PHILADELPHIA — The Cardinals sported a new look to the lineup order, one prompted by the reek of Wednesday's loss, and some new faces around the field. But when it came to salvaging a series at Citizens Bank Park, they went decidedly traditional.
They got a strong start and muscled a few homers over the wall and then skedaddled for St. Louis and a weekend date with the rival Cubs.
Matt Wieters hit one of the Cardinals' four home runs and boosted Dakota Hudson & Co. to a 5-3 victory against the Phillies. Wieters had two hits and scored two runs, and then he piloted the bullpen through some turbulence in the later innings. The Phillies got the tying run on base in the eighth inning, and reliever John Gant had to negotiate around that mess for three outs. A strikeout of Scott Kingery for the second out proved to be the escape hatch Gant and Wieters needed to avoid the blown save.
The win gave the Cardinals (27-28 overall, 8-18 this month) one last chance to win consecutive games in the month of May. They have played the first 30 days of the month without winning back-to-back games. They host the Cubs on May 31.
Hudson pitched six sterling innings and held the Phillies to one run on four hits. Bryce Harper had two of those hits -- both doubles. He did not score either time he reached base against Hudson. The Cardinals' young righthander leaned heavy on the pitch that got him to the majors: sinker after sinker after sinker after sinker. That kept the Phillies grounded, and it wasn't until the fourth inning that a Cardinals' outfielder was involved in an out. In the third, a groundball single up the middle was quickly erased by a double play.
Hudson faced the minimum his first time through the order.
The Cardinals' switcheroo in the lineup (chronicled below) did not lead to the cloudburst they may have imagined or they have once or twice received this month. Instead, the offense was a bunch of solo acts collaborating on an overall album. Marcell Ozuna started the scoring with a solo homer to lead off the second inning. Wieters followed with a solo homer. In the seventh, a two-run homer from Jedd Gyorko gave the Cardinals some insurance. Two batters later Matt Carpenter hit a pinch-hit homer to widen the lead.
• CARDS TALK: Game Day Thread vs. Phillies
The Cardinals allowed four homers Wednesday in their 11-4 loss, and three of those homers came in one inning against Michael Wacha.
A day later, the homers kept the Cardinals ahead despite the lack of sustained office. Entering the ninth inning, the Cardinals had a two-run lead despite only one plate appearance with a runner in scoring position. They did not have a hit with a runner in scoring position through nine innings.
Harper got his third hit of the game in the eighth when he pulled an RBI single to right field against Andrew Miller. That brought the tying run to the plate against Gant. Rhys Hoskins, who the Cardinals had avoided twice before in the game with calculated intentional walks, golfed a single to left field against Gant to bring in a second run in the inning and reach base as the potential tying run.
He stood at first as Gant retired the next three batters. He got a popup in foul territory to end the inning.
Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth for his 11th save of the season.
A day after missing a fly ball in right field for an error, Dexter Fowler climbed the wall and reached into the seats to pull a ball back for the final out of the game.
Shildt shifts to Wong-DeJong-Goldschmidt at top of Cardinals batting order
Let there be change.
In a first that responds to the Cardinals' tumble toward last in the division, manager Mike Shildt has moved Paul Goldschmidt out of the No. 2 spot in the order and put him at No. 3, the more traditional spot for a team’s leading hitter.
The move nudges Paul DeJong, who has thrived at No. 3, into the No. 2 spot, where his penchant for doubles could finally unlock the Cardinal's trouble getting Goldschmidt at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"Flip the Paulies," Shildt said, describing the move.
He added that it in response to Wednesday's putrid game and referred to the evening as "a tipping point."
"We've had a few," he said.
The lineup reflects a lean to the right with the exception of leadoff, which goes to Kolten Wong. The Cardinals’ second baseman is starting Thursday in part because Dakota Hudson, and his trusty sinker, will start the game.
The Cardinals lineup:
1. Kolten Wong, 2B
2. Paul DeJong, SS
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Jose Martinez, RF
6. Matt Wieters, C
7. Gyorko, 3B
8. Bader, CF
9. Hudson, P
Some additional notes from Thursday morning at Citizens Bank Park:
• Yadier Molina remains sidelined by the soreness in his right had that has weakened his grip on the bat. Molina has been taking a break from hitting and the Cardinals are hoping that two days off in the Phillies series will get him back in the lineup for the weekend Cubs series. Molina said there has been improvement in the soreness.
• The Cardinals and Cubs will play at West Ham's Olympic Stadium in London in June 2020. The Cardinals' likely participation in the London Series has been reported 'round here since February, and when the team visited Mexico this year sources told the Post-Dispatch that a Cubs-Cardinals series for London would be officially announced in June. The Associated Press obtained a rough draft of the 2020 schedule and reported that the series will be June 13 and 14, 2020.
As previously mentioned here, the Cardinals volunteered to give up at least one home game to make the series happens. They'll be the home team for both of the games -- and the 2020 home schedule will be 80 games.
• Genesis Cabrera remains with the Cardinals' active roster Thursday. The Cardinals have not yet made a plan for what they'll do when they next need a starting pitcher. Monday's off day gives them some flexibility.