Backed by blasts, Lackey stifles Marlins, wins 10th
ST. LOUIS -- With the support of two home runs, a standout night from Stephen Piscotty and a rare two-hit effort of his own, John Lackey pitched the Cardinals to a 6-2 victory over the Marlins in front of a sellout Busch Stadium crowd on Saturday. The win improved St. Louis to 5-0 against Miami this season.
Lackey, now a 10-game winner for 12 straight seasons (excluding the year he missed due to injury), became the team's second straight starter to pitch into the ninth inning. Lackey served up a home run to Justin Bour and let home a run with a balk, but still sealed his 12th straight quality start, two off his career high. He left to a standing ovation with one out in the ninth.
"No sense in pushing him past that 114 [pitch] mark at that point," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who pulled Lackey after J.T. Realmuto's one-out single. "[It was a] great outing for him. I would have loved to have seen him finish it out, but there's no shame in walking off after 8 1/3 and giving us a great chance for a win."
Randal Grichuk supported Lackey early when he greeted Marlins starter Brad Hand with a first-inning home run. Hand, making his sixth start of the season, allowed the Cards additional cushion when he later surrendered a three-run homer to Mark Reynolds in the sixth, Hand's final inning of work. The lefty allowed 11 hits, including three to Piscotty.
"It's just frustrating; I battled the whole night," Hand said. "I feel like every inning they had runners on and I pitched out of a few jams. That sixth inning, a 3-0 count. I wasn't trying to lay one in there for him, just to get a strike. I tried to make a quality pitch. It just got a little too much of the plate."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
On the Mark: After opening the series with a two-hit night in which he helped the Cards to two of their three runs, Reynolds capitalized when given another start at first base. He doubled and scored in the second and then blasted a three-run homer in the sixth after the Marlins had pulled within one. The homer was Reynolds' 10th of the season.
"I don't like swinging 3-0 anyways, but I knew that was probably going to be the best pitch I'd get to hit with the pitcher on deck," said Reynolds, who had previously hit only one home run on a 3-0 count in his career.
Ichiro milestone: Ichiro Suzuki's appeal is far reaching. Even the Busch Stadium crowd appreciated the accomplishment the 41-year-old had in the first inning. With his single to right off Lackey, Ichiro collected hit No. 4,192 of his professional career. That is one more than Ty Cobb, who is second on the MLB all-time leaderboard. The bat and baseball were retrieved and authenticated. Ichiro had two singles on the night, giving him 2,915 MLB hits, as he marches toward becoming the 30th player in MLB history to reach 3,000.
How should Ichiro's total number of hits be classified?
"I think that's for people to decide and to talk about and decide for themselves," Ichiro said. "There is really nothing I can do. That's for them to judge." More >
Should he stay or should he go? Before sending Lackey back to the mound in the eighth with a pitch count of 105, Matheny met the right-hander in the dugout to set some terms. Matheny relayed to Lackey that he would likely turn to his fresh bullpen if anyone reached. That was the case after Realmuto's single, and it meant that the Cardinals' rotation is still seeking its first nine-inning complete game from a starter this season.
"Once they got the hit, I wasn't surprised to see him," Lackey said.
But did he nevertheless try to negotiate a long stay?
"You can't do that every time," the veteran said. "It's not as effective."
Bour's big blast: The Marlins closed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth inning on Bour's one-out homer off Lackey that sailed over the wall in center. It was the Miami first baseman's first homer since July 3 at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, a span of 93 at-bats. Statcast™ projected Bour's homer to have landed a projected 411 feet from home plate. The exit velocity was 107 mph with a launch angle of 27 degrees.
"Seeing all these teams for the first time, it's hard to say if I'm picking up on a pattern at all. I'm really just looking at the scouting reports of how they pitch to other guys. I figure they're going to start to try to figure me out and I'll figure them back out." -- Piscotty, who, with two doubles and a single, notched his second three-hit game of the homestand
"Going off his last at-bat, he used the breaking ball in a good situation. He was a double-play candidate. We decided to leave him in. He fell behind in the count, and that's when he got in trouble." -- Miami manager Dan Jennings, on opting to leave Hand in to face Reynolds when he had a right-hander warming up in the sixth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For just the fourth time in franchise history, the Cardinals have won 75 of their first 116 games. The only other St. Louis clubs to get to 75 wins that quickly were the 1944, '68 and 2004 teams. The Cardinals played in the World Series each of those three years.
Twenty-three days after the Cards and Marlins engineered a trade that sent Steve Cishek to St. Louis and Kyle Barraclough to Miami, the pair of pitchers had an opportunity to face their former teammates. Barraclough, who was pitching for the Cardinals' Double-A team when dealt, threw a scoreless seventh in his fourth big league appearance. Cishek came in to record the final two outs in the ninth.
Marlins: In the series finale on Sunday, which starts at 2:15 p.m. ET, David Phelps (4-8. 4.35 ERA) goes for his first win since June 16.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez will start for the Cardinals on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. CT, looking to become the team's second 13-game winner. The Cards, who will be facing the Marlins for the final time this year, are 18-3 in Martinez's starts.
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