By: Jim Tsapelas
The Cardinals scored ten of their eleven runs in the last three innings of Game Two, as the Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres on Saturday evening at Petco Park. For the Cardinals, Saturday’s game was one of offensive domination against the Padres. The Redbirds bats came alive against the once nearly unhittable Padres bullpen.
The Padres took an early one run lead in the bottom of the first inning, when Wil Myers scored on Melvin Upton, Jr’s sacrifice fly to center. For a protracted period of time it appeared the one run lead would be all the scoring the Padres would need to claim a second win against the Cardinals.
The 1-0 Padres’ lead lasted until the top of the sixth, when Stephen Piscotty hit a solo shot, his third of the year on a line drive to left field; tying the game a one run apiece. The knotted game lasted only a few minutes.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Padres reclaimed the lead as Matt Kemp scored on an Alexi Ramirez sacrifice fly to center. Score: Cardinals one-Padres two.
The Piscotty home run in the sixth was just the evening’s appetizer. The main course was served in innings seven, eight, and nine. The first course was served in the seventh inning when Matt Carpenter, pinch hitting for the Cardinal starter Michael Wacha (2-0), singled on a soft line drive to center, scoring Yadier Molina and moving Aledmys Diaz to third. The Carpenter hit was an integral part of the late game explosion as it tied the game and also put Wacha in a position where he would no longer be saddled with a possible loss and positioned Wacha for the game’s win. Also in the inning, pinch hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker, who had been 0-17, went yard for his fourth home run of the season; scoring Diaz and Carpenter. Score at the end of six and one-half innings of play, Birds five-Friars two.
The eighth inning saw the serving of the second course of the evening. Not to be out done or over shadowed, Jedd Gyorko hit a mammoth three run homer to left, scoring Brandon Moss and Molina. Score: St. Louis eight-San Diego two.
The third and final course was witnessed in the ninth, when Diaz capped off a remarkable five for five night consisting of three singles and two doubles, hit a double, his eight of the season, to left; scoring Moss and Randal Grichuk.
Diaz who committed his fifth error of the season became the fifth Cardinal rookie to go five for five in a game in April. This occurred last in 1954, when NL Rookie of the Year, Wally Moon, went five for five in two games that season. The late Cardinal outfielder Terry Moore, went six for six as a rookie in 1934.
All of a sudden, on Saturday, the Cardinals morphed into a Home Run Hitting Team! The Birds on the Bat, tied the 1958 Philadelphia Phillies for the MLB record of seven pinch hit home runs in the Month of April. With Saturday’s game having been played on the 23rd day of April, the 2016 Birds have an opportunity to eclipse the Phillies for the MLB record. During April this season, the Cardinal pinch hitters have banged out thirteen hits, a .395 batting average, and a 1.061 slugging percentage.
Much has been said about how the Cardinals appear compromised in many aspects of their game, make no mistake about this, the 2016 Bench is one of the better benches the Cardinals have put together in several years.
Wacha, who wasn’t as sharp as he has been in previous seasons, had a respectable night, and keep the Cardinals in the game. Wacha worked six innings, allowed four hits, two earned runs, walked four, and was not able to record a single strike out. The Cardinals’ pen was once again simply outstanding. Seung Hwan Oh, Jonathan Broxton, and Matt Bowman each threw one inning in relief and combined to only allow one hit, while striking out four.
On Sunday, Mike Leake (0-2) takes the bump, looking for his first win of the season. The Padres send Colin Rea (1-1) to the hill in a 3:40 PM (CT) start at Petco Park.
Of significant historical importance, on this date in Cardinal History, April 23, 1996, former Cardinal Fernando Tatis became to the only person in MLB History to hit two home runs, off the same pitcher-Chan Ho Park, in the same inning.
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