PHOENIX — On a day when Jose Quintana had his worst start since joining the Cardinals, the bullpen and Nolan Arenado picked him up and carried the team to another victory.
Four relievers combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings and Arenado’s single with the bases loaded drove in two runs in the seventh that turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead on Sunday as the Cardinals completed a sweep of the Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
It extended the Cardinals’ winning streak to seven games and kept them five games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals jumped to a 3-0 lead five batters into the game, getting four consecutive hits before making an out. The first run came on a leadoff homer by Lars Nootbaar … The Cardinals did not score again until the seventh … Arenado singled in a run in the first before adding his big two-run single in the seventh. Arenado has at least one RBI in each of the last five games … Tommy Edman provided an insurance run with a single that drove in Andrew Knizner in the eighth.
On the mound: Quintana gave up all four of the Diamondbacks runs before he was knocked out of the game in the third inning … Chris Stratton relieved and got out of the inning and retired eight hitters in a row before issuing back-to-back walks … Jake Woodford allowed a two-out single in the seventh before Genesis Cabrera got four consecutive outs and Giovanny Gallegos worked a perfect ninth to complete the victory. Combined the Cardinals pitchers recorded only two strikeouts in the game.
Key stat: Arenado has driven in 21 runs in 18 games in August, one behind team leader Paul Goldschmidt. It’s the most RBIs in any month this season for Arenado, who drove in 22 runs last August and 21 in September.
Worth noting: Jack Flaherty worked four innings in his rehab start for Springfield, allowing one run on four hits, a walk and seven strikeouts. He threw 66 pitches. Flaherty is scheduled to make another rehab start on Friday night in Memphis with a projected pitch count of 90. That would put Flaherty in line to return to the Cardinals’ rotation around Sept. 2 … Nootbaar’s homer was the third leadoff homer for the Cardinals at Arizona, joining Rafael Furcal in 2013 and Dexter Fowler in 2019 … Manager Oli Marmol was ejected in the third inning by umpire C.B. Bucknor for arguing balls and strikes … Both closer Ryan Helsley and catcher Yadier Molina are expected to rejoin the Cardinals on Monday in Chicago.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals will open a five-game, four-day series on Monday night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, which includes a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday. Jordan Montgomery will pitch the opener.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains