Saturday’s Game Report: Cardinals split doubleheader against Yankees
By Rob Rains
The Cardinals reached the halfway point in their season on Saturday, and then got a reminder in game 82 about what has been so frustrating about this season.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs and Jack Flaherty worked six shutout innings to lead the Cardinals to an 11-4 win over the Yankees in the first game of their doubleheader at Busch Stadium, a game interrupted by a rain delay of more than two hours.
In the second game, the Cardinals spent most of the game trailing by a run before the Yankees scored three runs in the ninth inning to claim a 6-2 victory that gave them a split of the doubleheader.
The win in game one left the Cardinals with a 34-47 record at the halfway point in the season. It’s their fewest wins in the first 81 games since they also were 34-47 in 1990.
Here is how Saturday’s games broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals used the home run by Goldschmidt and a home run from Nolan Gorman, his first since June 9, to help build an 11-0 lead in game one. They scored five runs in the third inning and also had a four-run fifth, keyed by a two-run double from Andrew Knizner … The only Cardinal starter without a hit in the opener was Jordan Walker, whose 17-game hitting streak came to an end … Walker started another streak in game two with two hits, including an RBI double … Lars Nootbaar led off the bottom of the first with a home run, but the Cardinals failed to score after the third inning and had only one hit, a fifth-inning single by Goldschmidt, over the final six innings against a combination of four Yankees relievers.
On the mound: Flaherty allowed just four hits in his six innings in the opener, striking our four and walking two … The Yankees scored an unearned run off James Naile and three runs in the ninth off Drew VerHagen after the long rain delay … Matthew Liberatore started game two and worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing three runs … Dakota Hudson, recalled from Memphis to be the 27th man in the doubleheader, allowed just one hit over 2 2/3 scoreless innings in keeping the Cardinals within one run, but the Yankees scored three times in the ninth off Chris Stratton.
Key stat: The Cardinals started July after winning only eight games in June, their fewest wins in the full month since June 1971, when they were 8-21. They won only seven games in June 1981, but only played 10 games before the players went on strike. Only two teams won fewer than eight games in June, the Mets with seven and the Royals with six.
Worth noting: Neither Flaherty or Liberatore could retire the Yankees in order in the first inning. In their first 82 games, the Cardinals starters retired the opponents in order only 14 times in the first inning … Brendan Donovan did not play in either game. He is on a “no throw” program for a few days because of a sore right arm, but is able to swing the bat so he will not have to go on the injured list … Nolan Arenado, who has been dealing with lower back tightness, felt good enough to play third base in the day game but did not play in game two … The Cardinals promoted their top pitching prospect, 21-year-old Tink Hence, from Peoria to Double A Springfield on Saturday. He will be in the Futures Game next weekend.
Looking ahead: Jordan Montgomery will get the start in the final game of the series and the homestand on Sunday. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Yankees in the 1:15 p.m. game.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains