(Busch Stadium) It was straight out of a storybook. After pledging before the game to play with a new level of joy and competition to honor his late friend Jose Fernandez, St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz came through with a grand slam in the 4th inning to help propel his team to a 12-5 victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday.
“That was impressive–one of those special moments,” said Mike Matheny, who noticed the purpose Diaz had to his approach. “Watching him cross the plate and watching his reaction as he went through the guys, really hit me how much that meant to him and some of the load he’s carrying right now.
“You can never understand, I guess what each person’s going through when they suffer a loss like that. I know there’s a large group of guys that continue to spend time with him through the game and right now in celebrating with him, but also still in mourning because the game, the show goes on, but so does life. It’s a tough thing for a young player, anyone to deal with.”
“I felt some serious goose bumps when he hit that,” said Adam Wainwright. “I almost got choked up. I know he was. We were all excited for him. He wanted to make some good swings for Jose, I’m sure and gosh, I don’t know if there’s a spot all year we needed that more than tonight. That was huge.”
The grand slam was the first for Diaz, who drove the ball 408 feet into the left field seats just to the right of the visitor’s bullpen.
“At that moment, I was focusing on hit a fly ball so we could get a score,” said Diaz. “I was looking for a pitch up in the zone and put a good swing on it.”
“It was very emotional,” he began. “I was just thinking….he can’t be in a stadium anymore. It’s tough.”
In a classy move, the family that caught the baseball gave it to Diaz after the game. For now, the ball will stay with him but might later be presented to the Fernandez family.
“Right now, I just pray for his family and hope they get through–it’s tough,” said Diaz. “Hopefully, this…they can feel better.”
WAINO TIES DIZZY
–Adam Wainwright finished with a line of 5.2 IP, 5 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, and 6 Ks to earn his 13th win of the season. It was the 134th victory of his career, which moves him into a tie with Dizzy Dean for the 6th most in St. Louis Cardinals franchise history.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports,