The Cleveland Guardians put the barrel to the ball Wednesday afternoon, slugging four home runs to bury the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-2, and split the season series.
Franmil Reyes set the tone in the second inning, when he launched a first-pitch fastball over the Miller Lite bridge above the home run porch and out of the ballpark. The home run was measured at 446 feet, landing on the walkway between the ballpark and the parking garage.
His mammoth solo shot tied the game at 1-1, before the Cardinals regained the lead in the top of the third inning thanks to a Dylan Carlson home run. But the Guardians responded in kind in the bottom half of the inning. Cesar Hernandez gave his team the lead with a two-run shot to center field. With two outs in the inning, José Ramírez and Reyes drilled back-to-back home runs to pad the score. St. Louis starter Kwang-hyun Kim exited one batter later after allowing a sharp single to Harold Ramirez. He only lasted 2.2 innings and surrendered five hits and five earned runs.
The Guardians were able to extend their lead to 7-2 in the fourth inning. Yu Chang doubled into the gap in left-center, coming around to score on an Austin Hedges RBI single. Hedges himself eventually came around to score, as well, on a sacrifice fly from Hernandez.
Zach Plesac did his part to keep the Cardinals from clawing their way back into the game. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he pitched well enough. He allowed a lot of hard contact, though it was a bit of tough luck that bit him in the first inning. Dylan Carlson reached on an infield single to lead off the game, then a bloop single by Nolan Arenado put runners on first and second with one out. Yadier Molina squeezed a slow-rolling grounder up the middle past Amed Rosario at shortstop, plating the first run of the game and giving St. Louis an early 1-0 lead.
In five innings of work, Plesac allowed seven hits, one walk, and two earned runs, striking out four. He even managed to work his way out of trouble in the fifth inning, when he put runners on first and second with no outs. Tyler O’Neill lined out to Franmil Reyes in right field, before Yadier Molina launched a ball to the wall in left field but was robbed of a hit by well-timed jump from Harold Ramirez. Harrison Bader lined out to Reyes to strand the runners.
The Guardians’ bullpen — Blake Parker, Nick Sandlin, Emmanuel Clase, and James Karinchak — combined to retire the final 12 Cardinals that came to the plate.