Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 18, Brewers 1

Monday’s Game Report: Cardinals 18, Brewers 1

By Rob Rains

It was just over a week ago when fans at Busch Stadium were booing the Cardinals as they struggled through a long losing streak.

As the fans at the ballpark on Monday night can attest, a lot has changed in the last week.

With Willson Contreras behind the plate for the first time since May 4, Jack Flaherty turned in his best start of the season with seven shutout innings and the suddenly hot offense stayed on a roll, pounding the Brewers in the opener of a three-game series.

The win was the fourth in a row for the Cardinals, who have won seven of their last eight games since hearing that loud chorus of boos.

Four home runs powered the offense, including a grand slam by Andrew Knizner in a 10-run eighth inning. Nolan Gorman hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs while Nolan Arenado homered for the fourth game in a row.

Here is how Monday night’s game broke down:

At the plate: Arenado’s three-run homer in the first inning got the Cardinals off to a hot start before they added one run in the second and four in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run double by Gorman and a sacrifice fly from Arenado, taking a 8-0 lead. Arenado and Gorman each have driven in at least one run in the last five games … The Cardinals finished the game with 16 hits led by four from Tommy Edman, including a home run leading off the eighth when he also singled and scored twice in the inning, finishing the game with four runs scored … Lars Nootbaar had two hits and walked twice and scored all four times he was on base … Goldschmid also had two hits and walked twice while Gorman had three hits and also drew a walk … Knizner entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth before he came up to bat as the Cardinals sent 13 hitters to the plate. He hit his first career grand slam off a position player, Mike Brosseau, to cap the big inning.

On the mound: Flaherty turned in the Cardinals’ second consecutive quality start as he allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out a season-high 10. He had to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning after allowing a single and two walks, but then allowed only an infield single until giving up a leadoff single in the seventh. It’s only the second time Flaherty has thrown seven or more shutout innings in a start since 2019. He did it on May 7, 2021 against Colorado … It also is only the second time this season a Cardinals’ starter has thrown seven innings in a game. Jordan Montgomery also had seven scoreless innings on April 8, also against the Brewers … James Naile pitched the final two innings, allowing the only Brewers run in the eighth.

Key stat: With Gorman driving in five runs and Arenado and Knizner with four RBIs each, according to Baseball Reference this was the first time the Cardinals had three players with four or more RBIs in a game since at least 1944.

Worth noting:  The five RBIs for Gorman increased his season total to 33, the most in the National League, coming in his 37 games … The 18 runs equaled the most the Cardinals have ever scored in a game at Busch 3. They beat the Braves 18-3 on Aug. 22, 2008 … The last 10-run inning for the Cardinals was the first inning of game five of the 2019 Division Series at Atlanta … It was their biggest margin of victory since a 21-3 win over the Cubs on April 27, 1977 at Chicago … Dylan Carlson did not play after spraining his left ankle on Sunday night. He was still awaiting the results from a doctor’s examination but hopes he will not be out for more than a couple of days.

Looking ahead: Montgomery will get the start on Tuesday night in the second game of the series.

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.