Ejections of Marmol and Descalso spark a comeback. Cards hoping it can lead to a longer turnaround

Updated May. 12, 2024 6:45 p.m. ET

MILWAUKEE (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said he was trying to provide a spark when he and bench coach Daniel Descalso got ejected from Sunday's game with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The plan worked. The last-place Cardinals (16-24) now hope it can provide a turning point to what has been a frustrating season up to this point.

St. Louis trailed 3-1 in the third inning when Marmol and Descalso were ejected by home plate umpire Alan Porter following two missed calls by first-base umpire Sean Barber that the Cardinals successfully challenged. With hitting coach Turner Ward managing the rest of the day, the Cardinals rallied from a three-run deficit and beat the NL Central-leading Brewers 4-3 to snap a seven-game skid.

“Alan Porter and Sean Barber are good umpires,” Marmol said. “That had more to do with getting something going. Those guys do a nice job. Their job is tough. But at times, you’ve just got to — a little skid — get something going. I don’t have anything against that group.”


The Cardinals said the ejections provided a lift.

“I think that's just kind of publicly letting everyone see exactly how the coaches feel,” first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. “There's times when they stay calm and kind of keep everyone even-keeled, and there's sometimes when they probably need to do stuff like that. Today, that's what it called for, I guess, for them. They felt like that's what it called for. Fortunately we were able to respond.”

The first replay challenge turned a fielder’s choice into an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the second. Barber had ruled that Milwaukee’s Brice Turang was safe at first, but replays showed the throw from shortstop Brandon Crawford beat him to the bag.

In the top of the third, Barber ruled that St. Louis’ Iván Herrera was out at first on an apparent inning-ending double play. The Cardinals challenged the call again, and replays showed Herrera was safe at first, turning the double play into a fielder’s choice.

The Cardinals also got a tough call as they fell behind 3-0 in the first inning when Rhys Hoskins drew a bases-loaded walk on a 3-2 pitch from Miles Mikolas that was ruled to be just high. Mikolas held out his arms in apparent protest as soon as the call was made.

“We’ve been put through the wringer here early,” Mikolas said. “Obviously there’s a lot of emotions and tempers flaring. Umpires have a real hard job, but it gets real frustrating when things aren’t going your way, and it seems like the deck can be almost stacked against you sometimes. ... Sometimes you’ve got to let that frustration out and get the boys fired up. I think after they got tossed, we got a little fired up. It's a nice reminder that they've got your back."

The Cardinals' comeback meant they wouldn't be carrying an eight-game losing streak as they head west for a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels beginning Monday. A loss would have dropped the Cardinals 10 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central standings.

St. Louis won the NL Central as recently as 2022 but slumped to 71-91 last year due largely to poor pitching. The Cardinals boosted their rotation in the offseason by signing Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn, who have all been effective to varying degrees.

But their lineup has let them down. Only the Chicago White Sox have scored fewer runs than the Cardinals this season. The Cardinals went 4 for 35 with runners in scoring position during their four-game series at Milwaukee and won Sunday.

Perhaps Sunday's comeback will turn things around. Although the Cardinals left 13 men on base, they also saw Goldschmidt break out of his slump.

Goldschmidt, the 2022 NL MVP, had gone 1 for 34 in May before leading off the fifth inning with his third homer of the season. He followed that up by delivering a game-tying single in the sixth.

“I know I haven’t played well, but I don’t carry that from day to day,” said Goldschmidt, who is batting .197 with a .559 OPS. "I just try to show up every day and help us win. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a good enough job of that, but thinking about the past isn’t going to help me perform in the present. I’ll just continue to work each day and hopefully I can play well going forward.”


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