As frustrating as the Cardinals offense has been this season, there have been moments, like in the sixth inning on Saturday night, when it all comes together.
In the span of seven batters, the Cardinals hit three home runs, producing five runs, and turned a tight 2-1 game into a blowout win over the Reds at Busch Stadium.
Two of the homers came from hitters who admittedly have had long, struggling stretches this season. Matt Carpenter led off the inning with a home run, and the big blow of the inning was a three-run homer from Harrison Bader.
The other homer came from Paul Goldschmidt, capping the inning.
“We’ve just got a lot of guys, myself included, who haven’t produced well enough to this point of the year,” Carpenter said. “You look at what Goldy, (Brad) Miller and even Paul DeJong – the middle of our lineup – has been able to do, the rest of us just have to find a way to do a little bit better.
“Seven, eight, nine and I would be willing to bet that Kolten (Wong) and Tommy (Edman) feel like they can be better at the top. Consistent from all of us, we could all do a better job. We haven’t been able to get that full top to bottom production. This was a good start to that. If we can continue that I think we will be headed in the right direction.”
The win was the 20th of the season for the Cardinals – and came on the day one of the greatest players in team history, Lou Brock – whose uniform number 20 is retired – was laid to rest.
Of those 20 wins, 17 of them have come when the Cardinals scored five or more runs. They are now 17-0 when scoring five or more runs, and are just 3-19 when they scored four or fewer runs.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The other homer came from Miller, his team-leading sixth of the season, leading off the fourth … The Cardinals had the bases loaded later in that inning with nobody out but could only add one more run, on a groundout by Matt Wieters … Austin Dean made his first start, in left field, and reached base four times with a double and three walks.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson did not allow a hit until his 89th pitch of the game, when Joey Votto doubled with two outs in the sixth inning. Hudson had issued four walks by that point in the game, including walking the bases loaded with nobody out in the second, leading to the Reds only run on a fielder’s choice groundout. He then got Nick Castellanos to hit into a double play to avoid further damage … Tyler Webb allowed one hit in his two scoreless innings, and Rob Kaminsky pitched the ninth, giving up a two-out single. Kaminsky, in his first home appearance, also struck out Votto, who was ejected for arguing the called strike three.
Key stat: It was the first time the Cardinals hit three home runs in an inning since July 24 last season at Pittsburgh.
Worth noting: Genesis Cabrera came in to relieve Hudson to start the seventh inning but had more problems with his fingernail and had to leave the game without facing a batter … The Cardinals will conclude their season-series against the Reds on Sunday and already have played the Cubs for the last time – both before they play their first game of the year against the Milwaukee Brewers. That will come with a doubleheader on Monday, the first of 10 games in the final two weeks – out of 18 total – left on the schedule. The Cardinals only games that will not be against the Brewers after Monday will be a five-game series at Pittsburgh and three games at Kansas City,
Looking ahead: Carlos Martinez will make his second start since coming off the COVID-19 injured list in Sunday’s game.