Sunday’s Game Report: Cardinals 12, Tigers 6
By Rob Rains
On a day when Paul Goldschmidt hit three home runs, the biggest blow for the Cardinals on Sunday came on one swing of the bat from Brendan Donovan.
Mired in an eight-game losing streak, the Cardinals watched in the top of the sixth inning as the Tigers wiped a 3-1 St. Louis lead with a five-run inning, capped by a grand slam, leaving almost everybody at Busch Stadium with a “here we go again” feeling.
That feeling didn’t last long, thanks to Donovan, who blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning, when the Cardinals also took advantage of three errors to score seven runs and put an end to their longest losing streak in more than 15 years.
Donovan’s homer came after one run scored on the Tigers’ first error and turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 lead before Andrew Knizner doubled in a run and Lars Nootbaar singled in two more to cap the Cardinals’ biggest inning of the season.
Goldschmidt, who hit solo homers in the first and third innings, then completed the third three-homer game of his career with a two-run shot in the eighth that put the game away.
Here is how Sunday’s game broke down:
At the plate: Goldschmidt also singled in the game, going 4-of-5 and driving in four runs, raising his average to .321. His big day came a day after he had struck out three times and grounded into a double play in Saturday’s loss … Nootbaar had two hits and Knizner hit a pair of doubles for the first time in his career … Nolan Arenado and Tommy Edman had the other Cardinals’ RBIs … The two hits for Nootbaar increased his total to 11 in the last four games.
On the mound: Steven Matz allowed just one run over 5 1/3 innings as the Cardinals won for the first time in his seven starts … The Tigers big inning came against James Naile and JoJo Romero, who gave up the grand slam to Jake Rogers. The three runs charged to Naile were all unearned because of a fielding error by Edman … Drew VerHagen worked two perfect innings and was credited with the win before Ryan Helsley retired the Tigers in order in the ninth.
Key stat: Knizner, starting behind the plate for the third consecutive game, snapped an 0-of-31 streak with runners in scoring position dating back to last season with his RBI double in the sixth. He was 4-of-10 in the three-game series with a homer and two RBIs.
Worth noting: Goldschmidt became only the second Cardinal to hit three homers in a game at Busch Stadium 3 after Albert Pujols did it twice in the stadium’s first season in 2006. The only other Cardinals to hit three home runs in a home game were Mark McGwire, Stan Musial and Johnny Mize, who did it three times … Goldschmidt’s other three-homer game for the Cardinals came in 2019 at Milwaukee … The grand slam by Rogers was the 21st home run allowed by the Cardinals this season with a two-strike count, the most in the majors.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals play the Cubs for the first time this season on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Miles Mikolas is the scheduled starter.
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