Corner crushers: Goldy, Nolan power Cards to victory

Cards improve to 5-0 since 2021 when superstar duo homers in same game

June 23rd, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- Adversaries all the way back to rookie ball and during their six years while starring in the NL West, Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt often find themselves reliving stories from when they played for the Rockies and D-backs respectively.

Cornerstones and corner infielders for the Cardinals for the past season-and-a-half, Arenado and Goldschmidt now have a talking point of a vastly different kind: how they so rarely have it going at the plate at the same time. As evidence of that, Arenado won the NL Player of the Month in April of this season before struggling in May (.196 avg, .642 OPS), while Goldschmidt rebounded from a modest start (one HR in April) to win the NL award in May.

When they do hit -- like they did on Wednesday night in Milwaukee – they give the baseball world a peak at how potent the Cardinals' lineup can be. Goldschmidt hit a first-inning, two-run home run on Wednesday, and Arenado crushed a go-ahead two run homer in the sixth as the Cardinals rallied for a 5-4 defeat of the Brewers at American Family Field.

Oddly, it’s just the fifth time that Goldschmidt and Arenado have homered in the same game with the Cardinals -- a shockingly small number when compared to the 17 instances that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have gone deep in the same game for the Yankees, the most for teammates since the start of the 2021 season. But here’s the number that matters most to St. Louis: The Cardinals are 5-0 when their two superstars homer in the same game.

“We need to do it more with that record,” said Arenado. “[Goldschmidt] had great at-bats tonight and I was just trying to follow his lead. It was pretty cool that we finally hit homers in the same game because it always feels like it never happens.”

Arenado’s home run came after the Cardinals had squandered a 3-1 lead and fell behind 4-3 on run-scoring doubles by Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen. Arenado admitted to feeling a bit of pressure to make something happen in the sixth inning with the heart of the order up and the Brewers' elite bullpen of Josh Hader, Devin Williams and Brad Boxburger looming. As it turned out, Arenado hit the 113th go-ahead home run of his career -- 9th-most among active MLB players.

“We’ve got to score runs against [the Brewers] because they’re really tough and one of the best pitching teams in the league for a reason,” said Arenado, whose dinger left the bat at 104.3 mph and traveled 406 feet. “If you can get out to a good lead, you usually don’t have to face the back-end of their bullpen. They have one of the best back-ends of the bullpen in the league, and it’s a battle against these guys every time.”

On a night when the Cardinals (40-31) overtook the Brewers (39-32) for the NL Central lead, it was only fitting that Goldschmidt and Arenado homered on the same night. In the history of Miller Park/American Family Field, Arenado (1.165), Goldschmidt (1.046) and teammate Albert Pujols (1.046) have the three-highest OPS numbers. Pujols, who set the franchise record for games played at first base, had a sacrifice fly for an RBI early in the game.

“I don’t know if we’ve had too many games where we’ve had good games on the same night -- which I guess is good and bad,” said Goldschmidt, who hit the first pitch he saw for his 17th home run of the season. “Hopefully, one of us can play well every night hitting in the middle of the lineup. We needed it tonight. [Arenado] did a great job tonight with that [fourth-inning] double and the home run. So, it was nice for us.”

Told after the game that the Cardinals are 5-0 over the last two seasons when Goldschmidt and Arenado homer, manager Oliver Marmol said: “It’s cool when they do. More of that would be awesome.”

Arenado said one of his favorite parts of being a Cardinal is getting to share the diamond and clubhouse with Goldschmidt, a four-time Gold Glover and a six-time All-Star. Regularly, they find themselves talking about their pasts when they squared off as divisional foes. Arenado said he is happy that he is on the same side now with Goldschmidt, a player he holds in tremendously high regard.

“Well, I don’t have to see his homers going over my head anymore,” Arenado said. “I played against him in rookie ball, and I even had so much respect for him then because he hit the ball so much harder than everyone else. Seeing him firsthand, it’s probably better than I expected. He’s probably the best player I’ve ever played with, so that makes it even better.”