Go-ahead Gorman strikes again to help Cards to delayed win

May 22nd, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- A better hitter versus left-handed pitching than against righties in 2023, Cardinals lefty slugger Nolan Gorman has seen those numbers take a considerable dip in 2024.

However, when he’s connected against left-handed pitching, he’s launched some very important home runs for the Cardinals.

Gorman, who drove in a run with an RBI double and made a fielding error that led to a tying run before heavy rains hit on Tuesday night to force a suspension of the game, drilled a two-run home run in the restart on Wednesday to help the Cardinals beat the Orioles 3-1 at Busch Stadium.

Gorman, who came into his Wednesday at-bat hitting just .156 against left-handed pitching, made the Orioles pay for bringing in lefty Keegan Akin. Gorman hit a 1-2 fastball a Statcast-projected 407 feet for his eighth home run of the season. He has two homers against left-handed pitching this season -- both game-winners in tied games.

“Big left-on-lefty homer, and he took a really nice swing to get us set up there,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said prior to his club starting Wednesday’s regularly scheduled game. “Then, our ‘pen did a phenomenal job of finishing that game. JoJo [Romero] does his job, and [Andrew Kittredge] and [Ryan] Helsley closed the door there.”

Gorman’s long ball allowed the Cardinals to extend their home run streak to a ninth straight game. It’s their longest streak since Aug. 23-Sept. 4, 2022, when they homered in 12 straight games.

Also, the win allowed the Cards to capture the series -- their third straight series win after rebounding from a seven-game losing streak. They are 0-6 this season in series finales after going up 2-0, and they will be attempting to stop the Orioles’ streak of consecutive regular-season series of two-plus games without a sweep at 106, dating to 2022. The 1942-44 Cardinals hold the MLB record of 124 consecutive regular-season series of two-plus decisions without a sweep.

Gorman’s homer made a winner out of Lance Lynn, who came into Tuesday’s start 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three May starts. The 37-year-old Lynn held the Orioles to two hits and a run -- which was unearned -- over six solid innings. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

Lynn became the first Cardinal to record a win after not pitching on the day of the game’s conclusion since Carlos Martinez on June 13, 2019 -- also in a suspended game.

“That’s a first, but I guess if you play long enough, you might get one of those,” Lynn joked. “It’s different. Last night, I threw the ball well and I was in a good spot to keep going, but the rain said otherwise. But it was great to come back today, getting that home run from [Gorman]. He’s been working his butt off to get out of that little rut that he was in earlier this year.

“So, it was an awesome team win. We turned it over to the bullpen, and the back end [of the bullpen] did their job. It’s an awesome series win for us.”

Kittredge (14 holds) and Romero (17 holds) followed Lynn and shut down the Orioles powerful offense over the seventh and eighth innings on Wednesday. Closer Ryan Helsley finished out the game for his 15th save in 16 tries.

The Cardinals staked Lynn to a 1-0 lead in Tuesday’s second inning when Gorman drove a ball to the warning track and Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins seemed poised to catch it before slamming into the wall and the ball shaking free. Alec Burleson, who had singled earlier, scored.

With two outs in the top of the fifth and threatening skies in the area, Gorman made a fielding error at second base to extend the inning. No. 9 hitter Jorge Mateo then doubled into left field to score Kyle Stowers and knot the game at 1.

Lynn held the Orioles at bay and set the club up for the victory.

“I felt a lot better last night,” admitted Lynn, who watched the conclusion of the game from the clubhouse on Wednesday as he would normally do after a start. “Throughout the year, you’re going to go through ups and downs or you are fighting certain things. Last night, I was in a good spot and I was able to move the ball around the way that I needed to.”