By Rob Rains
The lost weekend in Chicago over, the Cardinals were able to turn the page and get a win on Monday night the old-fashioned way – combining timely hits with good pitching and solid defense.
They broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth on an RBI double from Tyler O’Neill and a bases-loaded ground out by Paul DeJong to defeat the Marlins in the opener of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Adam Wainwright allowed two runs over six innings before the bullpen gave up only one hit over the final three innings.
Wainwright, for one, believes the way the Cardinals played on Monday night was much more indicative of how they normally play than what happened when they were swept by the Cubs in Chicago, capping a stretch when they lost 11 of 13 games.
“I know we have not been playing great ball but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion things are going to turn around real quickly for us,” Wainwright said. ‘Yadi and I were talking the other day and I think what we just went through is going to help us in the long run.
“We are going to overcome this, Two things right, either we will or we won’t. It’s either going to help us and we see what we are made of and we are going to come back strong and win this division and hopefully the World Series, or we are going to fold up tent. I know the guys in the clubhouse and they are not folding up. I like our chances to come back strong.”
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Dylan Carlson scored the go-ahead run in the eighth after drawing a walk to lead off the inning and went to second on a single by Paul Goldschmidt. Carlson reached base three times also singling twice… Cardinals tied the game in the fifth when Tommy Edman doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a single by Goldschmidt… Their first run came in the second when Molina singled and later scored on a single by Edmundo Sosa.
On the mound: Wainwright allowed just two hits through the first 2 2/3 innings but then got himself in trouble in the third when he walked two batters and then gave up a two-run single to Jazz Chisholm. He then retired 10 of the last 11 hitters he faced before coming out of the game in the sixth inning… The bullpen combination of Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes shut down the Marlins over the final three innings. They only allowed one hit– a single off of Cabrera, but that runner was picked off of first base by Molina…Reyes eared his 17th save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Key stat: The back-to-back strong starts from Carlos Martinez and Wainwright marked the first time the Cardinals had received qualiry starts in consecutive games since May 19 and 21, from Jack Flaherty and Martinez.
Worth noting: In the first release of the All-Star game voting results, Yadier Molina and Nolan Arenado were in second place. Molina trails the Giants’ Buster Posey while Arenado is behind Kris Bryant of the Cub … Monday night’s game began a stretch in which the Cardinals will play 20 consecutive games against teams that are currently below .500 … Sosa made his first start of the season at second base.
Looking ahead: Kwang Hyun Kim is expected to come off the injured list and make the start on Tuesday night in game two of the series. He missed only one start because of his sore back,
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains