Cards win 12th straight, Goldy gets ‘smooch’

Waino on slugger's heroics: 'I gave Goldschmidt a big ol' smooch on the top of his head'

September 24th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- The crack of the ball hitting ’s bat in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon was so loud that even if you weren’t watching the game, you didn’t need to look up to know where the ball was headed.

Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich got up from a crouch, turned to his left and watched a 108 mph rocket fly through the air and land in the porch above Milwaukee’s bullpen. Two innings earlier, Goldschmidt hit a game-tying two-run homer to the same area of the ballpark, but at that point, he didn’t feel like it was a time to celebrate.

“It was only tied,” he said. “It's not like that game was over at all.”

By the time his ninth-inning blast came around, though, the Cardinals had scored eight unanswered runs and were on their way to an 8-5 win over the Brewers at American Family Field. So, after Goldschmidt’s third home run in the last two days, it was time for a little celebration with St. Louis’ starting pitcher.

“I gave Goldschmidt a big ol' smooch on the top of his head and don't care who knows it,” Adam Wainwright said.

The win extended the Redbirds’ winning streak to 12 games, which is the club’s longest since April 12-24, 1982. It also finished off a four-game sweep over Milwaukee, the first sweep of a four-game series against the Crew for St. Louis since May 2-5, 2013, in Milwaukee.

The Cardinals ended their day with a five-game lead for the second National League Wild Card spot, a lead that will be no less than 4 1/2 heading into the series opener at Wrigley Field on Friday, pending the results of the Reds and the Phillies’ games on Thursday.

“It's not something you can [just] do. You can’t just show up and say, ‘Hey, let’s go win a bunch of games,’” Goldschmidt said. “It just kind of happens, and all of a sudden you look back, like, ‘Man, we played good.’”

For so long on Thursday afternoon, it felt like the Cardinals’ longest winning streak in 20 years was coming to an end.

Wainwright got his 2,000th career strikeout, but was roughed up for five runs in four innings. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ bats were quieted by Brewers starter Adrian Houser, as they had just a single base hit in the first four frames and blew a bases-loaded opportunity in the fifth.

But as St. Louis has shown numerous times over the past 12 games, it isn’t wise to count the Redbirds out of a game in September.

The Cardinals got one back in the fifth, then broke out for four runs in the seventh to tie the game. And in that seventh inning, St. Louis displayed just about everything that they’ve done at a high level during the streak.

Edmundo Sosa knocked a first-pitch single into left with one out, and then Harrison Bader and Lars Nootbaar both drew five-pitch walks to load the bases. The inning nearly ended without a run scoring, as Tommy Edman grounded into what was almost a double play, but he hustled down the line to beat the throw back to first.

“We don't want to give anything away in competition,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We're gonna give the effort, we're gonna do the little things right, we're gonna play our defense, we're gonna run the bases, we're gonna take tough at-bats and put it together.”

And after Bader scored and Edman moved to second on an errant pickoff attempt, the stage was set for Goldschmidt’s game-tying shot.

“Earlier in the year, when we got down one or two runs, you could feel the air leave out of the building, and everybody was like, ‘Oh man, this is gonna be really tough,’” Wainwright said. “But now, if we get down, our guys are seemingly just real comfortable out there. … It was kind of like, ‘We’re about to tie this game right here. This game is not over.’”

Goldschmidt already went into the day with the fifth-best lifetime OPS against the Brewers among active players with at least 150 plate appearances (1.001), and during the first 11 games of the winning streak, he was slugging .725.

It hardly came as a surprise, then, that Goldschmidt tied the game up with his two-run shot deep to left-center and launched another long solo shot in the ninth to help keep St. Louis’ hot stretch intact.