Tagged in: st. louis

Cardinals beat Diamondbacks 6-4 for seventh straight win

Nolan Arenado quickly fell behind versus a hard-throwing pitcher with a knack for painting corners.

Instead of tensing up, the seven-time All-Star shortened up, found a pitch he could hit and shot the ball through the right side of the infield.

Arenado hit a go-ahead two-run single in the seventh inning and finished with three RBI, helping the St. Louis Cardinals stretch their winning streak to seven matches with a 6-4 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

“He knows when to take the shots and when to just take whatever is given to him,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “That’s a perfect example of taking what he’s given.” Trailing 4-3, the Cardinals loaded the bases in the seventh after pinch-hitter Albert Pujols singled off Joe Mantiply (1-4) and Kevin Ginkel hit Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch.

Arenado, who had a run-scoring single in the first inning, fell behind 1-2 against Ginkel, but lined a single to right-center to put St. Louis up 5-4.

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Jake Woodford (2-0) allowed a hit in 1 1/3 innings and Giovanny Gallegos worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save to complete the NL Central-leading Cardinals’ seventh sweep this season.

Lars Nootbaar hit his first career leadoff homer and Tommy Edman added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning for St. Louis’ 16th win in 19 games.

“The guys are just continuing to compete regardless of situation, regardless of score, and that’s what you want at this time of the year,” Marmol said.

Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly had been sharp for nearly two months, allowing two runs or less in eight of nine starts.

The veteran right-hander was in trouble almost from the first pitch against St. Louis, giving up Nootbaar’s leadoff homer and Arenado’s run-scoring single. Another run came in when Nolan Gorman hit into a double play, matching the runs Kelly allowed his previous two starts combined.

“Kelly did a nice job,” Marmol said. “Their starter was good and for us to come out the way we did, put together at-bats with the homer and then the singles. That was that was a really good first inning.”

Kelly got a boost from an inning-ending double play in the second and fell into a rhythm after that. He worked around two baserunners twice, permitting three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

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Jansen, Guerrero homer, Blue Jays beat Cardinals 8-1

Danny Jansen hit a three-run homer and a solo shot, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also went deep and the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-1 on Tuesday night.

“It was my first time to be in the stadium here and obviously it’s a really cool stadium,” Jansen said. “It was fun. It was nice for us to get some breathing room. Guys were putting great swings on the ball and getting hits. Hitting is contagious. It always is.”

Kevin Gausman (4-3) threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He allowed four hits and beat the Cardinals for the first time in eight appearances.

“For us to get our mojo back and have that high energy and everybody talking in the dugout, that was nice to see,” Gausman said. “Any one of these guys can hit a home run at any given moment.”

Toronto split the two-game series and ended the Cardinals’ winning streak at four.

“It was a great day,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo stated. “We needed this day. Gausman gave us what we needed. We rest the bullpen. It was great to see the offense come alive.”

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Jordan Hicks (1-4) pitched three-plus innings in his first career start versus the Blue Jays. He permitted four runs on four hits with five walks.

“The whole game I felt like I didn’t have command of my fastball,” Hicks said. “The fastball is the game changer for me. I can’t be out there throwing slider or curveball every pitch. It’s frustrating.”

Alejandro Kirk led off the fourth with a single and Matt Chapman walked before Jansen hit a 3-2 slider from Hicks off the foul pole in left to make it 4-0.

“I was just hoping it wouldn’t hook too much,” Jansen said. “That was really cool. I’ve talked about getting out of my own way. I’m good at pulling the ball.”

Jansen led off the seventh with a blast estimated at 427 feet for his fifth homer this season and third multi-homer game of his career.

The Blue Jays added three runs in the sixth. 

George Springer hit a sinking line drive to right field for a triple to score Raimel Tapia and chase reliever Nick Wittgren. A sacrifice fly drove home Springer.

Guerrero then greeted reliever Drew VerHagen with a homer to left. He had singled in the first inning to snap an 0-for-14 drought.

“Obviously if I tell you that I didn’t enjoy it, I would be lying to you guys,” Guerrero said through a translator. “When you hit a homer, you’ve got to enjoy it.”

It was Guerrero’s second homer of the month and his first in 15 games.

“Before he did that, he was talking in the dugout that for the first time he feels locked in,” Montoyo. “Like he can see the ball right. That bomb he hit, that was good to hear.”

Rookie Brendan Donovan had an RBI single in the seventh for the Cardinals.

“Game got away from us,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “Gave up some extra outs. Not our best baseball.”

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Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman ‘nowhere close’ to retirement after 2020 opt-out

Back with the Washington Nationals after sitting out last campaign because of COVID-19 concerns, Ryan Zimmerman said Thursday the time away made him realize he is nowhere close to being ready to retire at age 36.

“I missed the game a lot,” Zimmerman said during a video call. “I missed what it takes to prepare every day. As you get older, there’s more and more you have to do to get ready, but I missed all of that, as well.”

The two-time NL All-Star was one of the first players to opt out in 2020. The father of a newborn son, and the son of a mother with multiple sclerosis, Zimmerman decided the safest course of action would be to not play amid a pandemic. There were other factors he contemplated, including whether he would need to change his pregame and postgame routines.

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“Was it really worth it for me to risk injury to myself, the health of my family, at the time, for a season that was 60 games? Who knows if people really thought it was going to make it through? If people thought it was going to count as a real season?” Zimmerman stated.

“I don’t really second-guess or wish I would’ve played.”

Arriving in Florida this time around — he brought his wife and three children — raised new questions.

“You just didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to be the weird guy wearing a mask in the grocery store,” Zimmerman said. “… I think a lot more people are more aware now — obviously of themselves, but I think of other people, as well.

Hopefully if anything positive can come out of this, maybe we’ll start caring about other people more, which would be nice. But as far as being down here now for two weeks, I feel a lot more confident than I did flying down here.”

Zimmerman, the first amateur draft pick in Nationals history in 2005, is expected to be the backup to free-agent addition Josh Bell at first base.

“He’s faced all the guys I’m going to face this year,” Bell said. “He knows all the umpires, he knows all the zones, he knows the division more than anyone else on this squad.”

Washington’s first exhibition match is Sunday versus St. Louis, and Zimmerman hopes to appear in more Grapefruit League games, but fewer innings. “He’s the face of this organization — and he will be for a long time. He really will be,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “To have him back here, have him in that clubhouse, talking to the young players, it’s awesome.”

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