Cardinals 9, Diamondbacks 7
PHOENIX, Sep. 23 – Paul Goldschmidt homered in his return to Arizona, one of four that the St. Louis Cardinals hit en route to a crucial 9-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks before 24,826 at Chase Field. He also scored three runs in a 2-for-4 performance that included a homer, a single, and a walk.
Cardinals Jump Out to Early Lead, Diamondbacks Keep It Close
The game began with fireworks. Diamondbacks starting pitcher Alex Young fanned right fielder Dexter Fowler to lead off the game, but the celebration ended abruptly with the next hitter. On the second pitch, second baseman Tommy Edman belted a majestic home run well beyond the fence in left-center, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. That was nothing compared to what happened next – one of the most anticipated moments of the season for Diamondbacks fans.
“Now batting…first baseman…number 46…Paul Goldschmidt.” He received a standing ovation from the entire stadium, including Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. Goldy tipped his hat to the crowd, then stepped in the box, drawing a walk. He ended up scoring on a combination of a double down the left field line by left fielder Marcell Ozuna and a grounder to short by catcher Yadier Molina. When the top of the first ended, the Cardinals already led, 2-0.
The Diamondbacks cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the second. First baseman Christian Walker led off with a single to right and then scored on a combination of singles by third baseman Jake Lamb and right fielder Adam Jones. Veteran Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright prevented the hosts from doing more damage, however. He got shortstop Nick Ahmed to ground into a 6-4-3 double play and catcher Carson Kelly to strike out looking, retiring the side.
Cardinals Extend Lead, Diamondbacks Don’t Quit
The Cardinals responded quickly, extending their lead in the top of the third. Edman led off the inning by reaching first when the second pitch hit him. Goldschmidt then did something he had done 99 other times in Chase Field, smacking a two-run homer to right that drew another standing ovation. A solo homer in the bottom of the fourth by Walker made the score 4-2, but the Cardinals jumped even farther out in front in the top of the fifth thanks to a leadoff double by Ozuna and a two-run homer to left by Molina.
Many teams would pack it up and try again the next day when facing a 6-2 deficit in the fifth, but not the Diamondbacks. In the bottom of the same inning, a one-out walk by pinch hitter Domingo Leyba and single by center fielder Jarrod Dyson put two on. They were on second and third thanks to an error by Ozuna on Dyson’s single. Diamondbacks left fielder Josh Rojas, who has played well since coming over in the Zack Greinke trade, then poked a single up the middle that scored Leyba. Second baseman Eduardo Escobar followed with a single to left, scoring Dyson. An infield single up the third base line by Walker loaded the bases for Lamb, whose sacrifice fly to right scored Rojas and made the score 6-5.
Cardinals Take Bigger Lead, Comeback Falls Short
The score remained the same until the top of the eighth, when center fielder Harrison Bader added his name to the home run list with a solo shot to left. In the top of the ninth, off reliever Jon Duplantier, the Cardinals added two more. A walk by Edman, a single by Goldschmidt, and a walk by Ozuna loaded the bases with nobody out for Molina, who hit a sacrifice fly to left. That brought in reliever Robby Scott, whose third pitch to shortstop Paul DeJong got past catcher Carson Kelly for a run-scoring passed ball. Scott ended up walking DeJong but settled down, retiring the next two hitters to get out of the inning.
The Diamondbacks still did not give up, even though a vast majority of the fans bolted for the exits after the Cardinals took their 9-5 lead. Shortstop Nick Ahmed led off the bottom of the ninth against reliever John Brebbia with a solo home run into the pool area. Kelly followed with a walk, bringing up pinch hitter Ildemaro Vargas. The Cardinals brought in closer Carlos Martinez to face him. After Vargas flied to center, Dyson hit into a 4-6 force play. Rojas then, after Dyson had taken second on defensive indifference, doubled him home, bringing up Escobar as the tying run. However, Martinez locked him up on a pitch in the upper corner of the zone, ending the game with a called strikeout.
Wainwright (14-9) earned the win while Young (7-5) took the loss and Martinez notched his 24th save. The win for the Cardinals trimmed their magic number for the division to three, while the loss for the Diamondbacks officially eliminated them from postseason contention. The two teams play each other again Tuesday and Wednesday.
Embed from Getty Images