment soon. Ramirez has been on the DL since May 1 because of a right teres major muscle strain in his pitching shoulder. Ramirez said is willing to pitch in relief if that’s where he’s needed.
Angels RHP Jaime Barria (5-4, 3.40) will start Thursday’s series finale in place of Skaggs. Barria is making his 12th start of the season and has given up two earned runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. LHP Marco Gonzales (8-5, 3.77) will make his 18th start for Seattle. Gonzales pitched the first complete game of his career in his last start, a 4-1 victory over Kansas City when he allowed six hits and didn’t walk a batter.
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