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Cards crank 4 HRs in Leake's scoreless start

August 21, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- The homer-happy Cardinals belted four balls out of Citizens Bank Park on Sunday and ended their road trip with an offensive outburst in a 9-0 win over the Phillies.Brandon Moss, Stephen Piscotty, Jedd Gyorko and Jeremy Hazelbaker all went deep for St. Louis, and the team has now

PHILADELPHIA -- The homer-happy Cardinals belted four balls out of Citizens Bank Park on Sunday and ended their road trip with an offensive outburst in a 9-0 win over the Phillies.
Brandon Moss, Stephen Piscotty, Jedd Gyorko and Jeremy Hazelbaker all went deep for St. Louis, and the team has now homered in 11 straight games -- 10 of which have been multi-homer contests. Moss and Piscotty hit leadoff homers in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, while Gyorko and Hazelbaker each hit two-run shots in a four-run eighth. Mike Leake pitched seven shutout innings for the Cardinals in the rubber match of the series.
"It's not the only way we can score runs, but it's our main way," Moss said of his team's homers. "We got a lot of guys in the lineup who can do a lot of damage and put some stress on pitchers."

The Cardinals threatened all afternoon against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. The right-hander allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base, and though the Cardinals only scored one run in the first, they tagged Velasquez for five runs on seven hits. Velasquez made it through six innings but needed 106 pitches to do so.

Leake had to work around seven hits and nine total baserunners, but he got through seven frames unscathed on a rainy afternoon. It was the first time Leake had gone more than six innings since his last start before the All-Star break on July 10.
The biggest threat the Phillies had against the righty came in the sixth inning when Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard both singled to put runners at the corners with no outs. However, Leake ended the threat by retiring the next three hitters.
"The good news is that we had a winning homestand," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We went 5-4 against three real good hitting teams. That's the bright spot."

Leake helps himself: The Cardinals were unable to break things open against Velasquez until Leake roped a two-run, two-out single in the fourth to make it 4-0. The knock doubled Leake's RBI total for the season and came a night after Saturday's starter, Luke Weaver, went 2-for-2. More >

Vince's slide: The past few weeks have not been kind to Velasquez, who has a 10.47 ERA in his last three starts and a 7.29 ERA in his last six. Before his struggles against the Cardinals, he allowed 14 runs in 10 1/3 innings in his previous two starts against the Dodgers. The long ball has really hurt Velasquez in that stretch. After he allowed 11 home runs in his first 103 2/3 innings this season, he allowed eight in his last 15 1/3 innings.

"You've got to stay positive," Velasquez said. "If you let yourself [get] down, you're not going to get anywhere. The way I see it is everyone has a turning point. I'm not figuring it out. I haven't found that turning point yet. I have a couple days off [to] regather, and I'll bounce back against New York. That's the way I see it, just try to be optimistic and keep working." More >
Moss gets revenge: Moss missed a grand slam by a few feet and was robbed of extra bases in the first inning when Phillies center fielder Odúbel Herrera made a leaping catch at the wall. Moss still got an RBI with a sacrifice fly, but in his next at-bat he was able to take a gratifying trot around the bases when he launched a solo homer to left field. It was the team-leading 23rd of the season for Moss, who is seven homers shy of tying his career high.

"When you hit a ball like that in your first at-bat, you feel pretty good about the day," Moss said. "Because you know you're on that pitch and you're going to be able to adjust to other pitches. You don't worry about it, be happy a run scored from it and go up there the next time."

Can't knock 'em in: The Phillies had runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth, but they were unable to score a run. They finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the series.
"We had a couple opportunities early in the game to score some runs, didn't capitalize and after that, it was kind of a moot point," Mackanin said.
"I told him to enjoy learning about climbing the ladder, enjoy the fight, the struggle to get to where you want to be. Because he's going to be real good at one point. He's got to keep battling and working at it." -- Mackanin, on Velasquez's recent struggles
The Phillies' streak of 14 consecutive games with a home run was snapped. It was their longest such streak since May 27 to June 9, 2013 (also 14 games).
Cardinals: The Cardinals are back at home to start a three-game series against the Mets on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. CT. Jaime García (10-8, 4.11 ERA) will be on the mound to face New York's Jonathon Niese (8-7, 5.30 ERA). The Cardinals took two of three from the Mets in July.
Phillies: The Phillies do not play Monday, but they resume action Tuesday night when they open a two-game series against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field at 8:10 p.m. ET. It is the first time the Phillies will play on the South Side of Chicago since 2004. Phillies right-hander Jake Thompson (1-2, 8.79 ERA) faces Sox left-hander Carlos Rodón (3-8, 4.26 ERA) in the series opener.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to based in Philadelphia and covered the Cardinals on Sunday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.