Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Braves 3
By Rob Rains
Jedd Gyorko and Jordan Hicks both did something they had not done for a long time on Saturday night – and the Cardinals could not have been happier to see it happen.
Gyorko hit a three-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning to give Hicks the chance to earn the Cardinals’ first save of the month in the win over the Braves at Busch Stadium.
The homer was the first for Gyorko since Aug. 20 of last season, and snapped a streak of 106 at-bats without a homer, the second longest drought of his career.
The save by Hicks was his first since April 29 and the first by the Cardinals since April 30 (Andrew Miller). The streak of 21 consecutive games without a save was the longest streak by the Cardinals since they went 28 consecutive games without a save in 2000.
Gyorko’s homer capped a four-run rally in the eighth after the Braves had taken a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Prior to that hit he had gone 1-of-16 as a pinch-hitter this season, and all seven of his hits (7-of-42) had been singles.
“It meant a lot to him clearly and to us as well,” said manager Mike Shildt.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals tied the game in the eighth on Matt Carpenter’s second RBI single of the night, a groundball that beat the shift because the shortstop was playing to the right of second base instead of his normal defensive position … The hit drove in Paul Goldschmidt, who opened the inning with a line drive that struck Braves pitcher Dan Winkler in the back. Paul DeJong was safe at first, thanks to an overturned call after a video review, and a single by Marcell Ozuna, followed by Carpenter’s single, set the stage for Gyorko … Carpenter and Goldschmidt produced the first two runs with RBI singles with a runner on second base, in the fourth and fifth innings … Carpenter, hitting fifth for the second night in a row, had his second three-hit game of the year (May 4) … Goldschmidt also had three hits, his fifth game this season with three or more, and first since May 10 … In his second game hitting leadoff Dexter Fowler was 0-of-3, striking out twice, and was hit by a pitch.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson allowed just one run through the first six innings but a leadoff double in the seventh got him in trouble … Carlos Martinez relieved with one out and gave up back-to-back doubles in his first seven pitches to produce the tying and go-ahead runs … Andrew Miller got a line-drive double play to get out of the eighth and Hicks worked a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his 10th save.
Key stat: The Cardinals had been 2-20 this season when trailing after seven innings. It was their second go-ahead homer in the eighth or ninth inning this season, the other coming from Paul DeJong in a 2-2 game in the eighth against Milwaukee on April 23.
Worth noting: Gyorko’s homer was the second pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals this season, the other was hit by Lane Thomas … It was the second pinch-hit homer for Gyorko in his career, the other came on May 3, 2015 at Colorado … Coming into the game the Cardinals had more strike outs – 56 – with runners in scoring position and two outs this season than they had hits – 46.
Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start in the final game of the series on Sunday night. The game, starting at 6 p.m., will be broadcast by ESPN. The Cardinals will have another chance to win consecutive games for the first time this month. They are 0-6 in those attempts so far in May.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Post-Game Audio by Mike Reeves:
Mike Shildt, Dakota Hudson Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko one on one with reporter Mike Reeves