ST. LOUIS — Friday’s Game Report: Cardinals 4, Yankees 3
A former Cardinals favorite made his emotional return to Busch Stadium on Friday night and the fans responded by giving Matt Carpenter a long standing ovation during his first at-bat.
It was a current Cardinal who had been missing for a while, however, who had the largest crowd of the season on their feet seven innings later.
Paul DeJong, banished to Memphis after struggling at the start of the season, returned this week for the first time since early May – and had a moment he had been waiting for for a long time.
DeJong’s two-out double into the right-field corner in the eighth turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead over the Yankees and Ryan Helsley closed out the win in the opener of the most-anticipated series of the season.
It was the fifth victory in a row for the Cardinals, their longest winning streak of the season, and allowed them to equal their high-water mark for the season of 10 games above .500 (58-48).
Carpenter, who admitted before the game he didn’t think he would be back at Busch when last season ended, singled in his first two bats, flied out to the wall in right in the seventh and then the game found him again in the ninth.
Facing Helsley with two outs and the tying run on first, Carpenter checked his swing and hit a slow roller, which DeJong was able to field, cutting in front of Tommy Edman, and flip with his glove to first to barely beat Carpenter for the game-ending out.
Here is how the game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals had only one hit, an RBI single by Yadier Molina in the second, through the first five innings … In the sixth, Tyler O’Neill’s two-out single drove in Paul Goldschmidt, who had drawn one of the six walks the Cardinals received in the game. Three of those runners ended up scoring … In the eighth, Nolan Arenado reached on an infield single with one out and O’Neill drew a two-out walk before DeJong drove in his first runs at Busch since April 9, the second game of the season.
On the mound: Dakota Hudson was charged with the three runs in 4 1/3 innings, with Andre Pallante allowing an inherited runner to score in the fifth … Pallante, in his first appearance since moving back to the bullpen, allowed three hits over four innings … Helsley gave up a one-out walk in the ninth before retiring Aaron Judge and Carpenter to end the game. Judge, who leads the majors with 43 home runs, had two bloop singles and drew a walk in five plate appearances.
Key stat: This was only the second win of the year for the Cardinals in a game they were losing after the seventh inning. They had been 1-42 in those games prior to Friday night.
Worth noting: Carpenter was originally going to hit sixth and play right field for the Yankees but he was moved up to third and switched to the DH role when Anthony Rizzo had to be scratched because of back spasms … New Yankee Harrison Bader did not accompany the team to this weekend’s series as he continues his recovery from plantar fasciitis … Juan Yepez began a throwing program on Friday and the Cardinals hope he can go on a minor-league rehab assignment next week … The last time the Cardinals were 10 games over .500 was on June 14.
Looking ahead: Jordan Montgomery, acquired in the trade for Bader, will make his Cardinals debut in Saturday night’s game, pitching against his former team.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains.