Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 12, Yankees 9

Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 12, Yankees 9

By Rob Rains

Adam Wainwright was standing next to Albert Pujols in the eighth inning on Sunday when they watched Paul DeJong launch a three-run homer that turned out to be the difference in the win that completed the Cardinals’ series sweep of the Yankees.

“Albert said, ‘I’m so happy for Paulie,’” Wainwright said. “Everybody is. We love Paulie. He’s a great teammate and a great friend. He’s a great player too … It looks like he’s turned it around.”

DeJong’s story has been well-documented; how he fell from being an All-Star in 2019 to a struggling hitter sent back to Triple A in May. Recalled last weekend, DeJong has found himself in the middle of key situations and come through – including the game-winning two-run double on Friday night and the home run on Sunday that earned him a curtain call.

Manager Oli Marmol could have pinch-hit for DeJong on Friday and didn’t. He was rewarded, and then watched DeJong come through again on Sunday, turning a precarious one-run lead into a four-run margin.

“The human side of this game is real,”Marmol said. “Not pinch-hitting for him the other day is showing confidence in what we think he’s capable of doing.”

DeJong had already doubled in a run and scored twice earlier in the game because his big blow in the ninth, the 100th home run of his career.

“This was probably as much fun as I’ve had playing in the big leagues,” DeJong said of his weekend. “I said at the beginning of this year I just wanted to finish well and that’s all I’m really focusing on. When I came back here I said I was starting from zero and trying to work from there.

“I’m just thankful I got those opportunities and came through because I want to be out there and I feel like I have the right state of mind and I’m just going to keep rolling with that.”

The win extended the Cardinas’ season-best winning streak to seven games and moved them to 12 games over .500, now with a two-game lead in the division over the Brewers.

The game took 4 hours, 25 minutes, the longest nine-inning game in stadium history.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Nolan Arenado also drove in four runs with a three-run homer, in a five-run second inning, and a sacrifice fly. He also had a single and double on Sunday and in the three games he was 6-of-11 with five RBIs, four runs scored and two big defensive plays … Every Cardinal had at least one hit, scored a run or drove in a run on Sunday … The Cardinals drew eight walks to go along with their 11 hits and three of those runners ended up scoring … The Cardinals were retired in order only once in the game.

On the mound: Wainwright labored into the fifth inning, throwing 111 pitches. He was charged with six runs, but also stranded seven runners, including two innings with the bases loaded … Chris Stratton, Jordan Hicks and Packy Naughton combined to cover 3 2/3 innings, with Stratton allowing two runs, before Ryan Helsley got the last four outs for his 11th save. He did give up a home run to D.J. LeMahieu in the ninth, the first home run for the Yankees in the series and only the second he has allowed this season.

Key stat:  In Wainwright’s 197 career starts at Busch, this was only the second time the Cardinals won a game when he allowed six or more runs. That has happened 15 times, and the only previous win was a 14-6 victory over the Cubs on July 13, 2017, when he allowed six runs in five innings.

Worth noting: In his eight games since rejoining the Cardinals, DeJong has six hits, three home runs and three doubles, and has 10 RBIs … In the history of Busch Stadium 3, this was only the third time in 98 games that the Cardinals have won a game when they allowed nine or more runs. The other two wins were an 11-9 victory over the Pirates in 2019 and a 10-9 win over the Cubs in 2015 … Yadier Molina’s single in the third inning was the 1,000th of his career at Busch, making him and Yogi Berra the only catchers in history with 1,000 or more hits in one stadium … Juan Yepez will begin a rehab assignment on Tuesday night in Memphis.

Looking ahead: After Monday’s day off the Cardinals will open a three-game series on Tuesday night in Colorado. Miles Mikolas is the scheduled starter.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out Rob Rains, Editor.