Eight-run burst sparks Cards' 'big inning' victory

St. Louis stakes consecutive comeback wins of 3+ runs for 1st time since 2019

May 14th, 2024

ANAHEIM -- It’s been a tough early season for the Cardinals, but for the last two days, they’ve taken on the persona of the comeback kids.

For the second straight game, the Cardinals erased a deficit of three runs or more. After coming back from a three-run deficit to beat their division-rival Brewers on Sunday, the Cardinals had an even more dramatic comeback in their first game of the series against the Angels on Monday.

Using an eight-run seventh inning, St. Louis quickly erased a four-run deficit and scored a season-high 10 runs on its way to a 10-5 win. It was the first time the Cardinals have had back-to-back comeback wins of three runs or greater since July 18-19, 2019, in Cincinnati.

With the Cardinals trailing 4-0 entering the top of the seventh inning, started the rally with a solo home run, his third of the season and the first of his career at Angel Stadium. St. Louis followed with four straight singles, adding another run on the board. Following an Alec Burleson popup, Matt Carpenter delivered a game-tying two-run single. Two batters later, Paul Goldschmidt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, giving the Cardinals a lead that they’d hold onto for good.

Three more runs would score in what was the biggest inning the Cardinals had in nearly a year (364 days to be exact, following a 10-run outburst on May 15, 2023, vs. Milwaukee).

“It was exciting. We had a lot of good at-bats and took advantage of opportunities when we got them,” Carpenter said about the Cardinals' big inning. “It was just good to see us keep the line moving. It’s something that’s been missing as an offense, and it was great to see.”

For so much of this game, it certainly looked like plenty of other Cardinals games this year. Cardinals starter Matthew Liberatore -- slotted into the rotation for the injured Steven Matz -- labored through 3 1/3 innings and allowed five hits and four earned runs while striking out just one of the 15 hitters he faced.

On the flipside, the Angels’ José Soriano mowed the Cardinals down for the better part of his outing, striking out six and allowing just two runners to reach through five innings. Soriano lost his command in the sixth inning, allowing a single and a pair of walks to load the bases with one out, prompting Angels manager Ron Washington to go to the bullpen.

After Goldschmidt hit into an inning-ending double play, it looked like St. Louis might just go quietly into the night. Instead, Arenado’s home run kickstarted a come-from-behind in -- and, possibly, the Cardinals' season.

A day after Goldschmidt broke out of one of the worst slumps of his career with two hits and a home run in Sunday’s win in Milwaukee, the Cardinals' other veteran star showed signs of life on Monday. Perhaps a little home cooking was needed for Arenado, who was born in nearby Newport Beach and went to El Toro High School some 15 miles away from Angel Stadium.

“It was great to see us rally and come back and have a big inning. It seems like that’s the way we’re scoring runs [with big innings],” Arenado said. “It couldn’t have come at a better time. We didn’t give in as the game went on, so that was really good.”

Arenado still has a long way to go to get back to his dominant 2022 season that resulted in a third-place MVP finish behind Goldschmidt, who took home the award. It’s possible -- or even likely -- that neither player returns to that level, and that might be OK, as long as the two veterans can find some semblance of their former selves.

Monday’s comeback victory also secured the first Major League win for , who replaced Liberatore and was spectacular in 2 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old didn’t allow a baserunner, striking out three.

“I didn’t even really realize it until I was standing next to Pedro [Pagés] on the bench and he said I was in line for the win,” Leahy said.

The biggest takeaway for Leahy from his outing was being around those that have been with him on this journey.

“Just having all the guys rooting for me afterward -- I had a lot of close friends I came up with in the Minor Leagues on this team,” Leahy said.