Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 4
By Rob Rains
The script seemed pretty familiar for the Cardinals on Saturday night in Phoenix.
For the third night in a row they grabbed an early lead – then watched the Diamondbacks crawl back into the game before the Cardinals were able to hold on and get the win.
This time it was a 7-0 lead, built on the strength of three RBIs from Yadier Molina and another homer from Tyler O’Neill, for the third game in a row, before the game became a lot more interesting than the Cardinals would have liked.
The Diamondbacks got the tying run to the plate in the ninth before Alex Reyes got out of the jam and earned the save.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Molina drove in a run in the first inning and the Cardinals put together a five-run third which included a two-run single by Molina and a two-run double by O’Neill … O’Neill provided the final run with his homer in the fifth, his 11th of the season … O’Neill also had another double in the seventh and so far in the series O’Neill has three homers, three doubles and seven RBIs … Tommy Edman reached base four times with a single and double, getting hit by a pitch and reaching on an error.
On the mound: Adam Wainwright did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, going a combined 33 outs between hits dating back to his last start against the Cubs on Sunday night at home, the equivalent of 11 hitless innings. He allowed a two-run homer to Stephen Vogt in the fifth and then failed to retire any of the three hitters he faced in the sixth, with two runs scoring in the inning … In the ninth, Reyes gave up a leadoff double and then walked the next hitter before getting a fly out and back-to-back strikeouts to close out the win.
Key stat: O’Neill’s 11 homers, which tied him for the team lead with Nolan Arenado, have come in just 104 at-bats, a rate of one homer for every 10.4 at-bats. Arenado has had 204 at-bats, hitting a homer for every 18.5 at-bats.
Worth noting: It was a busy 48 hours for Jose Rondon. The infielder played in Thursday night’s game for Memphis at Gwinnett, just outside of Atlanta, then flew to Florida on Friday to join the training camp of the Venezuelan team hoping to earn a spot in the Olympics in next week’s qualifying tournament. But on Friday night he found out the Cardinals were putting Max Moroff on the injured list and he was flying to Phoenix on Saturday to join the team. Players on a major-league team’s 40-man roster are not eligible to participate in the Olympic qualifyers … Moroff hurt his left shoulder while hitting in the batting cage before Friday night’s game … The Cardinals also optioned Johan Oviedo to Memphis before Saturday night’s game and activated Junior Fernandez from the taxi squad. Oviedo will remain with the team on the current road trip, although he isn’t likely to get another start before it ends … Andrew Miller was scheduled to return to St. Louis after a third rehab appearance for Memphis on Saturday night, where he threw one inning, walking one and striking out two. He threw 18 pitches, 13 of them strikes. A decision has not been made on whether he will join the Cardinals next week in Los Angeles.
Looking ahead: Kwang Hyun Kim will get the start on Sunday as the Cardinals go for the sweep of the four-game series. The game is scheduled to begin at 3:10 p.m. St. Louis time.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains