Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Diamondbacks 2
By Rob Rains
An injury to Marcell Ozuna has given Tyler O’Neill a chance to play left field for the Cardinals. An error let him come up to bat in the first inning on Saturday night, a chance to take advantage of both situations.
O’Neill did just that, delivering a two-run double, and he connected for a two-run homer in his next at-bat in the third inning, producing all of the Cardinals’ runs in the win over the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium, who snapped a four-game losing streak at home.
The double by O’Neill followed a fielding error on Jake Lamb on a grounder by Paul Goldschmidt, which should have resulted in the inning-ending out.
Instead, O’Neill’s hit gave the Cardinals their first runs in the first inning in their last 12 home games and marked their first multiple-run first inning at home since they scored three runs on a homer by Ozuna on May 22 in the second game of a double-header against the Royals.
The double also gave the Cardinals their first lead in 28 innings and they went on to win for the first time in their last four games, getting back to .500 at 45-45 for the season.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had just five hits other the double and home run from O’Neill, whose only other home run in the majors this season came on April 14 … Three of the Cardinals four runs were unearned after Paul DeJong reached base on an error before O’Neill’s home run, one of three committed by the Diamondbacks in the game … The Cardinals were 1-of-5 with runners in scoring position (the double by O’Neill) and are just 2-of-15 in their last three games with a man on second or third.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson was able to battle through a tough second inning and worked six innings to get the win. In the second he hit the leadoff batter, walked two and gave up one hit but held the Diamondbacks to one run as he worked out of the bases loaded jam. He allowed only three hits, including a home run, in his outing but also issued four walks … Giovanny Gallegos pitched around a double in the seventh before Andrew Miller walked the only hitter he faced in the eighth. Carlos Martinez came on to get the four-out save, his fourth of the season, striking out three of the four hitters he faced.
Key stat: The home run allowed by Hudson to Eduardp Escobar in the fifth inning made it 13 consecutive games allowing at least one home run by the Cardinals. The streak ties the franchise record for most consecutive games allowing at least one home run, set in 1996. During the 13-game streak that year the Cardinals gave up 18 homers; this year the total has been 26.
Worth noting: Matt Carpenter was back in the leadoff spot and struck out four times in five at-bats. He also had a two-out single in the sixth. In his last eight games hitting leadoff Carpenter is 5-of-34 and he now is hitless in his last 11 at-bats in the first inning as the leadoff hitter. For the season Carpenter is now hitting .208 in the leadoff spot … After his quality start on Friday night, it appears Daniel Ponce de Leon will start again on Wednesday, which would be in place of Michael Wacha, although the Cardinals have yet to make that official. Wacha was warming up in the bullpen as Hudson struggled in the second inning … The Cardinals top prospect, Nolan Gorman, homered again for Palm Beach on Saturday night. He has two homers and nine RBIs in his last four games, and 13 homers for the season combined between Peoria and Palm Beach.
Looking ahead; The Cardinals did confirm that Adam Wainwright will start the series finale on Sunday, two days after he was forced to miss his scheduled start because of back spasms. That will shift the scheduled starts for Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty back a day, to Monday and Tuesday.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Mike Shildt, plus one-on-one with Mike Reeves interviewing Tyler O’Neill