Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 8, Cubs 3
By Rob Rains
For those who are of the opinion that the Cardinals have not played very exciting baseball so far this season, they would like to present as an opposing point of view the fourth inning of Monday night’s game at Busch Stadium.
It was an inning in which the Cardinals sent 10 hitters to the plate, hit one ball out of the infield, a single, – and scored four runs, sending them to the win in the opener of the four-game series against the Cubs.
The Cubs committed three errors in the inning, two by shortstop Javy Baez, and also walked a batter, Dylan Carlson, with the bases loaded. The only ball the Cardinals hit out of the infield was a single by Yadier Molina.
“That was a nice way to score there,” Carlson said. “Capitalize on what the game is giving us.”
The walk produced one of four RBIs on the night for Carlson, who added a two-run homer in the sixth. Carlson matched his RBI total from his previous 30 games, covering 130 plate appearances.
It was the first four-RBI game for a leadoff hitter for the Cardinals at home against the Cubs since Fernando Vina did it on May 13, 2001.
The win allowed the Cardinals to climb back to the .500 mark for the season at 47-47, the first time they have been at that mark since June 20.
Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Carlson singled in the Cardinals first run in the third … With one out in the fourth, Tyler O’Neill reached on an error by Patrick Wisdom, followed by Molina’s single, then a walk and the consecutive errors by Baez, one fielding and one throwing. After Jake Woodford struck out, Carlson drew the bases loaded walk and Paul Goldschmidt capped the inning with an RBI on a perfectly placed ground ball that turned into a single when nobody could cover first base … The Cardinals blew the game open with back-to-back homers from Carlson, his eighth of the season, and Goldschmidt, his 16th of the year and fourth in his last five games, in the sixth … Goldschmidt now has a 14-game hitting streak.
On the mound: Woodford made his first start of the season and worked into the sixth inning, allowing just one run, which scored on a double play, on six hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out six … Andrew Miller gave up a homer to Wisdom in the seventh before the Cubs scored their final run off John Gant in the eighth.
Key stat: Carlson’s four RBIs were the first for the Cardinals out of the leadoff spot since June 29, a span of 14 games, when Tommy Edman drove in a run. They were Carlson’s first RBIs since June 28, ending a stretch in which he was 10-of-58, a .172 average, with 21 strikeouts in 14 games.
Draft update: The Cardinals announced the signing of second-round draft pick Joshua Baez, who reportedly agreed to a bonus of $2.25 million. The 18-year-old outfielder, one of the youngest players in the draft, is expected to join the organization’s complex league team in Jupiter, Fla … Also agreeing to terms on Monday were the picks in the fourth round (Zane Mills) and fifth round (Gordon Graceffo), both right-handed pitchers. The only picks from the top 10 rounds still unsigned are Ryan Holgate (competitive balance pick between rounds 2 and 3), third-rounder Austin Love and seventh-rounder Alec Willis. The signing deadline is Aug. 1.
Worth noting: Nolan Arenado got his first day off since June 16. In the 25 games since, he hit just .215 (20 of 93) with five homers and 12 RBIs … Manager Mike Shildt said that Carlos Martinez had surgery last week to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. He is not likely to pitch again this season, which could mark the end of his Cardinals career … Miles Mikolas is scheduled to throw a second live batting practice session on Tuesday and assuming he recovers well, will then head out to begin a minor-league rehab assignment … To make room for Woodford on the roster, outfielder Lars Nootbaar was optioned to Memphis … Jordan Walker, the Cardinals’ top pick in the 2020 draft, has not played for Class A Peoria since July 13 because of an undisclosed injury. He is expected back sometime this week.
Looking ahead: Johan Oviedo is expected to be recalled from Memphis to start Tuesday night against the Cubs, still looking for his first career win.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains