Having made the climb in the minor leagues in the heartland, Jack Flaherty found himself in the Bay Area set to make his Major League Baseball debut Friday night with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The right-hander left with mixed results over four uneven innings, but didn't factor into the decision in St. Louis' 11-6 win against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Flaherty went four innings, giving up five runs (all earned) on eight hits. He struck out six and walked one on 71 pitches (44 strikes).
Flaherty retired the side in order in the first inning. He first faced Denard Span and struck out Span.
He struggled in the second, giving up three runs on five hits. Brandon Crawford hit a two-run home run off Flaherty to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. A run-scoring single by Span later in the inning made it 3-0.
After St. Louis scored two runs in the third to close to within 3-2, Flaherty gave up a two-run triple to Hunter Pence in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-2.
St. Louis (68-66) scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth to tie it at 5 and get Flaherty off the hook for the loss before scoring six runs in the ninth to clinch the win. Kolton Wong gave the Cardinals the lead for good with a run-scoring single to make it 6-5..
Flaherty grounded out to shortstop in his only at-bat in the third.
St. Louis traded pitcher Mike Leake to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, leading to Flaherty being called up from the triple-A Memphis Cardinals.
Flaherty, a Harvard-Westlake High graduate drafted in 2014 in the first round (34th overall by St. Louis), was 7-2 with a 2.74 earned-run average at Memphis. He struck out 85 and walked 24 In 85 1/31 innings.
It's been a benchmark season for Flaherty. He represented the United States in the Futures All-Star Game in Miami in July against the World.
Flaherty began the season with the double-A Springfield Cardinals. He went 7-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 10 appearances (all starts). Flaherty struck out 85 and walked 24 in 63 1/3 innings with Springfield of the Texas League.