Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Angels 1
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals and their fans gave Albert Pujols the reception he deserved on his return to Busch Stadium on Friday night, showering him with long standing ovations and Yadier Molina even getting in on the act by giving his former teammate a big hug prior to his first at-bat here since 2011.
From his vantage point on the rail of the home dugout, Adam Wainwright offered a tip of his cap during the 90-second ovation before the first inning at-bat, which ended only because Michael Wacha threw a pitch and Pujols hit it, flying out to center field.
The crowd booed when Pujols walked in the fourth and cheered when he beat out a slow roller to third in the seventh, both at-bats earning Pujols more long standing ovations.
The fourth standing ovation from the second largest crowd in the history of Busch Stadium III, 48,423, came in the top of the seventh, when Pujols was replaced by a pinch-runner at second base. Then the Cardinals got serious about trying to win the game.
Marcell Ozuna, who had homered earlier, drove in his third run of the game in a three-run seventh that broke open a 2-1 game, which also marked the first visit by Mike Trout to Busch Stadium after playing 1,137 games since making his MLB debut in 2011. Trout had two singles and also reached base on a walk.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single from Ozuna, their first hit in the game, and his homer in the sixth put them ahead to stay. It was the 19th homer of the year for Ozuna … His single in the seventh produced his 60th RBI of the season. It was the eighth time this season Ozuna has had three or more RBIs in a game … Jose Martinez and Kolten Wong also had RBI singles in the inning … Carpenter walked twice and came around to score each time but also was 0-of-3 and now has one hit in his last 15 at-bats … Harrison Bader was 0-of-3 and saw his average for June fall to .169 (10-of-59) …The Cardinals had three more stolen bases, from Ozuna, Carpenter and Paul DeJong, to increase their league-leading total to 54, only nine away from matching their total for all of last season.
On the mound: Wacha allowed a run in the first inning but then kept the Angels scoreless through the sixth. He got an inning-ending double play in the third and a strikeout-caught stealing double play to end the fourth and retired the last eight hitters he faced. He allowed five hits, walked one and struck out four … Andrew Miller, a night after allowing a home run, relieved in the seventh with two runners on base and one out and got two strikeouts, including Shohei Ohtani … Carlos Martinez walked Trout with one out in the eighth but struck out the next two hitters and finished off the game in the ninth.
Key stat: In the five games so far on this homestand, the Cardinals have scored a total of two runs through the first four innings against five pitchers, four of them rookies, who had a combined six wins going into their starts. From the fifth inning on in those games, they have scored a combined total of 16 runs.
Worth noting: The crowd was 132 fans less than the biggest crowd in stadium history, 48,555, which attended the game on Mother’s Day, May 12, this season against the Pirates … The first defensive ratings from SABR, used in part to determine the winners of the Rawlings Gold Gloves, were released on Friday. Four Cardinals were among the top four players in the NL at their positions, with Wong leading the league’s second basemen. DeJong was ranked second at shortstop, Paul Goldschmidt third at first base and Bader fourth in center field … With Yairo Munoz restored to the active roster, Rangel Ravelo was optioned to Memphis … Ryan Helsley and Mike Mayers are scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Sunday as the next step in their rehabs from injuries.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start in the second game of the series, which will be a 1:15 p.m. start on Saturday.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains