Cards find spark as Walker extends historic streak

April 12th, 2023

DENVER -- This Cardinal goes to 11.

Rookie right fielder took another step toward writing his way into the record books Tuesday, getting a hit in his 11th consecutive game to start his Major League career. It is also tied the longest active streak in the Majors.

Walker extended his streak to lead off the seventh inning, drilling a liner past the glove of Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and into left field. The hit opened a four-run rally capped by a three-run double off the left-field wall by to tie the game at 6. Walker's hit sparked the offense to seven runs over the final three innings as St. Louis climbed back from down four runs to take the game, 9-6, marking its biggest comeback win of the season.

“He’s been awesome,”  said of Walker. “He's a stud, and he's helping us tremendously, so it's great to have him up here.”

Walker passed Hall of Famer Ted Williams Monday to claim the second longest streak for a player 20 years old or younger with his 10th game with a hit, and with Tuesday’s hit, he moved within one game of Eddie Murphy, who set the record with a 12-game streak to open his career with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1912.

Walker claimed the Cardinals’ rookie record Monday and could tie Murphy as the only NL/AL players under 21 to begin their big league careers with a 12-game hitting streak in Wednesday’s series finale in Colorado.

The Cardinals’ rookie record for a hitting streak at any point in the season is held by current bench coach Joe McEwing, who had a 25-game hitting streak from June 8 to July 4, 1999. The longest hitting streak to open a career by a player of any age is 17 games, accomplished by David Dahl in 2016 and Chuck Aleno in 1941.

“He's unbelievable, he really is,” Arenado said. “For being 20 years old -- when I was 20, I was in High-A, battling and getting in trouble, and this guy is just so mature for his age. His approach -- he’s just gonna be so good. He’s still got a lot of room to get better. But I mean, his at-bats and the way he goes about his business -- he's probably the most impressive young player I've seen since [former Colorado teammate] Trevor Story.”

The seventh-inning rally answered a five-run fifth frame from the Rockies, but best of all for Walker was the fact that he got to celebrate with his teammates after earning a win for the second time in the Cardinals’ last eight games.

“Whether it's a hit or not, he just continues to take good at-bats,” manager Oliver Marmol said. “We like what we're seeing from him. So another positive day for sure.”

Following Walker’s seventh-inning leadoff single, Rockies reliever Jake Bird retired the next two hitters before walking . came to the plate a triple shy of a cycle and reached on a fielding error by second baseman Ryan McMahon to load the bases.  walked to plate a run and keep the bases full for Arenado, who quickly cleared them with his hard double to left. 

“We needed that big hit,” Marmol said. “When you look at how things have been going, to get punched in the mouth that way with the crooked number there for them.”

In a game with no shortage of key moments, Goldschmidt’s walk was a game-changer. As Marmol noted, Goldschmidt chased one bad pitch on a 2-0 count but regrouped and delivered.

“Watching Goldy have that great at-bat right before me, I just wanted to keep it going,” Arenado said. “He got me fired up with his at-bat, and I was just trying to follow his lead.”

The Cards’ defense stymied the Rockies in the eighth, as Donovan made a leaping, somersaulting catch at the wall to rob Yonathan Daza of extra bases and preserve a scoreless four innings from the bullpen after  gave up six runs on 10 hits through five.

“It's frustrating, but it's better than any other start I've had here,” Mikolas said. “And we won, so in some odd parallel universe, I'm not super upset with today.”