St. Louis entered Tuesday night’s match-up with the Arizona Diamondbacks riding a two game winning streak, and also holding a 3 1/2 game lead over the Pirates in the National League Central Division. With Pittsburgh losing 5-2 to the Marlins early Tuesday night, the Cardinals looked to take advantage and increase their lead in the division.
And that’s exactly what they were able to do.
The Cardinals came right out of the gate with a high-potent offense, and in the end, defeated the Diamondbacks 6-1 for their 80th win of the season. As for the evening’s starting pitchers, they were Jaime Garcia (5-4, 1.79 ERA) and Robbie Ray (3-9, 3.38 ERA).
Matt Carpenter led off the game by being issued a walk from Ray after an eight pitch at-bat. Tommy Pham singled, advancing Carpenter to third. Pham also advanced to second on the throw into the infield. Jason Heyward took advantage by singling home both runners to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. Yadier Molina doubled during the next at-bat to score Heyward.
Later in the inning, Kolten Wong scored Molina on an RBI single to give the Cardinals a 4-0, as the Diamondbacks’ bullpen was already warming up.
In the top of the fourth inning, Carpenter and Pham both reached base just as they did in the first. Soon after, Randall Delgado entered to relieve Ray, who struggled from the beginning of the game. Jhonny Peralta hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Carpenter. Molina was able to do the same thing to score Pham and make it a 6-0 lead for St. Louis.
One underrated element throughout the evening’s game was the performance of Garcia, who had only allowed two hits by the Diamondbacks heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. The sole run he allowed was in the fourth inning when Aaron Hill scored Paul Goldschmidt on a sacrifice fly to make the game (at the time) 6-1.
The Cardinals were able to tack on two more runs in the sixth inning to make it an 8-1 game, the latter of which was scored when Stephen Piscotty singled to score Heyward. In the top of the seventh inning, Peter Bourjos, pinch-hitting for Garcia, who was entering on an 0-20 skid, cranked a home run over the wall to make it 9-1 Cardinals, and end his drought.
Seth Maness pitched in relief of Garcia, who finished the night with the final line of: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks. His ERA dropped to 1.77 with his performance.
In the end, the Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 9-1, to win their 80th game of the season. Garcia improved to 6-4, while Ray lost his 10th game of the year. With Pittsburgh’s loss, the lead in the National League Central rose to four and a half games.
Tomorrow, John Lackey will be the starter for the Cardinals.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)