Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 9, Rockies 8
By Rob Rains
On the day the Cardinals welcomed Yadier Molina back to their lineup from the injured list, they got a reminder about how nice it can be to have Paul Goldschmidt in it as well.
A four-run rally by the Rockies in the top of the fifth inning wiped out a 5-1 Cardinals lead, but it didn’t take long – five pitches, thanks to Goldschmidt – for the Cardinals to regain the momentum and go on to beat the Rockies on Saturday at Busch Stadium.
Dylan Carlson singled on the first pitch in the bottom of the fifth before Goldschmidt launched a long home run onto the concourse in left field. They tacked on two more runs in the inning, and needed all of them to hold off the Rockies.
“That ball looked like a driver off the tee box,” Paul DeJong said about Goldschmidt’s homer. “Absolutely destroyed it. I think that inning showed the potential of our offense to kind of take back the momentum of the game.”
The homer, estimated at 430 feet, was Goldschmidt’s fifth of the season. He is one of five Cardinals with at least five homers in the season’s first 34 games.
“You just try to do your job and home runs are kind of the byproduct of putting a good swing on a good pitch,” Goldschmidt said.
Goldschmidt finished the day with three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored which came after an eight-game stretch in which he was just 7-of-31 with three RBIs.
Molina, who had been out with a tendon sprain in his right foot, also drove in three runs with a ground out and a two-run single in his first gamer since April 26.
“A lot of positive things took place today offensively,” said manager Mike Shildt.
The win improved the Cardinals to 12-4 with one game left in a stretch of 17 consecutive games, which was interrupted by a rainout but then included a doubleheader.
They became the first team in the National League to reach 20 wins, equaling their season high of six games over .500.
Here is how Saturday’s game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson also had a big day as he reached base four times on two hits, a walk and when he was hit by a pitch, scoring three runs … His single was one of four hits in a three-run first inning … The extra runs following Goldschmidt’s homer in the fifth came on back-to-back doubles by Nolan Arenado and DeJong and a sacrifice fly later in the inning by Tyler O’Neill … DeJong also reached base four times, with a single and two walks in addition to his double … All eight position starters had at least one hit in the Cardinals’ 12-hit attack in their first game this season with the lineup they expected to begin the season with before injuries derailed that plan.
On the mound: Carlos Martinez, dealing with a sore ankle he said he injured during the celebration of Jack Flaherty’s home run on Friday night, allowed five runs over five innings. He struggled with his control, issuing a season-high five walks. He had walked a total of five batters in his last three starts combined, covering 21 1/3 innings … Giovanny Gallegos pitched out of a jam in the seventh but allowed two of the three hitters he faced in the eighth to reach base before Alex Reyes came in to try to get the final five outs. He allowed one inherited runner to score and also gave up his first run of the season before stranding the potential tying run at second. He then came back out and struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 10th save.
Key stat: The Cardinals issued a combined total of six walks in the game, with one by Reyes following the five by Martinez, and four of those runners later came around to score. Another run scored on a wild pitch by Martinez. They are tied with the Cubs for the most walks allowed in the NL so far this season with 140 and also have thrown a league-leading 19 wild pitches.
Worth noting: The Cardinals have won their last eight games against the Rockies at Busch Stadium and 14 of the last 15. Since the start of the 2010 season, they are 31-7 against the Rockies at home … Since 2016, the Cardinals are 6-22 in games in which they give up eight runs … With Molina returning to the lineup, catcher Ali Sanchez was optioned to Memphis although he will stay in St. Louis this weekend and travel with the Cardinals on the road trip next week to Milwaukee and San Diego as part of the taxi squad.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to the mound on Sunday trying to complete the series sweep.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains