Carpenter joins the fun as Cards sweep Rox

Third baseman finds his swing, collects three hits in series finale

August 26th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- As has searched for his swing, one of the things he has focused on is hitting the opposite way to beat the shift that appears every time the lefty takes an at-bat.

His performance in the Cardinals’ 11-4 victory Sunday afternoon and four-game sweep of the Rockies at Busch Stadium was evidence that the effort he has put in is working.

His 3-for-4 day included a walk and a solo home run. Carpenter’s first RBI single in the second inning was a ground ball to left field -- escaping the shift that the Rockies infield had implemented.

It was a sign that Carpenter, who entered Sunday hitting .191 (9-for-47) in 18 games after coming off the injured list Aug. 3, is finding his swing and feeling good about it, too.

“It feels good being able to use both sides of the plate, hit a ball away, hit a ball in,” Carpenter said. “Just having good at-bats. It feels good in the box. It feels good to feel good in the box.

“It feels good to help us win a ballgame.”

With their first four-game sweep of Colorado since 2010, St. Louis has won an MLB-best 13 of their last 16 and sits on top of the National League Central, 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Cubs. Carpenter joined in on the offensive power that the Cardinals showed all series. They scored 31 runs over four games, and Carpenter had his first multi-RBI game since June 25 at Oakland.

Carpenter’s struggles this season have led to a split of playing time between him and , who was 3-for-4 Sunday and 7-for-16 over the series. But Sunday was an opportunity to break out of the slump, and Carpenter took advantage of it. He took what he has been working on -- adjusting to pitchers, swinging at the right pitches and driving the ball -- and applied it to each of his at-bats.

“Just a good day,” Carpenter said. “Trying to take advantage of getting an opportunity to get out there and have good at-bats. Glad I can contribute to what was a big team win for us. … I’m happy to get a chance to play and help us win. I’m ready to play when I get a chance, and today was a good day for our club, a good day for me, and it was fun to contribute.”

Carpenter was dialed in from the beginning of the game, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. It was his first start of the series, and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste.

“Those are the Matt Carpenter at-bats that we’ve grown accustomed to and he expects,” Shildt said. “Every at-bat, his timing was right on it, and he was on time with his eyes and body. Those are big league, elite at-bats.”

Carpenter’s RBI single in the second inning was part of a six-run inning that the Cardinals put together. -- who finished the series 6-for-13 with two home runs -- led off with a triple to get things started. had a two-run single in the inning and finished the series 7-for-16 with a home run.

The Cardinals’ offense is coming together at the right time. It’s led by Goldschmidt and Ozuna, who are slugging .459 and .556 in August, respectively, and are the cornerstones of the offense.

But the offensive production isn’t just because of the two sluggers in the middle of the lineup. All of the Cardinals’ hitters are in a good spot right now.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Shildt said. “Those two guys going, Carp going, Tommy Edman big day today. Everyone through the lineup having good at-bats. Getting Carp in that mix, doing damage, taking the walks, doing what he’s capable of doing with Goldy and Ozuna and the rest of the crew -- it’s a lethal lineup.”