Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Diamondbacks 2
By Rob Rains
Despite everything that has gone wrong for the Cardinals this season, there is still a lot of time left for things to go right. Nobody knows that more than Adam Wainwright and Paul Goldschmidt.
If both veterans can repeat what they did on Sunday, the Cardinals’ chances of winning more times than they lose the rest of the year will increase dramatically.
Wainwright threw seven scoreless innings and Goldschmidt launched a two-run homer against his former team and the Cardinals hung on to beat the Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.
It was the second time in 17 starts this season that Wainwright threw at least seven innings without allowing a run, but the other time he did it, he had to dance around seven walks.
“Adam has high expectations just like our club,” said manager Mike Shildt. “That’s exactly what we want. He’s pitched well. He wants to be better.”
Wainwright thinks that can happen.
“I really want to pitch well for this team,” he said. “I’m very confident. There are still some things I can do better.”
Goldschmidt feels the same way after what he considered a sub-par performance in the first half of the season.
“We’re just trying to win as many games as we can and catch the team’s ahead of us,” he said. “I’m trying to do everything in my power to do my best.”
Even though they are now just one game above .500, the Cardinals trail the Cubs by only three games in the NL Central with 71 games left on the schedule.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: With Paul DeJong getting the day off, Goldschmidt moved up to third in the batting order. He singled with two outs the first and scored on a double by Tyler O’Neill, hitting cleanup … It was the first time the Cardinals have scored in the first inning of consecutive games at home since May 31 and June 1 … Goldschmidt then hit his 17th homer of the season in the third to cap a three-run inning that put the Cardinals in front 4-0 … They added their final run in the fourth when Harrison Bader hit a leadoff double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Matt Carpenter … O’Neill struck out in his other three at-bats after the first inning double … Andrew Knizner got the start behind the plate and went 0-of-3. He is now hitless in his first 10 at-bats in the majors, the longest hitless streak by a Cardinals’ position player to begin his career since Miguel Mejia, a Rule 5 selection, started 0-of-15 in 1996.
On the mound: Wainwright gave up only four hits over his seven innings, walked one and struck out seven. He stranded runners on third base in the third and sixth innings … The Diamondbacks rallied in the ninth against John Brebbia, scoring twice and getting the go-ahead runner to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Carlos Martinez had to come in to secure the final out, which he did after walking the first batter he faced to load the bases.
Key stat: Carpenter hit leadoff for the second game in a row and went 0-of-3 plus the sacrifice fly. His average in the top spot fell to .205 while the team’s combined average in that spot dropped to .197. No team in the majors has produced a sub-.200 average out of the leadoff spot for an entire season since the 2001 Orioles hit .192.
Worth noting: Kolten Wong was picked off first and charged with a caught stealing in the second inning, ending his perfect 14-of-14 stolen base streak this season … Another streak ended on Sunday as the Cardinals did not allow a home run for the first time in 14 games. They had tied the franchise record of allowing at least one home run in 13 consecutive games on Saturday night, tying the mark set in 1996 … The Cardinals said Jedd Gyorko will be re-evaluated in about a month while recovering from a leg injury and surgery on his right wrist. It’s a possibility that he won’t play again this season.
Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas will get the start on Monday night as the Cardinals open a three-game series against the Pirates at Busch Stadium.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Mike Shildt, Adam Wainwright, Paul Goldschmidt