Tuesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Royals 0
By Rob Rains
Dylan Carlson had the best game of his short major-league career on Tuesday night, just when the Cardinals needed it most.
He just missed making it an even more memorable night.
Carlson had a career-high three hits, including a double and triple, drove in two runs and scored twice. His last hit was a single in the sixth and when he came up for the final time in the eighth, he launched a fly ball that fell just a couple of feet short of the left field wall, coming that close to hitting for the cycle.
“I knew I hit it well, I also knew I got under it a little,” Carlson said. “I was hoping something could happen there but I was glad to put another good swing on the ball.”
Carlson had a little advantage over some of his teammates against Kansas City starter Brady Singer. He faced him in two games last June in Double A, hitting a double and a home run in four at-bats. He admitted he shared a little information about Singer with his teammates.
“He listened to his own advice,” said manager Mike Shildt.
Since rejoining the team after a 10-day assignment at the satellite camp in Springfield, Carlson has gone 6-of-18 with six RBIs in six games, including five starts.
“He really was a product of having some tough luck when he first came up here and was kind of pressing after that slow start,” said Matt Carpenter. “We all know what kind of talent he has and his ability. What I think I appreciate out of him the most is his willingness to learn and listen to older guys and make adjustments. He’s very mature for his age (21) and he’s going to have a very good career.
“I really enjoy talking with him. There are certain young guys who come up here and they are just overwhelmed with the whole atmosphere and have a tough time talking to veteran players or have a hard time understanding what veterans say. But with Dylan I feel like I am talking to someone my own age. He really wants to learn and makes it easy on guys like me and (Paul) Goldschmidt. He’s constantly kind of in our ear and trying to get better every day.”
The win, combined with the Reds 3-2 loss to the Brewers, gave the Cardinals a one-game lead over both Cincinnati and Milwaukee in the race to finish second in the NL Central and earn an automatic playoff berth.
“We’re coming out here trying to win some ball games, looking to score some runs and to come through early and put some runs on the board early it felt good,” Carlson said. “The big goal was to come back here and trust myself.
“I put in the work (in Springfield) and I just trusted that the work I put in would come out when it was time to play again.”
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson’s big night began with a double in the second which drove in the first two runs of the game and he then scored on a single by Kolten Wong. He led off the fourth with a triple but was left stranded when an umpire’s review overturned a safe call at first base. Carlson singled leading off the sixth and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Tommy Edman … The other RBI came from Brad Miller, whose double in the fifth drove in Goldschmidt, who also had doubled. Miller’s hit broke an 0-of-18 streak … Carpenter moved into the cleanup spot, going 0-of-3, but reaching twice when he walked and was hit by a pitch. The team’s combined cleanup hitters are now hitless in their last 23 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.
On the mound: Austin Gomber worked the first six innings of the combined shutout, only the second of the season for the Cardinals. He allowed four hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three in filling Dakota Hudson’s spot in the rotation … Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera and Jake Woodford completed the shutout with a scoreless inning each, combining to get six of the last nine outs by strikeouts.
Key stat: In his three starts this season, Gomber has not allowed a run in a combined 11 2/3 innings. He would appear to be lined up to start on the scheduled final day of the regular season on Sunday against the Brewers.
Worth noting: What the next steps are for Hudson should be determined in a meeting on Wednesday with team physician Dr. George Paletta. Hudson was placed on the 45-day injured list on Tuesday and won’t pitch again this season. Hudson had to come out of his start last weekend in Pittsburgh with what was diagnosed as a flexor tendon issue in his right arm … Kodi Whitley came off the COVID-19 list on Tuesday and rejoined the Cardinals bullpen. He had been bothered by a sore elbow while in the Springfield camp after recovering from testing positive for COVID-19. To make room for Whitley, Junior Fernandez was returned to the taxi squad.
Looking ahead: Carlos Martinez will start on Wednesday night in the final game of the series against the Royals and of the 13-game road trip.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains