Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 7, Rockies 4
By Rob Rains
It had been about 18 hours since Nolan Gorman came to the plate in a tie game in the ninth inning on Tuesday night and hit a home run that sent the Cardinals to a win over the Rockies.
On Wednesday afternoon, he once again stepped into the batter’s box in a tie game, this time in the eighth inning. Instead of hitting the home run on the first pitch, this time he waited until the second pitch.
Gorman’s blast broke a 4-4 tie, this time a two-run shot that propelled the Cardinals to the win in Denver.
It also put Gorman’s name into the record books, right next to Stan Musial, Jose Cruz and Albert Pujols. According to research by Bally’s Sports Midwest, Gorman became only the fourth player in Cardinals’ history to hit go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning or later in consecutive games.
Musial did it in 1948, Cruz in 1973 and Pujols on June 4 and 5, 2011 when he delivered back-to-back walkoff home runs in extra innings against the Cubs at Busch Stadium.
It also was a historic game for rookie Jordan Walker, who had to wait until the ninth inning to get a single that extended his hitting streak to the first 12 games of his career. He is only the second player 20 years old or younger to do that, joining Eddie Murphy, who did it for the Philadelphia A’s in 1912.
Here is how Wednesday’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals also got home runs from Tyler O’Neill, his first since opening day, and Nolan Arenado, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning … An RBI double from Taylor Motter, following a single and stolen base from O’Neill, gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead in the seventh before the Rockies tied the game in the bottom of the inning … Gorman’s fourth homer of the season came after a two-out error extended the eighth inning … Walker led off the ninth with a single past shortstop, the second time during his streak that he got his first hit of the game in his last at-bat but the first time it came in the ninth inning. Walker later scored the insurance run on a two-out double from Paul Goldschmidt.
On the mound: Jack Flaherty gave up a home run on his first pitch of the game, but allowed only one more run as he pitched into the sixth inning. He gave up five hits, walked one and struck out six in his first career start at Coors Field … Flaherty left with runners on second and third with one out in the sixth but Zack Thompson got out of the jam … The Rockies tied the game against Drew Verhagen and Andre Pallante in the seventh before Giovanny Gallegos struck out both batters he faced in the eighth and Ryan Helsley retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out two.
Key stat: Walker’s streak is the longest by a Cardinal to start the season since Matt Holliday also got a hit in the first 12 games in 2015. The last Cardinal to open the season with a 13-game streak was Chris Duncan in 2009. The team record is a 22-game streak by Joe Torre in 1971. The major-league record for the longest hitting streak to begin a career is 17 games, set by Chuck Aleno of the Reds in 1941 and matched by the Rockies’ David Dahl in 2016.
Worth noting: This was the first time the Cardinals won consecutive games in the same season in Denver since 2016 … Brendan Donovan started at shortstop, his fourth consecutive start at a different position following games at second base, first base and left field … Tommy Edman had his first day off, leaving Walker as the only Cardinal to start the first 12 games in the same position … Lars Nootbaar is scheduled to go on a short rehab assignment to test his bruised thumb before rejoining the major-league roster. He will be going to Little Rock, Ark., to join the Double A Cardinals, perhaps as early as Thursday night.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals return home to start a four-game series Thursday night against the Pirates. Jordan Montgomery, who has been the Cardinals’ best starter in the first two times through the rotation, will get the ball in the opener.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains