After a hitless streak that reached 31 at-bats, St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Tommy Pham finally broke through with a single and 3-run homer in Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
“It felt good to finally barrel up a ball and not get caught,” said Pham, who spent the recent off-day working on a mechanical flaw in his swing. “I’ve been feeling like I’ve at least been controlling the strike zone better. The first day, I had some good swings, yesterday I had a hard hit grounder to short–I didn’t come around it. I stayed through it, so that’s a good sign. Today, I finally got some hits.”
The home run was the 50th of his career and tightened the game to a one-run difference as the teams traded five runs in the 6th and 7th innings.
The glitch is still noticeable in the video Pham watched of his swing, but having gone since June 19th without a hit, even an imperfect swing with results was welcomed.
“You don’t want to be a consistent out in the lineup like I’ve been,” said Pham. “You want to help the team out. Especially someone like me, who’s so motivated. I’m just glad I finally helped the team today.”
And like others in the clubhouse, Pham shared that he believes this Cardinals team has better baseball in front of it and he shouldered responsibility for it not having already taken place.
“Absolutely, I believe we’re better than what we’ve shown–we just have to keep grinding it out,” he said. “It doesn’t help that I’ve hit .200 the past two months, so you can blame me.”
The hitless streak was the longest of Pham’s career.
As for the Cardinals, the loss drops the team to 42-40 and is their fourth straight loss after winning four in a row. It was the second time this season they were swept in a 3-game series.
FOWLER TAKES LEAVE
–As his teammates packed their bags to head out on the road trip to Arizona, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler went around and wished each of them well–not because he was being traded, but he will miss the next three games to welcome the birth of daughter, Ivy.
Mike Matheny shared that Tyler O’Neill will be called up to fill the roster spot.
O’Neill has 22 combined home runs between Memphis and St. Louis this season and has hit a round-tripper in four of his last five games with the Redbirds.
photo credit: Jeff Curry, Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports