Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Reds 4
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
Hits have been hard to come by at home lately for Nolan Arenado, leaving him frustrated about his own performance as well as the Cardinials’ overall lack of success.
He did something about both of those problems on Saturday night.
His triple in the sixth inning drove in a run and he scored on a bloop double by Dylan Carlson to lift the Cardinals into a 4-4 tie after they once trailed the Reds 4-0.
Then in the eighth, Arenado blasted his 30th homer of the year, and first at home since Aug. 7. to lift the Cardinals to the win over the Reds at Busch Stadium.
The victory let the Cardinals pick up the game they lost in the wild-card race with Friday night’s loss. With the Padres also losing Saturday night to the Dodgers, the Cardinals are now just two games behind the Reds and San Diego, currently tied for the second wild-card spot.
Arenado had just one hit in 16 at-bats on the current home stand before he came up in the sixth, continuing what really has been almost a year-long struggle. For the year, Arenado was hitting just .224 at home coming into Saturday night’s game.
He has been even worse lately. In 19 games from Aug. 1 before Saturday night, he was just 11-of-76, a .145 average. The home run was only his fifth at home since the All-Star break, but it could not have come at a better time for the Cardinals.
Here’s how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Paul DeJong hit his first homer since Aug. 12 leading off the third and Harrison Bader doubled and scored on a single by Tommy Edman … In the sixth, Tyler O’Neill beat out an infield hit with two outs in advance of Arenado’s triple … Paul Goldschmidt doubled with one out in the eighth before Arenado’s two-run homer, increasing his team-leading RBI total to 94 … Coming into the game the Cardinals had a collective .194 average in the first five games of the homestand, but their 11 hit night raised that average to .220.
On the mound: Miles Mikolas allowed the four Reds runs on two homers in the span of three batters in the third. Jonathan India hit a two-run homer with two outs and following a Max Schrock single, Nick Castellanos launched another two-run homer. Mikolas came out of the game for a pinch-hitter in the fifth, and the bullpen shut down the Reds over the final four innings. Genesis Cabrera retired all six hitters he faced in the sixth and seventh, Alex Reyes worked around a two-out walk in the eighth and Giovanny Gallegos earned the save with a 1-2-3 ninth, recording two strikeouts.
Key stat: This was the first time this season the Cardinals won a game they had trailed by four or more runs.
Worth noting: Before the game the Cardinals activated reliever Justin Miller from the injured list and optioned catcher Ali Sanchez to Memphis … Arenado’s last seven homers had all come on the road … The Cardinals had one run taken off the scoreboard as the result of an umpire’s review in the fifth inning, when it was determined Bader did not attempt to reach second base when he slid, trying to break up a double play.
Looking ahead: J.A. Happ will get the start on Sunday in the finale game of the series and the homestand.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains