(BaseballStL) - It was the pitch that changed the game. The Cardinals hope it won’t be the pitch that changed their season.
After A.J. Ellis led off the ninth inning with a double that rattled the right center wall, Trevor Rosenthal settled down. One pitch at a time, he retired the next two hitters and had two strikes on Hanley Ramirez when he let go of a 98 mph fastball with the crowd cheering and the Redbird dugout on their feet.
“I was trying to get him to chase,” Rosenthal said after the game. “I wanted to go in on his hands but obviously not that far in.”
But he did, hitting Ramirez on the wrist with enough force to spin the Dodger shortstop out of the box and send him dancing toward the Dodger dugout in agony. It was the second time Ramirez was hit Sunday night and it set up a single by Adrian Gonzalez that plated the ultimate winning run in the Dodgers 4-3 victory Sunday night.
“Hopefully, he’s all right,” Rosenthal said. “I think everyone in the park knew it wasn’t intentional, not with the lead run at second and two outs. The ump had reminded me when I started the ninth that both sides had been warned. But he knew I didn’t hit him on purpose.”
So did Dodger manager Don Mattingly. “Nothing out there tonight (two hit Dodger batters) was intentional. Everyone is trying to pitch inside. You have to. But if you can’t pitch inside without hitting someone then it gets to be a problem.”
Mattingly said Ramirez was sore and would be evaluated tomorrow. While the Dodger skipper didn’t think his players were hit intentionally, he was quick to point out that his club protects its own, referring to Kershaw plunking Matt Holliday with the first pitch of the inning after Ramirez was hit the first time.
Rosenthal was circumspect about being one pitch away from getting out of the inning. “That’s the way baseball rolls,” he said. “I made a bad pitch to Gonzalez, middle in.”
Cards’ manager Mike Matheny seemed to agree that Ramirez getting clipped a second time was just one of those inexplicable moments in an inexplicable game. “I don’t have a reason for you. Nobody does. In those situations I think everybody could tell we’re not trying to hit anybody. Gotta make good pitches against a good hitter.”