Grichuk propels Cardinals with two home runs
PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals and Phillies have held true to form in the first two games of their three-game series this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
The Cardinals, who have the best record in baseball, beat the Phillies on Saturday night, 10-1, to take the first two games of the series. Randal Grichuk led the offense with two home runs, including a three-run, tie-breaking shot in the sixth and a solo homer in the ninth.
"I'm seeing good at-bats," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "That's characteristic of our club of the past, just grinding when we need at-bats and not giving anything away. That's something that we take a lot of pride in and the competition of each and every pitch."
John Lackey made easy work of a Phillies offense that is last in Major League Baseball in scoring.
The Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball, managed their only run in the second inning when Cody Asche homered. They have lost 11 of their last 12 games and 23 of their last 28.
"We've got to do what we can do and not worry about what's going on around us," said Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang, asked if the frequent losing could result in changes. "We've just got to stick together. We don't want to start pointing fingers because then you get a clubhouse that just separates and you don't want that. Because that's when it gets really bad."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Going, going, Grichuk: With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning with runners on first and second and no outs, Grichuk walked up to the plate for the Cardinals. Just one day removed from a three-hit game, Grichuk kept his success from Friday moving with a three-run home run he launched into the lower bullpen in right-center field. Statcast™ projected the ball would have traveled 438 feet and left the bat at 109 mph. For insurance, Grichuk added a solo shot in the ninth inning to left field for his first career multi-home run game. He finished the day 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
"I was seeing his ball well," Grichuk said. "I was 0-for-2 but I still feel like I was seeing it well and put some good swings on it the first two ABs. Put a good swing on it the third at-bat." More >
One pitch sinks Harang: Harang carried a 1-1 tie into the sixth inning when he allowed back-to-back singles to Jason Heyward and Yadier Molina. But that 2-1 fastball over the heart of the plate to Grichuk sunk him. Harang has a 7.61 ERA in his last four starts. More >
Long John Lackey: For the fourth time in five starts, Lackey completed seven innings of work. The veteran right-hander tossed seven innings, striking out three and allowing just five hits and two walks over his 100-pitch performance. The outing lowered Lackey's ERA to 3.41 and improved his record to 6-4. More >
Asche pops one, Utley pops out: Asche hit his third home run of the season and his first since April 22, while Utley went 1-for-4, including fly outs in the fourth and sixth innings. Since Utley's batting average reached a season-high .207 on June 2, he has hit just .100 (5-for-50) with one double and three RBIs. More >
"I would say so," Asche said, asked if the team feels beat up after being outscored 48-14 in their last five games. "A couple of our last losses, those hit you hard. They're not fun games to be a part of."
"That's why they're in first place. That's why they have the best record in the league. They do the little things. They do the hit-and-runs. They move runners over. The defense is there. The pitchers make pitches when they need to. They're going on all cylinders and they're all working at the same time." -- Harang, on the Cardinals outscoring the Phillies 22-5 in two games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With three hits Saturday, Heyward notched his second straight multi-hit game. This is the first time he has done so since May 9-10 in Pittsburgh. Heyward also finished the game with two RBIs, the first time he drove in multiple runs in a game since June 4.
After missing the last week with right arm soreness, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal entered a game for the first time since June 13 in a non-save situation. Rosenthal walked the first batter he faced, but settled down to retire the next three batters in order and even hit 100 mph on a pitch to strike out Asche.
"It's like riding a bike," he said. "I was anxious to get back out there and see if I remembered how to pitch. I'm definitely happy to be out there and do the best I can."
Cardinals: Michael Wacha will take the mound for the Cardinals on Sunday, putting his 9-2 record on the line in a 12:35 p.m. CT start. It will be the second time the right-hander faces the Phillies this year after a win he earned on April 28. Wacha has been stellar on the road this year as his ERA away from St. Louis is 2.02 and he is 6-1 in eight starts.
Phillies: Left-hander Adam Morgan will make his big league debut in Sunday's series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET. The Phillies picked Morgan in the third round of the 2011 Draft, and he had been on a fast track to the big leagues before he suffered a left shoulder injury in May 2013. Morgan did not have great numbers in Triple-A Lehigh Valley (0-6, 4.74 ERA in 13 starts), but he had a 2.51 ERA in his last three outings.
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