Gorman, Goldschmidt star in Cards' walk-off win

April 23rd, 2024

ST. LOUIS -- Sure, came into Monday not only mired in a 0-for-18 skid, but one that also included a humbling 10 strikeouts in that stretch. Still, that unsightly slump did little to rattle the 23-year-old slugger's belief in his abilities to lift the Cardinals out of their worst offensive drought of the season.

"I thought I was going to go up there and do damage," Gorman said when asked about where his confidence level was before hitting the first walk-off home run of his MLB career in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Cards' 5-3 defeat of the D-backs at Busch Stadium. "I was going to go up there and look for a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it and let my ability take over."

Gorman, who hit a team-best 27 home runs in an injury-shortened 2023 season, did just that by hitting the first pitch he saw from D-backs reliever Kyle Nelson some 425 feet for his fourth home run of the season. Having not gotten a hit since his third at-bat against the D-backs in Arizona on April 13, Gorman wasn't in the starting lineup on Monday as he worked to relocate the swing that had previously made him one of the most feared hitters in the middle of the Cardinals lineup. He entered the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning.

Gorman's smash drove home , who had reached on a single. The usually reserved slugger raised both hands over his head not long after Gorman's smash had sailed over his head and into the seats at Busch Stadium.

It was somewhat symbolic that Monday's victory -- one that snapped a four-game losing streak for the Cardinals -- had the fingerprints of Gorman and Goldschmidt all over it. Goldschmidt came into the day hitting .179, and in a career-worst 20-game drought without an extra-base hit. Meanwhile, Gorman's average had plummeted to .169 following his most recent strikeout skid.

On Monday, the Cardinals clawed back from an early 3-0 deficit, got a tying solo home run from Goldschmidt in the seventh inning and the walk-off winner from Gorman in the bottom of the ninth.

"Those are the two guys we've been talking about and those are two guys who have been working hard and not seeing some of the rewards of that," Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. "Goldy goes backside [with his home run], and when he's going the way we want him to go, he's driving the ball through the middle of the field toward right-center and that's a big homer there. Then, with Gorman, left-on-left … he drove the baseball and that was a really good sign for us."

Mired in one of the worst power outages in his career, Goldschmidt chuckled at how Monday's game seemed to find him and Gorman at the biggest moments. Goldschmidt went hitless in his first two at-bats on Monday, including a strikeout on an awkward check swing in the fifth inning.

However, there was nothing awkward about the swing he put on Scott McGough's 1-0 pitch in the seventh, hitting it 432 feet. For Goldschmidt, it was his first home run since he took Dodgers' ace Tyler Glasnow deep in his second at-bat of the season back on March 28. The home run also ended an eight-game homerless drought for the Cardinals, who came into Monday with the second-fewest homers in MLB with 13.

"You've got to keep your confidence, want the ball hit to you on defense and want to face the pitcher in those big situations," said Goldschmidt, whose homer left the bat at 110 mph for his hardest-hit ball of the season. "I guarantee when [the media] asked [Gorman] what he was thinking, I'm sure it wasn't, 'Let me hit a walk-off homer here;' he was probably just thinking, 'Let me get on base.' But he's a guy when he gets hot, he hits homers and not just singles. He can really have a big impact on a game."

Gorman certainly had a big impact with a smash that was never in doubt once it left his bat. Gorman stressed that even though he had been struggling -- he had been dropped in the lineup to the No. 8 hole and twice in recent days was left out of the starting lineup -- he had been putting in extra work in the batting cage to try and shake himself out of a slump.

"I've been scuffling, but at the same time, I'm not the type to just throw my stuff and quit," Gorman said. "I've been putting in good work in the cage and it just hadn't translated yet. Tonight, I was able to get a good pitch down the middle and I was able to put a good swing on it."