Cardinals shut out Diamondbacks

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[July 29, 2017]  ST. LOUIS -- Calling what Trevor Rosenthal did a save Friday night does not do it justice.

Waved into the game with the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position and no outs in the top of the eighth inning, Rosenthal had to face the 2-3-4 hitters in the dangerous Arizona Diamondbacks' lineup.

Not only did he retire all three hitters, he also kept the tying run from scoring. When Rosenthal rolled through the ninth inning, he had the first six-out save of his career and the St. Louis Cardinals had a 1-0 win.

"It's a tough spot," he said. "You have no expectations coming in. I just wanted to give it my best, and as it progressed, we got to the spot where if I made one pitch, I could get out of it."

Ketel Marte started the inning with a single off Brett Cecil, and Daniel Descalso doubled, setting the table for A.J. Pollock, David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt.

Pollock struck out as he flailed to no avail at a changeup. Peralta bounced a 1-0 pitch to second baseman Kolten Wong, who nailed Marte at the plate. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo asked for a review, but the replay umpires in New York upheld Greg Gibson's call after 67 seconds.

Rosenthal then fanned Goldschmidt for the fifth time in nine career at-bats with another wicked changeup, ending the inning. As the crowd of 41,230 in Busch Stadium erupted, Rosenthal and catcher Yadier Molina pumped their fists in jubilation.

"I just kept my focus on what I could control," Rosenthal said. "I figured if I could make my pitches, it might work out."

He required just nine pitches to close out the ninth. J.D. Martinez flew out to left, Chris Owings fanned on a changeup and pinch-hitter Jake Lamb swung through a 101 mph fastball to seal it.

Manager Mike Matheny needed just one word to describe what Rosenthal did.

"Amazing," Matheny said.

It was a dramatic ending to a game that nearly had a tragic beginning. Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray was knocked out in the second when Luke Voit's 108.1 mph liner struck him in the back of the head.

After about two minutes, Ray was able to sit up. He was carted off the field and taken to a hospital, where three sutures were put into his head to close the wound. Ray returned to the team hotel after showering in the visitors' locker room.

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Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) pitches during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Lovullo was teary-eyed as he talked about Ray.

"As much as we love and care for each other, it hit us a little bit," Lovullo said. "I'm not going to lie, we were hung over for several innings."

Voit went through that scene earlier this year at Triple-A Memphis. Cardinals prospect Daniel Poncedeleon took a liner off the head and eventually needed surgery to relieve pressure in his brain.

It was an unwelcome flashback for Voit, who crouched near the mound with Arizona infielders as Ray was treated.

"It was a scary thing," said Voit. "My heart was up to my throat. When I heard (Ray) talking, it was very nice."

Ray finished 1 2/3 innings, ceding a hit and a walk while striking out two. T.J. McFarland (4-3) relieved and worked 3 2/3 effective innings, but was charged with the loss when Jedd Gyorko singled Tommy Pham home in the sixth with the game's only run. It was unearned thanks to an error on Descalso at third that allowed Pham to reach.

Michael Wacha (8-4) won for the fifth time in six starts, permitting just three hits and a walk in six innings while fanning five.

NOTES: Arizona 3B Jake Lamb was scratched from the lineup just over two hours before first pitch, with Daniel Descalso taking his place and leading off. Lamb was diagnosed with soreness after falling into the seats behind third base in the fourth inning Thursday night as he caught a foul popup. ... St. Louis RF Stephen Piscotty (right groin strain) continued his rehab assignment Friday night at Class A Peoria. He went 1-for-4, doubling home two runs in the fifth inning. ... Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt drew a walk in the second inning Friday night, giving him an major league-high 16 since the All-Star break.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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