After being blanked for their last 22 innings, the St. Louis Cardinals wasted little time jumping on the scoreboard against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night–scoring the first of their nine runs in the first inning.
“It was big,” admitted Matt Carpenter, who returned to the lead-off spot. “Tonight was kind of an uncharacteristic game especially defensively, kind of a sloppy game which you don’t really see out of us very often. When you do have something like that, it’s nice to be able to generate some offense to kind of counterbalance that and find a way to win the game when it didn’t look pretty, but we still came out on top.”
Carpenter hit a pair of home runs, plus had a double and single to become the first Cardinals player since Albert Pujols in July of 2004 to record four hits, two home runs, score four runs, and have four runs batted in during a game.
“I got off to a slow start right when we came back from the Break statistically but I felt good,” shared Carpenter, who entered the night with five hits in his last 23 at-bats. “I felt like I was close. The whole second half so far, I’ve felt good at the plate. I knew that just a matter of time–I don’t like saying that and making it sound like I’m cocky, but I really truly believe that. I know I can hit. I know what kind of hitter I am and when I go through slumps, I always feel like it evens itself out on the back end.”
The four runs scored was a career-high for Carpenter, who also enjoyed his first multi-HR game and set a new season best with his 12th round-tripper of the year.
–Greg Garcia earned the game-winning RBI–drawing a bases loaded walk from John Axford in the bottom of the 9th inning.
–Brandon Moss made his Cardinals debut as a pinch-hitter in the 6th inning. He flied out to left field and later struck out to end the 8th inning.
–Stephen Piscotty continued his streak of hitting in games he has started to seven (.375, 9-24) with a pair of hits, including a double.
–Overshadowed by the walk-off victory was the tension of the 5th inning after Carlos Martinez hit DJ LeMahieu to load the bases. The Rockies second baseman exchanged some words with Martinez as he walked to first base with Yadier Molina close by. After the game, LeMahieu expressed his belief the action was intentional.
“Obviously, it wasn’t an accident,” stated LeMahieu. “I hit the ball back at him the at-bat before and I guess he thought I tried to hit it back at him or something.”
Asked how he could control that, LeMahieu responded “I’m not sure, but he was staring me all the way down so I don’t know.”
Martinez, who allowed a career-high 10 hits on the night and five runs, at one point gave the middle finger to the Colorado dugout as he left the field between innings.
Home plate umpire Paul Nauert warned both teams because of the hit batsmen, but chose not to issue an ejection when Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch in the 7th inning.
“Just talking about the situation–you know there’s a warning in place,” said Mike Matheny of his conversation with Nauert about Wong being hit. “Needs to be defined at that point. Sticking up for my player too, that’s about as simple as I can make it.”
photo credits: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports