Cards win and Wacha survives in a wild 12-inning affair with D-backs
MAY 22, 2014 1:40a ET
ST. LOUIS -- By the end of the Cardinals' 3-2, 12-inning, walk-off-on-an-error victory Wednesday night, Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha could joke about his dugout mishap.
But he wasn't laughing when he saw a foul ball hit by teammate Matt Adams screaming right at his chest in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"I was relaxing in between the inning just like every other inning," said Wacha, who could not see the batter's box from his vantage point. "All of a sudden, I hear, 'Heads up!' and right at the last second, I see a ball flying in our dugout. I jumped out of the way because it looked like it was going to square me up in my chest. As I was getting up, it ricocheted off the wall and hit me in my (right) back elbow."
His night was done after pitching six shutout innings against the Diamondbacks, but consider him fortunate. The Cardinals said they removed him for precautionary reasons.
"It got me just a little bit above the area, in the triceps," Wacha said. "It hit a nerve and my whole hand went numb. It was a scary feeling, for sure. The numbness went away pretty quick, 30 seconds or so, and I was able to have full range of mobility in my arm."
Wacha said he had "no idea" if he will be able to make his next start Monday, but manager Mike Matheny did not sound overly concerned. Wacha said he would know more after he plays catch before Thursday's series finale against the Diamondbacks.
Between innings on the days he is starting, Wacha sits back in the dugout and relaxes instead of standing near the rail where teammates hang out when the Cardinals are batting. With his teammates blocking his view, Wacha was not able to see the batter's box.
"It came over the railing," he said, then cracking a smile. "None of the (other) starters jumped in front of it to keep it from hitting me. I know I would have. I would have barehanded it so it wouldn't hit one of the other starting pitchers. Shows what kind of guys are on our team, really."
Again, he was joking, as he could after avoiding what could have been a far more serious situation.
"I've got some seams (marks) there, a little swelling, but it's wrapped up," Wacha said. "Hopefully, the swelling stays down and the bruising isn't too bad."
Incredibly, Wacha already had dodged another line drive that he saw coming right at his head when he was on the mound. Leading off the fifth, Martin Prado scorched a 95-mph fastball straight back at Wacha that, thanks to some cheetah-like reflexes, he somehow snatched as he was trying to duck out of the way.
"That was probably even more scary," he said. "Coming right at my face, I don't know how I even reacted to it. I was protecting my face, just trying to get a glove up in time. Lucky enough, I was."
-- Yadier Molina's arm. The Diamondbacks once acknowledged they would not even attempt to run on the Cardinals' catcher, but Miguel Montero tried in the second inning when he was able to get a huge lead off Wacha. The jump didn't matter. Without enough time to stand, Molina from his knees threw out Montero, with Kolten Wong applying a nifty tag. It was the seventh consecutive would-be base stealer Molina has caught, the best such streak of his career. Montero initially was called safe, but Matheny challenged and was rewarded.
-- Allen Craig. A night after an 0-for-5 made you wonder (again) if he ever will find his groove, Craig singled three times, was hit by a pitch and walked. He also hit a grounder to short with the bases loaded in the 12th that Chris Owings fielded, then botched the throw home to allow the winning run to score. Craig batted with runners in scoring position in five of his six plate appearances, and while he reached base every time, he managed only one RBI.
-- Jon Jay. He didn't enter until the eighth inning but still impacted the game as much as any player. He came in as a pinch hitter and hit a sacrifice fly that tied the game. Then he made a run-saving play in the 12th when he made a diving catch just in front of the center-field wall with the potential go-ahead run on base.
-- Carlos Martinez. Three pitches after entering in the eighth, he had turned a 1-0 lead into a 2-1 deficit by giving up a home run to Gerardo Parra following a single by pinch hitter Eric Chavez. Parra, the Diamondbacks' leadoff hitter, smacked a 1-0, 97-mph four-seamer into the right-field seats for his fifth homer.
-- Seven-inning starts. Even though it took one of his own teammates to knock Wacha out of the game, his departure after six scoreless innings ended at five a run of Cardinals starters working at least seven innings. Wacha started the streak last Thursday when he went seven innings and allowed two runs in a 5-3 victory over the Cubs.
-- Daniel Descalso. Because Jhonny Peralta was 1 for 21 against Brandon McCarthy, Descalso was given a rare start, just his second of the month. He didn't do much with the opportunity. He came in 2 for 2 against McCarthy but went 0 for 5, every time making the last out of an inning and four times batting with a runner in scoring position.
Defensively, however, Descalso made a game-saving play with an on-the-spot relay throw that nailed Ender Inciarte trying to score from first on a two-out, 10th-inning double by Paul Goldschmidt.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.