Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Rockies 5

Thursday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Rockies 5

By Rob Rains

Miles Mikolas was on his way to another loss Thursday night when he got a little help from his friends.

Mikolas, who already leads the National League with 13 losses, avoided number 14 because of a pair of two-run homers, from Paul DeJong and Dexter Fowler, that lifted the Cardinals over the Rockies in the opener of a four-game series at Busch Stadium.

The blast by DeJong trimmed a 5-2 Rockies lead to 5-4 in the sixth before Fowler’s homer in the seventh put the Cardinals in front.

They needed the win to stay a half-game behind the Cubs in the NL Central.

Here’s how the game broke down:

At the plate: The Cardinals’ first two runs also came on a home run, from Marcell Ozuna, in the fourth. Ozuna and DeJong now have 23 home runs each this season, while the home run for Fowler was his 15th of the year … The two RBIs for Ozuna allowed him to re-take the team lead in that category with 69, one ahead of Paul Goldschmidt … The home runs by DeJong and Fowler were the only hits for the Cardinals after the fourth inning before Tommy Edman doubled in the ninth, when they loaded the bases with one out but failed to score when pinch-hitter Lane Thomas hit into a double play.

On the mound: Mikolas gave up a three-run homer to Nolan Arenado in the fifth that broke a 2-2 tie and was the 22nd home run he has allowed this season. It also was the fifth homer off Mikolas in his last three starts, covering 16 innings … He has won only two of his nine starts at home since May 6. It was the third consecutive start in which he allowed five or more runs and the seventh time that has happened this season … After Dominic Leone, Giovanny Gallegos and Andrew Miller combined for six consecutive outs in the seventh and eighth, Carlos Martinez relieved in the ninth and was able to pitch around back-to-back one-out walks to record his 15th save, breaking a tie for the team lead with Jordan Hicks, who has been out since June 22.

Key stat: The win improved the Cardinals’ record against the Rockies at home to 35-13 since Busch Stadium 3 opened in 2006. The .729 winning percentage is the highest against any opponent at the new stadium.

Worth noting: Manager Mike Shildt spent about two-thirds of a 30-minute talk with the media before the game answering questions about Matt Carpenter, who was not in the lineup for the game against the Rockies after striking out three times on Wednesday night, dropping his average to .196 since he returned from a minor-league rehab assignment. “He’s not playing today. It will remain fluid,” Shildt said. Since the start of last September, there has only been one month, May, when Carpenter had an average higher than .208.He hit .237 that month. Carpenter pinch-hit in the seventh inning and drew a walk before Fowler’s homer … After Junior Fernandez threw 41 pitches in two innings on Wednesday night he was optioned to Memphis on Thursday and replaced in the bullpen by Leone … Tyler O’Neill, who began a rehab assignment in Memphis on Wednesday night, was not in the lineup for Thursday night’s game.

Looking ahead: Jack Flaherty will get the start on Friday night in the second game of the series.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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