PHILADELPHIA — In a city where some considerable political history was made some 246 years ago this month, the Cardinals affixed a resounding John Hancock to their own history in the first inning of Saturday’s game with the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the first time in club annals, the Cardinals hit four consecutive home runs. With two out in the first, former Mizzou star Kyle Gibson was nailed for back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs by Nolan Arenado, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez and Dylan Carlson. Arenado's homer was a two-run shot, scoring Paul Goldschmidt.
But after they made history, the Cardinals also were trying not to repeat recent history. It was this past Sunday they had a 5-0 lead over Chicago after three innings. But the Cubs rallied and won the game in 10 innings.
This time the spread was 5-0 after one frame. Again, the opposition caught up quickly, tying the game in the third inning. But Arenado and reliever Ryan Helsley took care that this one didn't get away.
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Arenado's second homer of the game and third off the series, a ninth-inning clout off Seranthony Dominguez, snapped a 6-6 tie. Helsley (4-1), who fanned three in the eighth, got two more in the ninth as the Cardinals gave manager Oliver Marmol a 36th birthday present by rallying for a 7-6 verdict.
Cardinals allowed four in a row two years ago
This was the first time since 2020 that four consecutive homers had been hit in the majors and the Cardinals were party to that one, too. Roel Ramirez, in the only game he would appear in that season for the Cardinals, who had just come off a long COVID-19 break and were short-handed in their pitching, served up four homers in a row.
Accounting for six runs in the fifth inning of a 7-2 Cardinals loss at Chicago, White Sox sluggers Yoan Moncada, Yasmani Grandal, ,Jose Abreu and Eloy Jimenez connected in succession.
Arenado’s 16th homer, a 354-foot drive to left off a slider, was his fifth consecutive hit over two nights, the first of which had resulted in his second career cycle. That homer came on a 2-1 count, as did Gorman’s seventh homer, a 392-foot rocket to right center off a cutter.
Yepez drilled a 1-2 slider 353 feet to left for his 10th homer and Dylan Carlson belted the longest one at 402 feet. Carlson’s fifth homer of the season came on a 1-0 sinker.
This was the first time a team had hit four homers in succession in the first inning of a game. Teams have hit four homers in succession 11 times overall.
Liberatore squanders lead
After being staked to that 5-0 lead, left-handed rookie Matthew Liberatore got in trouble in the second inning when he allowed the Phillies to cut two runs off that deficit. Alex Bohm tripled to right on a drive that hit off the wall, over a leaping attempt by Lars Nootbaar. Bohm scored on a sacrifice fly by CBC product Matt Vierling before Odubel Herrera singled, former Cardinal Yairo Munoz doubled and Bryson Stott singled, scoring Herrera. With runners at first and third and one out, pitching coach Mike Maddux paid a visit to the mound and Liberatore stopped the bleeding, for the moment, by fanning Kyle Schwarber and retiring Rhys Hoskins on a popup.
But another sacrifice fly by Vierling in the third made it 5-3 and when Herrera singled for the second time, putting runners at first and third again, left-handed rookie Zack Thompson, who had begun warming in earnest in the elevated bullpen in right-center, entered the game with two out.
Munoz, who was released by the Cardinals after he abruptly walked out of camp a couple of springs ago, greeted Thompson with his second double, a two-run drive to left center that chased home both runners. Munoz celebrated with gusto after arriving at second.
Hicks returns with guns blazing
Right-hander Jordan Hicks, who hadn’t pitched for the Cardinals since May 24 because of a forearm flexor problem, was feeling it Saturday. As he netted five outs in the fourth and fifth, Hicks, who had 28 pitches overall, threw 18 pitches that registered 100 mph or higher, including two which measured 103.4 mph and one at 103.1. There was also an 85 mph slider that low-bridged Phillies slugger Nick Castellanos in the fourth.
Accident or not, but Gibson hit Nolan Arenado near the waist in the next inning. As Arenado stood at first base, Phils designated hitter Kyle Schwarber barked at him from the dugout.
The crux of the Hicks matter, however, was that the former closer who was unsuccessful as a starter earlier this season, allowed only two harmless singles in 1 2/3 innings without walking or striking out anybody.
Hicks left with a 6-5 lead as Lars Nootbaar had drawn a bases-loaded walk from Corey Knebel in the top of the fifth. The Phils tied the game at 6-6 off Packy Naughton and Junior Fernandez in the sixth.