Cardinals pitcher makes sensational debut 14 months after emergency brain surgery
CINCINNATI (AP) — St. Louis starter Daniel Poncedeleon made a sensational debut 14 months after suffering a severe head injury, throwing no-hit ball for seven innings Monday night before Eugenio Suarez led the Cincinnati Reds' two-out rally in the ninth for a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals.
Suarez's two-out, solo homer off Bud Norris (3-3) tied it 1-1. The closer then loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, and pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera singled to end the Reds' losing streak at four games. Jared Hughes (3-3) pitched the ninth.
The late rally overshadowed Poncedeleon's incredible comeback.
The 26-year-old right-hander was hit on the right temple by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Memphis on May 9 last year, fracturing his skull and causing bleeding in the brain. He had emergency surgery followed by months of slow recovery.
Poncedeleon was one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League when St. Louis called him up Monday to help their injury-depleted rotation. He walked three and struck out three, threw 116 pitches and gave way to a pinch-hitter in the eighth with St. Louis up 1-0.
Jordan Hicks gave up a one-out single up the middle by pinch-hitter Phillip Ervin in the eighth for Cincinnati's first hit. Suarez's tying homer was only Cincinnati's second hit. It was Norris' third blown save in 21 chances.
Matt Carpenter had a pair of hits that extended his streak, including a double in the fifth inning off Luis Castillo. Yadier Molina followed with a single for his 17th RBI against the Reds this season, the most by any major league player against Cincinnati.
Carpenter homered in six straight games last week, a streak that ended on Sunday. He's 14 for 28 in the last eight games.
The Cardinals plan to start three rookies in the series, the first time they've had three rookies start in a row since September 1997 when Mike Busby, Matt Morris and Manny Aybar pitched against the Cubs. The last time they had three straight rookie starters before September was in August 1959, when Bob Gibson, Ernie Broglio and Marshall Bridges faced the Phillies, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Cardinals: Infielder Kolten Wong went on the 10-day DL with a sore left knee, opening a roster spot for Poncedeleon.
Reds: Second baseman Scooter Gennett was sick and out of the lineup. He pinch hit in the ninth and struck out. ... Infielder Alex Blandino had surgery to reconstruct his ACL and repair damage to his MCL. He was injured in Friday's game. His recovery is expected to take between six and eight months.
Cardinals: LH Austin Gomber (0-0) makes his first major league start after 15 relief appearances this season, including two against the Reds.
Reds: Homer Bailey (1-7) returns from the DL and makes his first start since May 28. He's been sidelined by a sore right knee. Bailey has made 12 starts for the Reds and has a 6.68 ERA.