Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 5, Royals 2
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals’ bench and bullpen had a perfect night on Saturday night and the result was a second consecutive win over the Royals at Busch Stadium.
Three pinch-hitters each delivered a base hit, two of them driving in runs, and four relievers combined to shut out the Royals on just one hit over the final five innings after started Kwang Hyun Kim was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth.
The win moved the Cardinals back to the .500 mark once again for the season, now with a 55-55 record.
Matt Carpenter’s pinch-hit double drove in a run in the fourth; Lars Nootbaar collected his first career pinch-hit in the sixth to also bring home a run and Jose Rondon added a pinch-hit single in the eighth, although he later was picked off first base.
Luis Garcia (two innings), Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera and Giovanny Gallegos combined to retire 15 of the 16 hitters they faced over the final five innings.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt, both of whom reached on walks, scored on a bloop single by Yadier Molina … Carpenter’s double drove in Paul DeJong, who also doubled, before Nolan Arenado homered in the fifth, his 22nd of the season … DeJong, who reached on a single, scored his second run of the game on Nootbaar’s single … After getting four hits Friday night, Tyler O’Neill was 0-of-4, striking out three times … Harrison Bader also was 0-of-4 and is just 5-of-33 over the last nine games.
On the mound: Kim, making his first start since July 28, a span of 10 days, allowed just one hit through the first three innings but gave up two runs on three hits and a walk in the fourth before coming out of the game for a pinch-hitter. He walked two and struck out three, needing 83 pitches to get the 12 outs … The only baserunner allowed by the bullpen was a leadoff single by Whit Merrifield off Cabrera in the eighth … Gallegos, who had given up three runs in each of his last two appearances, earned his second save of the season.
Key stat: The Cardinals as a team had just five pinch-hits in 25 plate appearances with one RBI since the All-Star break before going 3-of-3 on Saturday night with two RBIs. They had a combined team pinch-hitting average of .178 for the season coming into the game.
Worth noting: The last time the Cardinals had three pinch hits in the same game was Sept. 6, 2019 at Pittsburgh, getting this from Jose Martinez, Carpenter and Yairo Munoz … Miles Mikolas will get one more rehab start, on Sunday at Springfield, before likely rejoining the rotation and getting a start in one of the games next weekend in Kansas City.
Looking ahead: Jon Lester will start his second game as a Cardinal on Sunday as they go for the sweep of the three-game series against the Royals.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains