ST. LOUIS -- The last thing the Cardinals needed was rain. Conditions like the ones that delayed the start then persisted for much of St. Louis' 12-4 win over the Phillies on Friday tend to complicate things. A soft spot of dirt here, the threat of a twisted ankle there. Finding each grip becomes an adventure. Few teams can afford such risk less than the Cardinals, who could field a full lineup from their crop of injured players.
Yet not only did its roster emerge from Friday's game unscathed, St. Louis' offense also seemed to find its footing amid the soggy conditions. Mere hours after losing Paul DeJong -- its shortstop and most recent No.3 hitter -- to the disabled list, St. Louis touched up Jacob Arrieta and three relievers for a season-high 15 hits. A defense devoid of half of its up-the-middle core weathered the elements enough to help Michael Wacha steer through six strong innings, and the Cardinals knotted this series on a sloppy, oft-interrupted night at Busch Stadium.
"Days like this give us a lot of confidence. It makes you think everything is going to be OK," first baseman Jose Martinez said. "Almost everyone is on the DL, and we need them. But with the team we have right now, we have to step up and win some games."
By the end of Friday's 3-hour, 26-minute contest, four Cardinals tallied multi-hit games and three went deep. Tommy Pham reached based five times and scored three times. Martinez was in the middle of four separate rallies, his two-run homer in the sixth capping a 4-for-5 night during which he drove in five runs. Francisco Pena belted a solo shot as part of his second consecutive three-hit game. In all, an offensive unit that's so often failed to rev spent an evening hammering mistakes and capitalizing on Philadelphia miscues.
"When you put the ball in play that good stuff is going to happen," Martinez said. "Especially today with the tough weather and tough field."
The teams were forced to fight the same conditions, but the Phillies earned a near monopoly on weather-driven mistakes. Showers delayed the start by 1 hour, 35 minutes (the start of the eighth was delayed also after home-plate umpire Dave Rackley left for an undisclosed reason), then a steady stream continued throughout the contest. That contributed to Philadelphia's three errors, three of the game's four wild pitches and a passed ball -- several miscues which led to Cardinals runs. Pedro Florimon, an infielder, was summoned to pitch in a nine-run game in the eighth. He was the only Phillies pitcher not to allow at least three runs, then cranked a solo homer of his own in the ninth.
"It was raining the entire game, which can make it a little tough," said Wacha, who improved to 5-1. "I tried to continue to make my pitches and not worry about the slick mound."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pena breaks out: A backup catcher for the majority of his 11 professional seasons -- the bulk of which he's spent in the Minors -- Pena is getting his first extended look at the big league level in place of the injured Carson Kelly. And he's producing. Pena singled in the third, doubled in the fourth and clocked a titantic solo homer in the fifth, scoring three runs in the process. Known as a glove-first catcher, Pena is 6-for-8 over the past two games.
"What a big day for Pena, initiating a lot of the offense there," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You never know who is going to be that guy who sparks you. You wouldn't think he'd be having this opportunity right now and he's making the most of it."
O'Neill's first MLB hit: The game also included a milestone for rookie Tyler O'Neill, who collected his first MLB hit with a single in the seventh. Promoted on Friday in response to DeJong's injury, O'Neill is the organization's third-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline and has spent the year so far as one of the top sluggers in the Pacific Coast League.
"It's a big monkey off my back," O'Neill said. "I'm going to give [the ball] to my mom. She'll have a good spot to put it."
Pena's first home run with the Cardinals came 29 years after his father, Tony Pena, hit his last of 19 over three seasons in St. Louis. The Penas are became the second father-son duo in Cardinals history to hit a home run with the club, joining Ed and Scott Spiezio.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Back when it was a 4-0 game in the fourth, William Fowler turned in a defensive highlight when he robbed Carlos Santana of a potential home run at the right-field wall. Fowler had to battle steady rain to track the ball, then time his jump before reaching to the top of the fence.
"Huge play," Wacha said. "I missed my spot with the pitch and off the crack of the bat I thought it was gone. Dexter made a heck of a play to bring it back."
HE SAID IT
"Sometimes it clicks, and hopefully that's a sign of things to come. We have quite a few guys in real nice spots, and got big hits from some guys you might've not expected." -- Matheny
The Cardinals originally hoped Carlos Martinez's strained lat would heal in time for him to return to the mound for Saturday's matinee, set for 1:15 p.m. CT. But with Martinez still on the mend, John Gant (1-1, 4.15) will start in the ace's place. Right-hander Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.71) counters for Philadelphia.