Saturday’s Game Report: Astros 8, Cardinals 2
By Rob Rains
With the trading deadline only four days away, Daniel Ponce de Leon took the ball on Saturday night ready to show the Cardinals they didn’t need to worry about making a deal for another starting pitcher.
The night didn’t quite work out as planned.
Ponce de Leon’s evening at Busch Stadium was over before the game against the Astros was three innings old. He struggled to throw strikes, gave up two runs in the first and left with one out in the third and the bases loaded, all getting there on walks.
All of them also got to walk home when Carlos Correa hit Michael Wacha’s sixth pitch for a grand slam that sent the Astros to the victory, snapping the Cardinals’ six-game winning streak.
Ponce de Leon, who took over Wacha’s spot in the rotation, has failed to last past the fourth inning in any of his last three starts. In a combined 9 2/3 innings he has walked 10 and allowed 10 runs.
That spot in the rotation will come up again next Saturday, when the Cardinals will be in Oakland, four days after Wednesday’s trading deadline. Who will get the start is a question the Cardinals can’t answer right now.
The only good news for the Cardinals on Saturday night was that Paul Goldschmidt tied the franchise record by homering in his sixth consecutive game. The only other player to hit at least one home run in six consecutive games in the same season was Matt Carpenter, last year.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Goldschmidt’s homer came with one out in the fourth, his 24th of the season. It’s also his 10th homer in July, just one behind his career high of 11 for any month … The Cardinals have homered in their last 11 games, but saw their streak of hitting at least two homers end at six games … Their other run scored in the eighth when Tommy Edman singled, went to third on an error and scored on a ground out … Kolten Wong struck out in the ninth inning to end a streak of 52 consecutive plate appearances without a strike out, dating back to July 13 … Harrison Bader struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, dropping his season average to .198.
On the mound: After giving up the first two Houston runs in the first on a walk and two hits, Ponce de Leon could not survive the third inning. His outing of 2 1/3 innings was the third shortest of the season by a Cardinals’ starter … After giving up the grand slam to Correa, Wacha scattered five hits over the next 4 2/3 innings … The Astros scored their final two runs in the eighth on a triple by George Springer off Mike Mayers that followed a double and a walk.
Key stat: Goldschmidt’s homer was the 135th for the Cardinals this season while the home run by Correa off Wacha was the 135th allowed by the Cardinals this season.
Worth noting: A CT scan on Dexter Fowler’s left foot came back negative after he fouled a ball off that foot on Friday night, the same one he broke in a similar fashion last season. “It’s just going to be sore,” said manager Mike Shildt. Fowler’s status was said to be day to day … Jedd Gyorko, who has been out since June 7 because of a series of injuries, is set to begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday in Memphis. Shildt said the plan is for Gyorko to play eight games, split between Memphis and Springfield, with some days off built into his schedule, before a decision will be made on when to add him to the active roster. Gyorko has only played 38 games this year and has just 56 at-bats … Carpenter was 0-of-3 with a walk and a strikeout in Springfield on Saturday night. He is now 0-of-12 in four games of a rehab assignment split between Memphis and Springfield … The Cardinals announced that Chasen Shreve cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Memphis … Redbirds outfielder Lane Thomas hit three home runs on Saturday night at Oklahoma City.
Looking ahead: Dakota Hudson will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Post-Game Audio: Mike Shildt