Cardinals quench deep thirst for runs in Philly
After scoring four or fewer over the last 12 games, club erupts for season highs
PHILADELPHIA -- Over their last five games, the Cardinals scored 11 runs.
In a little over two hours Friday, they scored 11 runs in five innings.
St. Louis set season-high marks for both runs and hits in its 12-4 win over the Phillies, ending a 12-game drought over which they scored four or fewer runs in every game. Though the Cardinals did have a 7-5 record over that stretch, manager Mike Matheny said that it was refreshing for his offense to break out of the slump in such an emphatic way.
"We catch some heat sometimes when we can't put up the big offensive numbers," Matheny said. "But you know with a lineup like this it's going to happen. Are you going to be able to throw up 12 every night? No. But it's in there."
One of the main reasons the Cardinals were able to put up as many runs as they did was their rediscovery of their power stroke. Over that 12-game stretch, the Cardinals hit 10 home runs. Friday they hit three, two of which came in the second inning alone from Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong.
When Randal Grichuk went deep in the sixth, the Cardinals had their first three-homer game since May 16.
But as much of a boost as the home runs provided, the Cardinals' biggest inning was ignited by a string of singles. Following a two-run double from Jhonny Peralta in the fourth, the first four batters to come up to the plate in a five-run fifth all singled, with no batter advancing more than one base at a time.
After Wong's strikeout interrupted the barrage of one-baggers, Matt Carpenter pushed a ball into right field to plate a second runner. After Peralta's sacrifice fly and a Mark Reynolds double in the next two at-bats, the Cardinals had scored enough runs in the fifth inning alone to have won the game.
For Carpenter, that at-bat was an example of his patience paying off, as his plate appearances in the first, second and fourth innings all resulted in bases on balls. Matheny praised the patience of Carpenter and his whole team on a night they were able to draw 10 walks -- seven from Phillies starter Phillippe Aumont over four innings.
"I think we're the kind of team that's going to make you work to get on the plate, take the walks," Matheny said. "Carpenter's first three at-bats were pretty indicative at-bats."
On a night when everything seemed to go right, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Cardinals received as much production from the ninth slot in the lineup as anywhere else, as pitcher Tyler Lyons and pinch-hitter Greg Garcia combined to go 4-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and three runs scored.
To Matheny, the sheer fact that the nine hole batted five times was an indicator of success. Garcia -- called up earlier in the day and ranked by MLB.com as the Cards' No. 20 prospect -- marveled at what the other eight players in the lineup were able to do.
"You can't hold these guys down for too long," he said. "There's too many good hitters and good players in this locker room. It's a fun team to watch."