Two games, two standing ovations for St. Louis Cardinals rookie Tyler O’Neill. The Busch Stadium crowd called him back out from the dugout after he hit a 3-run, 388 foot home run over the wall in right field as the Cardinals went on to beat Kansas City 6-0 tonight.
“That’s unbelievable,” smiled O’Neill. “The fans here are so great, I’m so appreciative that I can be in a position where I can experience that firsthand.”
The home run by O’Neill was his third in as many games. This was his first opposite field blast.
“Scouting report said early, lives away so I was looking for something that I could get my arms extended, pitch up in the zone I could do some damage with,” explained O’Neill. “Two outs, knew I couldn’t just hit a fly ball. I had to drive something, so did the job.”
Since being recalled on Friday, O’Neill has hit .583 (7-12).
The 22-year old rookie also showed off his arm, nearly gunning down Kansas City starter Ian Kennedy at first base after a single into right field.
“Me and Jose were talking about that a couple pitches before,” shared O’Neill, who credited Martinez with giving him the reminder on playing an American League team and they may be able to take advantage of the pitcher.
The four runs driven in are also a career-high for O’Neill, who becomes the first Cardinals rookie to do since Luke Voit last August at Milwaukee.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK CANDIDATES
–Awarded to San Francisco’s Brandon Belt, the Cardinals had three players in consideration for the National League Player of the Week for the period ending May 20th–Matt Carpenter, Jack Flaherty, and Jose Martinez.
Carpenter had 10 hits while batting .417 with six doubles and Martinez put up a .417 average while driving in eight runs. Flaherty earned his first MLB win and struck out 16 batters in 13.1 innings with a 1.35 ERA.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports