Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 1
By Rob Rains
Trying to score more than two runs in an inning has been problematic for the Cardinals lately – until they got some help from the Diamondbacks on Monday night at Busch Stadium.
In a couple of bizarre moves, leaving reliever Alex Young in to bat with the bases loaded in a 1-1 game in the sixth, and leaving him in to pitch when he was on fumes in the seventh, the Cardinals put together a six-run inning and won the opener of the three-game series.
Until that seventh inning, the Cardinals had not scored more than two runs in their previous 68 innings, since scoring three runs in two innings in their 9-1 win at Atlanta on June 20.
The inning began with a double by Edmundo Sosa, who scored on a single by Dylan Carlson. Yadier Molina’s two-run double and a two-run homer from Paul DeJong capped the biggest inning by the Cardinals since they scored seven runs on June 6 against the Reds.
“We were all just trying to do the job right there,” Carlson said. “It just kept rolling. To be rewarded was real nice and something to build on for us.
“We certainly would like to see that keep going. We’ve been taking real good at-bats the last few days and for it to kind of be rewarded was nice. Hopefully it keeps rolling going forward.”
Manager Mike Shildt said he saw signs that the offense was improving during the weekend series against the Pirates, even though the Cardinals lost three of the four games.
“That’s the offense we’re looking for, different ways to contribute and score runs,” Shildt said.
“We had a little bit of an internal adjustment with what we’re doing and I applaud all of the people for having their head around what that looks like, mostly the players, and get their mindset back to being able to compete in a lot of different ways … I feel like the approach the last five days has been where we expect it to be and today we were rewarded for it.”
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson drove in the Cardinals’ first run with a triple in the third, following a leadoff single by Sosa … They left five runners on base between the third and sixth before the big seventh inning … The other hits in the seventh came from Paul Goldschmidt, an RBI single, and a single by Tyler O’Neill … Carlson, O’Neill and Sosa all finished with two hits.
On the mound: Wade LeBlanc came out of the bullpen to make his first start for the Cardinals and pitched into the fifth, leaving after giving up a homer to Jose Rojas. That was one of four hits he allowed and his only walk was an intentional walk … The streak continued that the only starter to win a game for the Cardinals this month has been Adam Wainwright … The combination of six relieved blanked the Diamonacks on just three hits over the final 4 2/3 innings, with Giovanny Gallegos getting the biggest outs when he won a long battle against David Peralta following a leadoff double in the seventh, and then retired Christian Walker on a diving catch by O’Neill to end the inning with the score still tied at 1.
Key stat: The six hits in the seventh inning were more than the Cardinals’ total in 21 of their 79 games this season.
Worth noting: The Cardinals made a series of roster moves on Monday at both the major and minor-league level. Promoted to the major-league team from Memphis were right-handed pitcher Roel Ramirez and left-handed pitcher Brandon Waddell. Pitchers Jake Woodford and Seth Elledge were optioned to Memphis, where Woodford will be stretched out to potentially re-join the Cardinals as a starter. To make room om the 40-man roster, John Nogowski was designated for assignment … Top prospect Nolan Gorman was promoted from Double A Springfield to Memphis, and will continue to work mostly at second base with some games at third as well. Jordan Walker, the Cardinals’ top pick in last year’s draft, was promoted from Palm Beach to Peoria after hitting .374 with six homers in his first 27 professional games. At 19, he will be one of the youngest players in the high A league. The other corresponding move was the promotion of Malcolm Nunez from Peoria to Springfield … Harrison Bader, who spent the weekend playing at Palm Beach, will mover his rehab to Memphis beginning Tuesday night and is expected to be activated by the Cardinals later this week.
Looking ahead: Carlos Martinez, who has lost all five of his starts this month, allowing 30 runs in a combined 19 2/3 innings, will get the start on Tuesday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains