(Busch Stadium) It may seem unlikely that in game which saw a pair of errors, it was the defense that pitcher Jack Flaherty credited with being key to the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 victory over Cincinnati today.
“Defense played really, really well,” Flaherty began. “They hit a lot of ground balls, but these guys made every single play. Starting off in the first, I know Wonger–he made the error on the first one, but then we get in a situation where I walk Puig and then he makes a huge diving play, which was awesome. That was huge. You keep it 0-0, a lot of momentum going out right after that.
“Then we had the mishap between Jedd and Pauly on the pop-up, but we were able to rebound. We were able to get out of that, no harm done. Goldy made a play on the bunt that Gray popped up, take advantage of a mistake there…it was a really good defensive day.”
“Jack was awesome,” said shortstop Paul DeJong, returning the praise. “Getting ahead, expanding the zone when he needed to, mixing his pitches. That’s textbook Jack, right there.”
The Cardinals matched their season high by turning three double plays, two of them started by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
“I just try to get the ball to the middle infielder,” Goldschmidt said. “Those guys are the athletes and they know what they’re doing, so that’s just my focus. Get them the ball. Make sure of that first out and then they’ll be the guy that can get that return throw back to me or the pitcher.”
In his sixth start of the season, Flaherty (3-1) allowed four hits and did not yield a run in seven innings, his longest outing of the season.
“Each time out, I’ve just been trying to do the same things right,” Flaherty said. “Get ahead, stay ahead. Get guys in and out of there and not mess around with too many guys. I had that happen with Puig today, go 0-2 to a walk which was frustrating, but try to limit those. Limit the long at-bats. They put a lot of balls in play today, put a lot of balls on the ground and we made every single one of those plays.”
A two-out, two-run single by Yadier Molina in the 8th inning extended his hitting streak to a season-high 15 games.
“Just got lucky right there,” Molina said. “He made a good pitch, I hit it off the end of the bat. Just lucky, sometimes you need that too.”
A sacrifice fly in the 4th inning by Molina also brought home a run and matched him with Ted Simmons for 2nd all-time in franchise history (67).
Today’s was the sixteenth win for the Cardinals this month, which is their most since setting a franchise record with 18 wins in April of 2008.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports