Mikolas silences Orioles in 10-1 Cardinals romp
ST. LOUIS — Once it became apparent that Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, on the COVID injured list, could not start on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game set here with Baltimore, Cardinals Oliver Marmol had the option of using Miles Mikolas, his best starter this season, on regular four days’ rest because of an off day the Cardinals had on Monday.
Marmol took the “long-game” approach and elected to give Mikolas and the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest between starts this week so that dividends might accrue later in the season. The Cardinals used a succession of relievers unsuccessfully in a loss on Tuesday but Mikolas, strong as he could be, held the Orioles to four hits and one run over seven innings in a 10-1 victory on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium.
Would Mikolas have done that on Tuesday? We won’t know, but what we do know is that he has allowed only five runs in his past 38 2/3 innings for an ERA of 1.16. Of the 21 outs Mikolas recorded Wednesday, 14 were on the ground.
And the Cardinals, starved for extra-base hits earlier in the season, had seven of them on Wednesday, including a home run by rookie Juan Yepez and two doubles by another rookie, Brendan Donovan.
Yepez got the extension of his hitting streak out of the way early. Entering the game with a six-game run, Yepez pounded a 2-1, second-inning slider from Spenser Watkins over the Baltimore bullpen in left for his second homer.
Donovan, who had hit his first big-league homer on Tuesday, stroked his first major-league double to make it a three-run inning. Donovan’s two-out hit to right center scored Yadier Molina and Corey Dickerson, the second of whom also had doubled.
Dylan Carlson had a third double in the inning but had been caught off second on Molina’s bouncer to Watkins.
Mikolas sailed through the Orioles in order for three innings, netting six weak groundouts and striking out three.
But Cedric Mullins broke up the perfect game and no-hitter with a line single to right to open the Baltimore fourth. Mullins would reach third with two outs after a groundout and a deep fly to right. Third baseman Nolan Arenado then retreated well behind third for Austin Hays’ grounder and, off balance, bounced a one-hop throw to Paul Goldschmidt at first for the final out.
The Cardinals, who snapped a losing streak at three games, then ran the count to 7-0 as Goldschmidt, just missing a homer to left center, doubled in two runs in a four-run fourth. Tommy Edman singled home the first run of the inning, also with two out, after Harrison Bader singled and Donovan walked.
Both Donovan and Edman moved up a base after Edman’s single on left fielder Anthony Santander’s errant throw home.
Following Goldschmidt’s double, Arenado, the National League Player of the Month for April who had been nothing for his past 13, legged out a double to right center. Watkins was replaced by left-hander Paul Fry.
Through four innings, the Cardinals had eight hits from eight players, with only Molina missing from the group. Goldschmidt was the first player to two hits when he singled in the sixth to score Donovan, who had drawn his second walk of the night.
Yepez also got his second hit, a single to right, in the seventh. That gave him 12 hits in his first seven big-league games and he is hitting .444.
The Orioles had nudged across a run in the fifth on a one-out single by Jorge Mateo and Robinson Chirinos’ bloop double that dropped between sliding center fielder Bader and second baseman Edman.
Mikolas, after throwing 69 strikes out of 98 pitches, yielded in the eighth to rookie Jake Walsh, just recalled from Memphis. Walsh fanned two in a perfect eighth and two more in a scoreless ninth.
Donovan's second double in the eighth set up Edman and pinch hitter Kramer Robertson for run-scoring groundouts for the final two Cardinals runs. It was Robertson's first big-league at-bat.
The three extra-base hits by Donovan in the past two days were only one fewer than the total for Paul DeJong, the slumping regular shortstop who was optioned to Memphis on Tuesday.