Hit parade: Cards crush Crew in home opener

April 11th, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- A Cardinals offense that broke out for 31 runs during a weekend series sweep returned home on Monday and battered Brewers pitching with a barrage of extra-base hits. There were 10 in total, sending the Cardinals to a 10-1 victory that extended the home opener festivities well beyond the scheduled pregame ceremonies.

"We always talk about how you know what Opening Day is like here, and then you get in the middle of it and just get reminded how special it is," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Then to be able to respond like the guys did, it was a great first day all the way around."

The Cardinals' extra-base tally was up to eight before the Brewers recorded their eighth out of the day. They scored multiple runs in each of the first three innings, chasing Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann along the way. By the end of the third, four of the Cardinals' starting position players -- Matt Carpenter, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Yadier Molina and Aledmys Diaz -- had already secured multi-hit games.

"That's what we can do," said Hazelbaker, who has hit safely in six of the team's seven games. "I feel like we can hit against the best pitchers, and it showed the last few days that we've hit [up and down] the lineup. It's a lot of fun. That's the best way to put it. Just a lot of fun." 

Cards' lineup bursts at seams with extra effort

The Cardinals finished with 19 hits, the most they've had in a home opener. Hazelbaker continued his hot start with a four-hit day. Molina and Diaz also chipped in with three-hit games to provide more than enough support for starter Michael Wacha, who shut out Milwaukee over six innings.

"Just a bad day," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "[Jungmann] was in the middle of the plate, and they took advantage of it."


Hot, hot, hot: Hazelbaker will continue to force his way into the lineup with days like the one he had on Monday. He became the first Cardinal since Daniel Descalso to have four hits in one of his first seven career games, and he leads the club with 10 hits and five extra-base knocks.

"The one thing you know for sure is that he has an opportunity, and he's making the most of it," said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. "You have to admire that." 

Knocked out: With Molina's RBI double in the third inning, Jungmann surrendered more extra-base hits (seven) than he recorded outs (six) in the shortest outing of his budding career. Jungmann was one shy of a dubious franchise record shared by Scott Karl and Bill Pulsipher, each of whom surrendered eight extra-base hits in a Brewers start during the late 1990s.

"They hit fastball, they hit breaking ball. They hit inside fastball, they hit outside fastball. It wasn't any one pitch that they were going after me with," Jungmann said. More >

Back on track:Randal Grichuk continues to show signs that he's moving in the right direction. A day after drawing three walks in a game for the first time in his career, Grichuk took another two in addition to posting two hits. He drove in the Cardinals' second run with an RBI double. Grichuk had been benched over the weekend after starting the season 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts.

"I think I put a little too much pressure on myself the first few games," Grichuk said. "Just maybe tried to do a little too much and wasn't picking up the ball. To be able to work [in the batting cage] and see the ball a little better has helped."

On the board: The Cardinals tallied nine extra-base hits before the Brewers hit their first -- Chris Carter's seventh-inning home run off reliever Matt Bowman. The 390-foot, opposite-field homer was Carter's third this season, tops on the team.


"If you joined us late ... you're kinda lucky." -- Brewers Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Bob Uecker to his audience in the fifth inning, injecting some levity to a long afternoon for the visitors

"Having that kind of run support out there, it's unbelievable as a pitcher. You go out there and you can't be really scared of making mistakes. The main focus was, after putting up the runs that we did, was just going out there and trying to throw up zeros after it." -- Wacha, after picking up his first win of 2016


• The Cardinals have scored 10-plus runs in three straight games for the sixth time in franchise history and first time since 1980. Prior to Monday's 10-run outburst, the Cardinals put up 12 runs in wins against the Braves on Saturday and Sunday. With their early-inning barrage of extra-base hits, the Cardinals were briefly on pace to challenge the Major League record held by the Boston Red Sox, who tallied 17 extra-base hits in a win over the St. Louis Browns on June 8, 1950, at Fenway Park.

• The Cardinals' eight doubles fell one shy of the record for a Brewers opponent. The Pirates smacked nine two-base hits against Jose Cabrera and the Brewers on Aug. 24, 2002.


The most meaningful pitch thrown on Monday came before either club took the field. Hall of Famer Lou Brock, who had to have part of his left leg amputated this winter, highlighted the Cardinals' home-opening festivities with a ceremonial first pitch. Worried he might lose his balance, Brock remained upright and delivered a strike to Ted Simmons. More >


Brewers: Milwaukee will try to regroup behind right-hander Chase Anderson when play resumes at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night at 7:15 CT. Anderson was effective in his regular-season debut (five scoreless innings, four hits, no walks, five strikeouts) but must avoid the long ball. He surrendered five home runs in 14 2/3 innings in Spring Training.

Cardinals:Mike Leake will make his first home start as a Cardinal on Wednesday, following six career appearances at Busch Stadium as a visiting player. Over those six starts, Leake posted a 3.19 ERA. The Cardinals will enter the game riding a four-game winning streak.

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