Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 12, Pirates 5
By Rob Rains
There were two pieces of good news for the Cardinals on Saturday night.
First, they picked up another win at their home away from home, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. Dating back to 2018, the Cardinals have won 18 of their last 21 games in Pittsburgh.
Second, they apparently avoided what for a moment looked as if it could be an injury to reliever Jordan Hicks.
Hicks had to com out of the game, walking off the mound with a trainer, after throwing a 98 mile per hour fastball in the seventh inning. The initial diagnosis by the Cardinals was that he had “tightness” in his right arm.
“I’ve checked in with Jordan and the medical team and at the moment we don’t feel anything structurally is taking place, so they are confident of that,” said manager Mike Shildt. “He just has some inflammation and stiffness, really not uncommon with the recovery from this. A lot of times this is done in a rehab setting which he didn’t have a chance to go through.”
Hicks returned this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019 and then opting out of last year’s shortened-season.
“No one is overly concerned,” Shildt said. “Velocity was still good, clearly a very positive sign. We’ll go from there.
“There’s got to be some level of concern, right? But we’ve been working with him and the medical team the entire season and I’ve spent a fair amount of time in rehab programs with guys at the minor-league level. You’re seeing it during our season. Not uncommon. Concern yes, not overly concerned and neither is Jordan but we will follow-up.”
Hicks was in the dugout after he was removed from the game and appeared to be smiling.
Shildt said there would be more evaluations on Hicks on Sunday and when the Cardinals return home on Monday.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals matched their season high with 15 hits. Tommy Edman had four hits (three singles and a double) and both Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado finished with three, with Arenado collecting a single, double and triple, driving in three runs … Goldschmidt had two singles and a double and also reached on a walk, scoring four runs … Paul DeJong got the big offensive night started with a three-run homer in the first inning … For the third game in a row the Cardinals had a pinch-hit homer, this time a two-run shot by Justin Williams in the ninth inning, when the Cardinals put the game away with a five-run inning.
On the mound: Jack Flaherty improved to 5-0 on the season as he struck out a season-high nine in six innings, allowing three runs. He retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced, giving up only an infield single … Hicks faced three batters, giving up a hit, and was relieved by Genesis Cabrera, who allowed consecutive hits that drove in the last two runs for the Pirates … Giovanny Gallegos and Kodi Whitley retired the side in order in the last two innings.
Key stat: DeJong’s homer was his sixth of the season, all of which have come on the road. All 13 of his RBIs so far this year also have come on the road, where he is 11-of-50. At Busch Stadium, DeJong has gone 4-of-40. All of those hits have been singles.
Worth noting: The Cardinals have scored 61 runs in Flaherty’s six starts. He improved his career record against the Pirates to 7-1 … Edman has a 12-game hitting streak against the Pirates … The Cardinals improved to 12-1 this season when they do not allow a home run … Daniel Ponce de Leon will have scans on his right shoulder on Monday in St. Louis, Shildt said. He complained of inflammation and soreness in his shoulder after his last appearance on the mound and was placed on the injured list on Friday.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will send Carlos Martinez to the mound on Sunday to try to complete a sweep of the three-game series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains