Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Phillies 0
By Rob Rains
The nine Rawlings Gold Gloves in Yadier Molina’s possession are a testament to his defensive skills and so impressive that they tend to overshadow the other aspects of his game.
That might not be the case much longer, at least the way this season is starting.
Molina hit one of three Cardinals’ home runs in Monday night’s win over the Phillies at Busch Stadium, raising his RBI total for the year to 25 in 33 games. All but one have come while catching, the most among all catchers in the National League.
Molina has led all NL catchers in RBIs the last two seasons, and also did that in 2013.
Molina, who just missed a home run in his first at-bat when he flew out to the warning track in center, also guided Miles Mikolas through seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits, as the Cardinals snapped their season-high four-game losing streak.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Molina’s home run in the fourth followed a walk to Jose Martinez and was the Cardinals’ first hit of the game … Matt Carpenter led off the fifth with his fourth homer of the season and after Paul Goldschmidt singled, Paul DeJong hit his seventh of the year to increase the Cardinals’ lead to 5-0 … The three homers were a season-high for the Cardinals in a home game this season … Molina added a pair of singles to cap his three-hit night … The final run scored on a sacrifice fly by Kolten Wong.
On the mound: Mikolas allowed only a one-out single in the first and a pair of singles in the sixth, interrupted by a double play. He did not walk a batter for the first time this season and struck out five … The Phillies did not advance a runner to second base until John Brebbia hit a batter and gave up a single with two outs before getting the third out in the eighth inning … Brebbia also gave up a hit in the ninth before giving way to Jordan Hicks to get the final two outs, even though it was not a save situation. Hicks had not pitched in the Cardinals’ last six games. He struck out Bryce Harper on a slider and Rhys Hoskins, also on a slider, to end the game and complete the Cardinals’ second shutout of the season … Harper was 0-of-4, striking out twice.
Key stat: After grounding out in his first at-bat, Carpenter is now 5-of-29 in the first inning this season (5-of-28 as the leadoff hitter), a .172 average. He has scored only one run in the first inning this season, and that was in the second game of the year. As a team the Cardinals have scored only once (three runs) in the opening inning in their last 19 games.
Worth noting: Carlos Martinez’s next rehab outing is expected to be on Wednesday in Memphis. The Cardinals have not said how many games they want to see Martinez pitch before adding him to their bullpen … After further research, the grand slams allowed in back to back games by the Cardinals in Chicago marked the third time that had happened in team history. The last time it happened was on Aug. 21 and 22 in 1977, although against different opponents (San Diego and Los Angeles). Once, in 1953, the Cardinals gave up a grand slam on three consecutive days, but they were spread over four games since there was a doubleheader during that sequence. Three times Cardinals’ opponents have hit two grand slams in the same game, in 1925, 1951 and the last time on April 16, 1996 by the Pirates … Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney, who spoke to the team in spring training after an invitation from manager Mike Shildt, was a guest at Busch Stadium on Monday night.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start on Tuesday night in the second game of the series, scheduled for 6:45 p.m.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
POST-GAME INTERVIEWS by Mike Reeves
Mike Shildt, Miles Mikolas, Yadier Molina