CINCINNATI -- Adam Wainwright had one request when he walked off the mound after giving up seven runs in the fourth inning Friday night.
“Pick me up,” he told his teammates in the dugout. “Let’s win this thing.”
Two innings later, the Cardinals had erased a seven-run deficit, scoring 10 runs on their way to a 12-11 win over the Reds on a night where the baseball was flying at Great American Ball Park.
Thirteen Cardinals batted in the top of the sixth inning, beginning with a single from Harrison Bader, who was double switched into the game in the fourth in order to get 1 2/3 relief innings out of Michael Wacha. The frame was punctuated with Jose Martinez’s three-run, 414-foot blast to center field to take the lead.
When Martinez launched that home run, Wainwright ran to the dugout from the training room in shorts and a T-shirt to high-five every person in the dugout.
“As soon as we got a little momentum, it was like you could feel it,” Wainwright said. “I was in the training room and I could feel it. I was like, ‘Something’s fixin’ to happen here.’”
“Championship mentality, championship determination,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “That’s the quintessential definition of competition. You’re down 7-0, you fight like heck and there wasn’t a guy in that dugout who didn’t believe we could do it.”
The last time that the Cardinals won a game after trailing by seven-plus runs was also at Great American Ball Park and also involved 10 runs: May 12, 2002, when the Cardinals won, 10-8.
The 10 runs were the most runs in a single inning for St. Louis since July 21, 2012, against the Cubs at Busch Stadium. The last time the Cardinals scored 10 runs in an inning on the road was July 16, 2007, in Oakland.
Paul DeJong extended the lead with his second home run in as many days with a two-run shot in the seventh. He has now hit 12 home runs against the Reds since his Major League debut on May 28, 2017, which is tied for most in the Major Leagues since that date with Kyle Schwarber and Christian Yelich.
“Once things started happening, it was almost contagious,” DeJong said. “You could see it on their face, how they were on their heels. First-pitch ball, second-pitch ball, just getting us in a better situation. Really just a snowball tonight.”
But don’t be fooled: The Cardinals were kept on their heels, too.
The Reds scored two in the eighth thanks to Ryan Lavarnway’s second home run of the night, before Andrew Miller struck out Yasiel Puig. Closer Carlos Martinez allowed two runs in the ninth inning, and the Reds had the winning run on third before Joey Votto grounded out to end the game.
“That’s how this team’s built,” Shildt said. “We’re capable of winning a lot of different ways every night.”
Miller got Puig to swing on a fastball up in the zone. The left-hander pumped his fist into his glove as he walked off the mound.
“It felt big to me,” Miller said. “Three days [pitching] in a row, I felt like I was running on fumes and giving it everything I had. You don’t want to mess up what those guys did to get us back in the game, and I needed to stop the momentum.”
Momentum was the word of Friday night’s game, whether it was building off of it or shutting it down. But it can also be the word of the Cardinals’ start to the second half of the season. St. Louis (50-46) has won six of eight since the All-Star break and is in second place in the National League Central, 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs.
Hitting was contagious Friday night. Winning has been contagious lately in the Cardinals’ clubhouse.
“We’ve been having productive group discussions about how we’re winning, how we’re approaching each game,” DeJong said. “It’s been good vibes here lately.”