Routine grounder changes complexion of inning, game
By Nick Krueger
ST. LOUIS -- If not for an overturned call, Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman executed his job perfectly in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Rangers.
St. Louis led, 4-3, after six innings, and with Seung-Hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist unavailable after pitching Saturday, Bowman was to act as the bridge between starter Mike Leake and closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Bowman got through the seventh inning on two ground balls and a strikeout.
"We go with what looks right, and what was there not to like?" Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I mean, the guy was getting ground balls. He was jamming guys, he was getting swings and misses. Everything he was doing led us to put him right back out there. Bowman did what we needed him to do. One ground ball just ended up being the difference."
After Bowman gave up a two-out double to Rougned Odor in the eighth, Matheny opted to intentionally walk Mitch Moreland, who had homered earlier in the game. Elvis Andrus then hit a ground ball to shortstop Aledmys Diaz, who flipped to second baseman Matt Carpenter to get Moreland, who was called out. But the Rangers challenged, and replays showed Moreland reached the bag before the ball hit the back of Carpenter's glove.
Bowman tried not to lose his focus in the moment after he temporarily had three outs in the eighth.
"I knew it was close," Bowman said. "As a pitcher, you always want to assume that he's safe. You don't want to go off the field thinking, 'OK, he's out,' and then, 'Oh goodness, I have to get it dialed back in.' So I had to make sure I was still focused."
With the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar entered vs. Bowman and hit a single to score two. Jonathan Broxton came in to get the Cardinals out of the jam, but the damage was done.
"This is one of the first times I've gotten to go into the game when it was close, and I gave it up, clearly," Bowman said. "If anything, it will be fine. I'll use it as motivation, but I'm not going to let it get me down."
Bowman took the loss and fell to 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 21 appearances this season.
"Once we got to the pinch-hitter's spot and Profar, I really liked Bowman trying to get a ball on the ground there more than anything else," Matheny said. "He did a good job. He just got beat."
Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.