Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals 3, Padres 2
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
Upset at being called out on strikes for the second time, Tyler O’Neill made certain that umpire Phil Cuzzi knew that he disagreed with the call – but stopped short of saying too much, or the magic word, that would have gotten him ejected.
That turned out to be a great move for the Cardinals.
By displaying that restraint, O’Neill was able to come up again in the eighth inning – and launched a two-run homer that lifted the Cardinals to the win over the Padres at Busch Stadium.
On a night when the 2011 world champion Cardinals were being honored for the 10th anniversary of their magical run to the title, the 2021 Cardinals appear to be going on a run of their own.
O’Neill’s homer wiped out a 2-1 San Diego lead and gave the Cardinals their seventh consecutive win and moved them nine games above .500, both their highest marks of the season.
It was the second time in the last four games that O’Neill had hit a go-ahead, come from behind home run in the eighth inning.
It allowed the Cardinals to move 2 games ahead of the Reds and 2 ½ games ahead of the Padres in the race for the second wild-card spot.
Here is how Saturday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals were shut out on just three hits by Yu Darvish through seven innings before he was lifted from the game. One of those hits was a pinch-hit double by Matt Carpenter that snapped his 0-of-31 streak with his first hit since Aug. 7 … In the eighth, Harrison Bader hit a leadoff double, went to third on a fly out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tommy Edman. Paul Goldschmidt worked a walk to get O’Neill to the plate with two outs, and he launched his 28th homer of the year … The Cardinals have now hit at least one homer in their last 10 games, their longest streak of the season.
On the mound: The Padres scored both their runs off Adam Wainwright in the fourth, when they got four singles in the inning. Wainwright saw his five-game winning streak snapped with the no-decision as he struck out two, stalling him at 1,999 for his career … The bullpen combined for three shutout innings, with Giovanny Gallegos working a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save.
Key stat: O’Neill’s homer was his seventh in 17 games this month, breaking a tie with Nolan Arenado for the team high. He and Arenado are tied for the team lead with 15 RBIs.
Worth noting: One member of the 2011 Cardinals who admits he is in a tough spot at this weekend’s reunion is Allen Craig, who works as a special assistant in baseball operations for the Padres and admits he feels a “little strange” to be surrounded by Cardinals while cheering for the Padres … Edwin Jackson said he is wearing his World Series ring this weekend for the first time since he received it. He declined to bring his other recent award, a silver medal as part of the recent U.S. Olympic team, to show off to his teammates. “It’s heavy,” he said … The only player expected to attend the reunion who did not was reliever Ryan Franklin.
Looking ahead: J.A. Happ will get the start on Sunday in the final game of the series as the Cardinals try to complete their second consecutive series sweep.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains