Cardinals beat Yankees, 7-6, in wild walk-off finish

03/07/2013 4:55 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Ivan Nova allowed one run over three innings in his second spring start. (AP)
A wild game in Jupiter ended in walk-off fashion as the St. Louis Cardinals topped the New York Yankees, 7-6, at Roger Dean Stadium on Thursday.

Until the bitter end, it looked like it would be the Yankees who registered the come-from-behind victory, as they erased a 4-3 deficit by scoring a single run in the eighth and adding two more in the ninth to take a 6-4 lead. Unfortunately, the long ball and a little bit of a defensive lapse cost the Yankees, with Kolten Wong’s two-run homer in the ninth tying the game and a pair of fielding errors paving the way for Adron Chambers’ RBI single that sealed the game for the Cardinals.

The Yankees did strike first, as Francisco Cervelli’s RBI single in the first made it 1-0, and they added to that tally in the second when Daniel Descalso’s error on a grounder by Addison Maruszak allowed Ronnier Mustelier to score from second and make it 2-0.

Oscar Taveras’ RBI groundout in the third and Pete Kozma’s solo homer in the fifth tied the score, but an RBI groundout by Mustelier in the sixth made it 3-2 Yankees and set the stage for a wild final few innings.

St. Louis re-took a 4-3 in the seventh when Descalso atoned for his error and smashed a two-run homer off Brett Marshall, but Austin Romine’s RBIO single in the eighth tied it once again, and the Yanks took a 6-4 lead in the ninth when Ramon Flores singled home Maruszak and J.R. Murphy followed with a double to plate Flores.

Come the bottom of the inning, though, the tandem of Kelvin Perez and Josh Spence couldn’t shut the door. Perez struck out Patrick Wisdom looking for the first out, but allowed a single to C.J. McElroy before Wong hit one over the right-field fence to tie the game at 6-6.

The defense then failed the Yankees, as what could have been the final two outs turned into the Cardinals’ winning rally. J.R. Towles reached on an error by Zoilo Almonte, and Joe Girardi brought in lefty Josh Spence – who pitched the ninth inning for the Dominican Republic on Wednesday – to face leftypinch hitter Matt Carpenter. Spence induced a ground ball, but first baseman Dan Johnson couldn’t find the handle, allowing Carpenter to reach and Towles to move to third. That brought up Chambers, and two pitches later, he laced a single to right to score Towles and give St. Louis the walk-off win.

Offensively, the Yankees rapped out 11 hits, with 11 different players responsible; one of them, however, was not Brett Gardner, who went 0-for-3 with a walk to snap his spring-opening seven-game hitting streak.

On the mound, the Yankees got a solid start from Ivan Nova, who gave up one run on three hits in his three innings, and worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the third allowing only that one run. Brett Marshall followed and allowed three runs, all on the homers by Kozma and Descalso, while striking out three in his four frames, and Matt Tracy pitched a perfect eighth ahead of the Cards’ rally.

The Yankees fall to 3-9 in Grapefruit League play with the loss, and will stay on the East Coast for one more day; they are set to take on Dean Stadium’s other spring tenant, the Miami Marlins, Friday at 1 p.m., before returning home to Tampa to battle the Braves Saturday at 1 p.m. on YES.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES comments