Paul Goldschmidt was given most of the day off in Colorado before the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium on Friday night.
The short day apparently was just what he needed.
Goldschmidt hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and drove in a career-best seven runs against Milwaukee to lead the Cardinals to a 10-0 win, helping to preserve their four-game lead in the NL Central Division.
Goldschmidt made a pair of curtain calls as he reached 31 homers and 89 RBIs in his first season with the team.
His grand slam was a line drive into the Milwaukee bullpen in the third inning. He hit a three-run homer on a line drive into the bleachers in left center field in the sixth, when the Cardinals scored six runs.
"That first one, they got two strikes on me and I was just trying to put something in play at least, get the guy in from third hopefully and was able to get a slider and hit it hard and it got out of there," Goldschmidt said. "The second was more of a hitter's count at 3-0 then 3-1, and I got a fastball in the middle and hit it hard."
The Cardinals remained four games ahead of the Cubs while the Brewers fell five games out of first.
Adam Wainwright (12-9) pitched six innings, allowing two hits and striking out seven. He retired 11 of the last 12 hitters he faced and didn’t allow a hit after the second inning.
In fact, the Brewers finished with only those two hits as Ryan Helsley, Dominic Leone and Genesis Cabrera shut them down over the final three innings.
Wainwright also started the sequence that led to Goldschmidt’s sixth career grand slam and second of the season. The Cardinals were without a hit when Wainwright hit in the third and went to a 1-and-2 count. He fouled off three pitches and then lined a double into the left field corner.
Dexter Fowler followed with one of his three walks in the game and Kolten Wong bunted for a single to load the bases before Goldschmidt’s homer. All of the damage was done against Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser (6-6).
The Cardinals again loaded the bases in the sixth when Yadier Molina walked, Tommy Edman doubled and Harrison Bader was hit by a pitch to start the inning.
Matt Carpenter pinch-hit and backed right fielder Ben Gamel to the wall for a sacrifice fly. Fowler walked and Wong singled in two runs, setting up Goldschmidt’s second homer.
"When he gets going he can carry a team," Wong said. "That’s the Paul Goldschmidt we hated when we were playing against him and now we’re growing to love. It’s a guy that every day you know he’s coming in with the preparation, and a he’s guy who can really do some damage."
Goldschmidt hits 2nd homer
Paul Goldschmidt earned a second curtain call when he hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning, giving him seven RBIs on the night and pushing the Cardinals lead over Milwaukee to 10-0 at Busch Stadium.
Goldschmidt's 31st homer of the season traveled an estimated 422 feet and gave him 17 multi-homer games in his career. The seven RBIs are a career best.
Matt Carpenter nearly hit the team's second grand slam of the night in the sixth but settled for a sacrifice fly after Yadier Molina walked, Tommy Edman doubled and Harrison Bader was hit by a pitch to open the inning.
Pinch-hitting, Carpenter backed right fielder Ben Gamel to the wall with his drive. After Dexter Fowler walked for the third time in the game, Kolten Wong singled to drive in a pair of runs.
Goldschmidt followed by hitting a no-doubt homer into the bleachers in left center field.
Adam Wainwright pitched six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out seven. He struggled a bit early but retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. Both of the Milwaukee hits against Wainwright came in the first two innings.
Goldschmidt hits grand slam
The Cardinals didn't have a hit when Adam Wainwright found himself with a 1-and-2 count with one out in the third inning. He then fouled off three pitches before lining a double into the left field corner.
That set the stage for a big inning, culminated by Paul Goldschmidt's grand slam, which gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead over Milwaukee at Busch Stadium.
The homer was Goldschmidt's 30th of the season and his second grand slam as a Cardinal and sixth of his career.
After Wainwright's double, Dexter Fowler worked a walk from Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser. Kolten Wong then surprised the Brewers by laying down a bunt and barely beating the throw to load the bases.
Goldschmidt lined a 2-2 pitch into the Milwaukee bullpen, giving him 86 RBIs and his fifth season with 30 or more homers.
Wainwright gets start
After contributing what he could through advice to the Cardinals’ pitching performances in Colorado, Adam Wainwright hopes to extend a successful stretch for himself tonight against Milwaukee.
Wainwright, who is 6-2 since the start of July, will be on the mound for the Cardinals at Busch Stadium as they begin a key series against Milwaukee.
The Brewers have won seven games in a row to pull even with the Chicago Cubs for the National League’s second wild-card berth. Both teams are 78-68 and trail the Cardinals (82-64) by four games in the NL Central.
Wainwright didn’t make a start against the Rockies, but manager Mike Shildt was impressed with what he contributed with words.
“That’s a thing you can’t quantify when you talk about a guy like Wainwright with his experience, knowledge and wisdom and the ability to communicate and willingness to share it,” Shildt said. “I thought what he said in the pitching meeting was tremendous about how to approach pitching at Coors Field. … We pitched really well there for three days. Waino is that kind of guy that’s always looking to grow guys.”
Against Milwaukee, Wainwright will be looking to help the Cardinals maintain their position in the playoff hunt.
He’ll be backed by a lineup that includes Tommy Edman at third base and Harrison Bader in center field, while the Brewers continue life without MVP candidate Christian Yelich, who is out for the season with a broken kneecap.
Wainwright has won his last two starts, allowing one run on 10 hits in 14 innings.
“I think it’s specific to Waino throwing a lot of quality strikes, controlling counts and having conviction in what he’s doing and being able to execute it,” Shildt said. “That’s the key to it all.”
However, his last two recent starts against the Brewers were not strong. He allowed five runs in five innings at Milwaukee in a 5-3 loss Aug. 21. He then lasted only 3 2/3 innings and threw 90 pitches in a game the Cardinals eventually won 12-2 Aug. 26.
Fowler entrenched at top
Dexter Fowler has remained a fixture in the leadoff spot for the Cardinals since taking over that role on Aug. 6. Since that time, he has hit .283 and seen his on-base percentage improve from .338 to .352.
Fowler also had driven in 22 runs in 30 games from the top of the order.
“We’ve been comfortable with Dexter at the top for a while now,” Shildt said. “He’s taking good at-bats and went through a stretch recently where he was hitting balls at people and he’s getting rewarded more recently.
“He’s working his walks and doing a good job on the bases. If you look at his numbers, they’re pretty similar to when he was hitting sixth or seventh. He probably is more comfortable hitting at the top since he’s done it so much.”
1. Dexter Fowler, RF
2. Kolten Wong, 2B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Paul DeJong, SS
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Tommy Edman, 3B
8. Harrison Bader, CF
9. Adam Wainwright
1. Trent Grisham, LF
2. Yasmani Grandal, C
3. Mike Moustakas, 3B
4. Lorenzo Cain, CF
5. Eric Thames, 1B
6. Ben Gamel, RF
7. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Adrian Houser, P