Entering Monday, the Cardinals were a combined 2-7 against the Cubs, Pirates, and Nationals, three potential playoff teams come this October. Something had to change, and soon.
Matt Adams and Randal Grichuk helped bring about that change… at least for one night.
“I was trying to battle and get a pitch in the zone and put good wood on it and get on,” Grichuk said. “Luckily, I was able to get a homer.”
A two-run, pinch-hit home run by Adams tied it in the seventh inning, and in the bottom of the ninth, Grichuk launched a solo shot that gave the Cardinals the 4-3 victory against the rival Chicago Cubs. It put them back at the .500 mark for the season at home (13-13).
Through 42 games this season, the 24-year-old Grichuk has had an up-and-down year, as he is batting .228 with six home runs and 21 RBIs. So far in his career (this is his third Major League season), he has a .257 average with a total of 26 home runs and 76 RBIs.
For Adams, it was his sixth career pinch-hit home run, second place in Cardinals franchise history.
“It’s no secret,” Adams said. “I just make sure I’m ready to go when my name’s called.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was confident after the game about how the Cardinals’ offense can perform.
“This is a team that can do damage in a hurry,” Matheny said. “That’s something we haven’t had in the past as much, the ability for quite a few guys in that lineup that feel good about getting the ball over the fence and create instant offense.”
The starting pitchers for the game were Adam Wainwright and former Cardinal John Lackey. Lackey saw his 17-inning shutout streak ended on Monday night, while Wainwright continued to bounce back from a rough start to the season.
“I had great stuff tonight,” Wainwright said. “I loved my stuff. I just have to attack a little better than I did in a couple of those innings. But that stuff translates. That’s going to play well the rest of the season.”
Rookie Aledmys Diaz put St. Louis on the board first in the bottom of the third inning with a sacrifice fly.
Overall, however, it was a fairly good start for the veteran Lackey, as he gave up three runs in seven innings, striking out nine while throwing just 87 pitches. As for Wainwright, he went six innings, allowed seven hits and stranding eight runners, and throwing 108 pitches (68 for strikes).
“Sometimes in my position when they’ve pushed couple across, they get ducks on the pond, you have to limit those innings and keep your team in the game and we kept it close enough so (Adams) could make a big swing and (Grichuk) could make a big swing,” Wainwright said.
Miguel Montero tied the game at 1-1 with a single, and later, with Javier Baez on base as well, Addison Russell hit into a fielder’s choice, which gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. In the fifth inning, Anthony Rizzo drove in his 35th run to make it 3-1.
But that was all the Cubs would be able to muster up, as the Cardinals would mount a comeback in front of over 40,000 fans at Busch Stadium.
On Tuesday night, Michael Wacha (2-4, 4.03 ERA) will go up against Jason Hammel (5-1, 2.31 ERA).