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'Running Redbirds' lead majors in stolen bases

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Cardinals begin four-game series with Diamondbacks

St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Harrison Bader celebrates a second-inning hit on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

Leading the major leagues in steals, the Cardinals had swiped 17 in succession and 19 out of 20 in their first 18 games before Friday's game.  The only misstep was Albert Pujols’ vain attempt to steal third at Milwaukee on April 14 when Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff stepped off the rubber and threw to third so an opposing catcher has yet to nab a Cardinal.

“It’s a great weapon to have,” said manager Oliver Marmol. 

“When you look at how we will win games moving forward, there will be a stretch when we hit plenty of doubles and homers and that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch.

“But what you do between times when guys aren’t there? You still have to win ball games during that time. You have to find different ways to win.”

The Cardinals stole two bases on Thursday in an 8-3 win but their runners took four extra bases on balls that had been hit by somebody else. “Last night was a perfect example of amazing base running, taking 90 feet when it was there, and then trusting the guy behind you," Marmol said. 

Harrison Bader, whose highest steal total had been 15 in 2018, leads the National League with five. Marmol said Bader’s biggest improvement had been what had taken place “between these walls before he even hits the field. The preparation is better, which I think will translate to smarter decisions on the field.”

Paul Goldschmidt has the longest active streak of successful steals at 18. The Cardinals’ run of 17 steals is their longest since 1998 when they swiped 20 in succession, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pujols will get his first start on the home stand when he is the designated hitter Friday against left-hander Madison Bumgarner, against whom he is three for 10 with a home run in his career. Dylan Carlson returns to right field after performing as the DH on Thursday, when he was giving his sore right foot a rest from the field.

Adam Wainwright will seek career win No. 187 against the Diamondbacks, who are hitting a major-league worst .178 and have a .273 on-base percentage.

The D-backs, who have had several COVID cases in their organization in the past week, including their telecast team, placed relief ace Mark Melancon on the injured list without designation.

Cardinals lineup

1. Tommy Edman 2b

2. Paul Goldschmidt 1b

3. Tyler O’Neill lf

4. Nolan Arenado 3b

5. Albert Pujols dh

6. Dylan Carlson rf

7. Harrison Bader cf

8. Yadier Molina c

9. Paul DeJong ss

RH Adam Wainwright p

Arizona lineup

1. Daulton Varsho cf

2. Pavin Smith rf

3. David Peralta dh

4. Seth Beer 1b

5. Cooper Hummel lf

6. Ketel Marte 2b

7. Sergio Alcantara 3b

8. Geraldo Perdomo ss

9. Jose Herrera c

LH Madison Bumgarner p

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