ST. LOUIS — Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 8, Padres 2
During his first exposure to the major leagues last season, Dylan Carlson got to experience a little of what it’s like to be in the middle of a playoff run at the end of the season.
It wasn’t the full experience because of the Covid protocols in place which included playing in front of cardboard cutouts instead of cheering, approving fans.
Carlson saw, and felt, that difference on Friday night. He earned the first curtain call of his life after hitting his second home run of the game, a grand slam, to cap the Cardinals’ win over the Padres in the opener of a critical three-game series at Busch Stadium.
The grand slam gave him the distinction of becoming the first rookie in franchise history to hit a home run from each side of the plate in the same game. It was also his first multiple-homer game.
“I haven’t played in that many stadiums like that with that many people roaring,” Carlson said. “That was pretty cool, definitely something I will remember forever.
“I was so excited. I think it was Yadi who was throwing me up the stairs, so I had to get up there for sure. It was awesome.”
The two homers, and a two-run shot in the first inning from Tyler O’Neill, carried the Cardinals to their sixth win in a row and eighth in their last nine games. It allowed them to maintain a one-game lead over the Reds for the second wild-card spot in the playoffs, and increase their lead over the Padres to 1 ½ games. The Phillies remained 2 ½ games behind the Cardinals.
Carlson hit his 14th homer of the year, batting lefthanded, in the fourth before greeting new pitcher Ross Detwiler with his second career grand slam, batting righthanded, in the eighth. The Padres brought in the left-handed Detwiler to turn Carlson around and make him bat from the right side.
“I kind of took it personally switching me around to the other side, just finding a way to kind of have a chip on my shoulder to go up there and compete even harder,” Carlson said.
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: O’Neill’s homer, his 27th of the season, followed a leadoff double by Tommy Edman and an RBI single from Paul Goldschmidt. Edman’s double was his 40th of the year, tying him for the most in the majors … Carlson’s first homer was the only hit for the Cardinals between the first and eighth innings … In the eighth, they loaded the bases on a double by Goldschmidt, a walk to Nolan Arenado and when Molina was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game … The Cardinals matched their season high of hitting at least one homer in nine consecutive games.
On the mound: Making his seventh start of the season, after missing all of the shortened 2020 season, Miles Mikolas won his first regular-season game since Sept. 12, 2019. He worked 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits … The Padres scored both of their runs in the seventh, charged to T.J. McFarland, after Luis Garcia relieved with runners on second and third. A walk loaded the bases before he allowed a sacrifice fly and an RBI single that cut the lead to 4-2, but he retired Fernando Tatis Jr. on a popup to get out of the inning.
Key stat: The last Cardinal to homer from each side of the plate in a game was Carlos Beltran on June 25, 2013.
Worth noting: Dakota Hudson worked five innings in his rehab start at Memphis on Friday night, throwing 68 pitches. He allowed two hits and walked three, giving up two runs, one of which was unearned. Assuming he recovers well, Hudson could rejoin the Cardinals at some point next week although exactly how he will be used remains to be determined … Tommy Pham played his first game in St. Louis since he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 29, 2018. He had a single in three at-bats and also drew a walk … The Cardinals matched their season high of being eight games over .500, getting to that point for the first time since May 29.
Looking ahead: With his 2011 teammates celebrating a reunion, Adam Wainwright will get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains