Wednesday’s Game Report: Cardinals 6, Marlins 4
By Rob Rains
Sandy Alcantara was back on the mound at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, and for five innings he looked like the pitcher who has excelled against his former team since the Cardinals traded him to the Marlins in 2017.
Luckily for the Cardinals, those innings came after he looked like a different pitcher in the first inning.
The Cardinals jumped on last year’s Cy Young winner for four runs in the first inning, capped by a three-run homer from Nolan Gorman, en route to winning their season-high fifth game in a row.
Alcantara came into the game having allowed only five earned runs in five career starts against the Cardinals, a 1.24 ERA, striking out 32 batters in 36 1/3 innings.
Included in those performances were two starts at Busch, when he allowed only two earned runs over 17 1/3 innings.
Six consecutive hitters reached base with one out in the first inning off Alcantara on four hits and two walks. From the second through the sixth inning, he shut out the Cardinals, allowing just four singles.
Here is how Wednesday’s game broke down:
At the plate: The four runs equaled the most the Cardinals have scored in the first inning of a game this season … Nolan Arenado had an RBI single in front of Gorman’s 19th homer of the year … Gorman drove in his fourth run of the game with a single in the sixth … Every Cardinals’ starter had at least one hit except Dylan Carlson, who was 0-of-4 … Gorman has an extra-base hit in five consecutive games. His 41 RBIs at home this season is the third most in the majors, behind Adolis Garcia of the Rangers and Matt Olson of the Braves.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson made his first start of the season in the bullpen game and allowed two runs over three innings … Zack Thompson made his first appearance since being recalled from Memphis on July 7 and worked two scoreless innings and was credited with the win … The Cardinals also used Andre Pallante for 1 2/3 innings, Ryan Tepera for 1 1/3 innings and Chris Stratton for one inning. Stratton allowed a run in the ninth, when the Marlins got the tying run to the plate, before earning his first save of the season … Tepera also allowed a run.
Key stat: The Cardinals scored a combined 39 runs in the six-game homestand against Washington and Miami, an average of 6.5 runs per game.
Worth noting: The Cardinals have won eight of their last 10 games and are 5-1 since the All-Star break … Thompson had not pitched since a June 29 game for Memphis … Their streak of consecutive outs in the first inning ended at 26 on a two-out double off Hudson, the first hit they have allowed in the first inning in their last nine games … At 43-53, the Cardinals have their best record since they also were 10 games under .500 at 27-37 on June 9 … The Cardinals will have to make a roster move before Thursday night’s game in Chicago in order to open a spot for outfielder Tyler O’Neill, who will be rejoining the active roster for the first time since May 5 after being sidelined with a back issue.
Looking ahead: Steven Matz will get the start Thursday night in the opener of the four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Cardinals also will play three games at Arizona on the trip before returning home.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains