A night after dominating the Philadelphia Phillies 12-4, the St. Louis Cardinals looked to continue their upward trend from struggles earlier in the week. On Friday night in the 12-4 victory, everything for the Cardinals seemed to click, especially the hitting, which struggled to score runs in the prior four games.
On Saturday night, with help from another big performance by their veteran starter, along with power from one of their young stars, the Cardinals powered their to another big victory over the Phillies, 10-1.
The pitchers on the mound for the game were two experienced veterans in baseball. First, there was John Lackey (5-4, 3.59 ERA) for the Cardinals, and then there was Aaron Harang (4-8, 3.24) getting the start for the Phillies.
For the Phillies, they would get on the board first in the game during the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Cody Asche hit a home run to right field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
As it turned out, it’d be the only run they’d score all night.
The Cardinals scored their first run in the top of the fourth inning. Jhonny Peralta led off with a single, and, after a fly out by Jason Heyward, Yadier Molina doubled to score Peralta and tie the game.
Lackey shut down the Phillies throughout the game, as he was aiming to win his first road start of the season. Heading into Saturday’s game, not only had he been winless on the road, he also had an ERA over 5.00 away from Busch Stadium.
After another scoreless inning by both teams, the Cardinals scored once again in the top of the sixth inning, and it broke the game wide open for St. Louis. The inning began with a lead off single by Heyward. Molina followed with a single of his own. Up next to the plate was Randal Grichuk, and he took a pitch from Harang right over the wall for a three run home run to put the Cardinals on top 4-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, aside from allowing a single by Maikel Franco, Lackey kept Philadelphia in check, as once again, they could not score a run of the veteran right hander.
Elvis Araujo entered to pitch in the top of the seventh inning in relief of Harang, whose been on a cold streak so far this season.
Kolten Wong led off with a single, and later stole second base. Following two consecutive strikeouts, Heyward stepped up and belted a single that scored the fast-running Wong to make it a 5-1 Cardinals lead.
But the final nail in the coffin for the Phillies came in the top of the eighth inning, where St. Louis tallied four runs on five hits. It started with a double by Grichuk with Seth Rosin now on the mound. On a wild pitch, Grichuk advanced to third. Xavier Scruggs singled, scoring Grichuk. Peter Bourjos was then hit by a pitch, advancing Scruggs to second. Jon Jay pinch hit for Lackey, and singled to load the bases for Wong, and Wong hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Scruggs to make it 6-1, while Bourjos was tagged out at third.
With two outs, Matt Carpenter walked, with Jay now on second. Peralta then singled, scoring Jay. Heyward came up to the plate again, and doubled, scoring Carpenter, giving St. Louis a 9-1 lead over Philadelphia.
Randy Choate began the bottom of the eighth inning, to relieve Lackey, whose final line of the game was: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks. He threw 100 pitches in total, and 72 were strikes.
Choate allowed only a single to Utley, and the Phillies were held scoreless once again as their hitting struggles continued.
In the top of the ninth, Grichuk hit another home run, this time a solo shot to make it 10-1, which turned out to be the final score after Trevor Rosenthal entered to pitch the ninth and only allowed a walk to Domonic Brown, and getting the next three batters out.
The Cardinals improved to 45-23 with the victory, while Philadelphia falls to 23-47. Harang loses his ninth game of the year, and Lackey improves to 5-4, as well as winning his first road game of the year.
Tomorrow, Michael Wacha gets the start in the series finale.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)