It almost didn't come to pass. A freak rain storm ripped through Southern California that caused a one hour rain delay against the Cardinals and Dodgers Friday night.
Despite the rain, the Cardinals held off the Dodgers 2-1 for the win. The storm came in the ninth inning at the worst possible time.
Ryan Franklin was pitching a full count to Matt Kemp with one out.
The rain seemed to have affected Franklin's concentration as he walked Matt Kemp and later walked Delwyn Young. It was only after he struck out pinch-hitter Andruw Jones that he got the save.
Franklin later stated that he was upset about the delay but understood.
"I was upset that they stopped the game because I was two pitches from getting out of it—could have been," Franklin said. "But that was the right call because I was slipping all over the place out there. My push-off foot was sliding. It was definitely the right call to make."
That's not saying much, considering Andruw Jones is batting less than .170 one year after signing a monster contract. However, Franklin got the job done.
Where did the offense come from? Albert Pujols? No. Rick Ankiel? No.
It's none other than the tower of power, Ryan Ludwick. He hammered a two-run blast for his 13th home run of the season.
Teams are now paying for walking Pujols as Ludwick's power numbers have soared. He has hit nine home runs in his last fifteen games while batting a team-high .348 on the year.
Ludwick said that these kinds of situations seem to give him the perfect pitches.
"I'm just trying to stick with that approach of going up there, get a good pitch to hit and hit it hard," Ludwick said. "I guess I've been in situations where hits are falling when there are some runners on base. It's worked out all right, I guess."
Another good story came out of this game as well. Adam Wainwright got his first road victory of the year pitching seven innings allowing one run on five hits.
Wainwright stated that he was supremely confident in his abilities to pitch out of jams.
"It wasn't easy, but I felt very in control of everything," Wainwright said. "I felt like I was always dictating what was happening out there. Even with guys in scoring position, I was very confident with the way I was throwing the ball that I was going to get out of it."
Being the Cardinals’ ace, this is what you want to see if you are a Cardinals fan: A pitcher wanting the ball, knowing he can command and dictate to the batters.
Hopefully, this attitude will continue and translate into more wins.
The Cardinals are now tied with the Cubs for the division lead and continue to hang tough. It seems to be a three horse race with Houston the other team in the fray going into the summer months.
With the All-Star game around the corner, people cannot deny the numbers of Ryan Ludwick. He deserves a spot on the starting roster, if not a reserve. Watch out for this outfielder, he's turning into a true power hitter.
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