Character Walk-Off from Carpenter

(Busch Stadium) Bases loaded, bottom of the inning and then a moonshot over the bullpen and deep into the seats for the walk-off grand slam. That’s how Matt Carpenter delivered the 8-4 game winner for the St. Louis Cardinals in game one of their double-header this afternoon against Toronto.

“Honestly, that whole at-bat I was looking for that pitch,” shared Carpenter afterwards. “If I wasn’t, then it might have not got to 3-2 because he threw me a couple of fastballs to hit. But I just didn’t think in that scenario that I was going to get a fastball to hit. He got ahead of me with the fastball. But I stayed with my approach, continued to battle and got it into an even count and he finally threw it when I was looking for it.”

The home run traveled an estimated 412 feet and was the first Cardinals walk-off grand slam since Tommy Herr’s infamous seat cushion shot off Jesse Orosco in April of 1987.

But Carpenter’s blast helped provide a sigh of relief for a St. Louis team that had committed two errors and more base running mistakes earlier in the game.

“In general, we’ve got to do a better job and we will,” stated Carpenter. “I think guys are putting pressure on themselves and it’s starting to spill over in every area of our game. We know what we have as far as personnel, what kind of players we have and we’re pretty confident in that group that we roll out every day. We’re going to keep trending in the right direction and hopefully get it all straightened out.”

“We’re learning all the time,” said Mike Matheny. “As long as guys are open, got their mind on getting better all the time, we’ll take advantage of things that are obvious and things that are not so obvious. That’s what our staff likes to do and our players are open all the time. A lot of things that we can learn from, but the today the thing to learn from is the fact just keep your nose in there and keep playing the game. We’ll pick each other up.”

Randal Grichuk helped in that regard, extending his current hit streak to five games, as he came off the bench to deliver a 2-run shot in the 9th to send the game into extra innings.

“I feel better where I’m at now then when I started, obviously, but definitely not where I want to be,” said Grichuk. “Think I made some strides in Milwaukee, as far as seeing the ball better. More mechanically sound with my swing and setup. Still working everyday with (Mabry). Hopefully, it will continue in the right direction.”

Before entering the game as part of a double-switch in the 6th, Grichuk was already down in the cage getting his swing ready.  He now leads the team with 11 RBIs.

“The thing that always comes back to me is, it’s very easily could we have just quit in that game,” said Carpenter. “Randal comes in and hits the big home run and then the last inning there in the 11th. You look at a team when you have a game like that, when it’s kind of sloppy, a lot of teams can just pack it in–especially on a double-header day. When nobody wants to be out there for a long time, but we never quit. We kept fighting and we found a way to win that game. It says a lot about the character of this club and it’s fun to play with them.”

–The win was the first for St. Louis over Toronto at Busch Stadium III (1-4). The Cardinals have now defeated every MLB opponent in the ballpark.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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