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Cardinals notebook: Marmol gambles — and wins — by resting Goldschmidt, Arenado

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PITTSBURGH — Cardinals offensive and defensive stars Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado were out of the starting lineup together for the first time all season other than on July 26-27, when they didn’t go to Toronto because they were not allowed into Canada because they were unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Some managers wouldn’t have had the nerve to do that Sunday, with the result of a club’s season still hanging in the balance. But manager Oliver Marmol said, “I think we’re going to score a lot of runs today.

“Obviously, you tend to score more when ‘Goldy’ and Nolan are in there, but you’re also valuing the rest and both of those guys have gone extremely hard with no off days (other than designated hitting). If they both can recharge for 48 hours (Monday is a scheduled off day) and go on another run, I think that benefits us more than having one of them in there today.

“We looked at it quite a bit and we felt, regardless of how (Saturday) played out (7-5 victory), both of them would have today off.”

The Cardinals, without those two linchpins, were held held to three singles for eight innings before Albert Pujols and Tyler O’Neill homered to key a ninth-inning rally.

“It was a gamble,” Marmol said afterward. “I felt good about this lineup. But I’m glad Albert played today.”

Goldschmidt and Arenado had cleats and jerseys on, just in case.

“But we didn’t get to the part where I would have used them,” Marmol said.

Arenado said he should be ready to go for the remaining 21 games.

“I’m hopeful this will be the last (day off),” he said. “To get two days can only help me from a physical standpoint and mental standpoint for this last push.”

Wainwright has anniversary

The date of Sept. 11 forever will be burned into the minds of Americans because of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. On a far smaller note, Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright made his major-league debut four years later, on Sept. 11, 2005.

Wainwright, caught by Mike Mahoney for the only time, pitched the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss to the New York Mets at Busch Stadium II. It was Wainwright’s only appearance at that ballpark. Victor Diaz hit a two-out, three-run homer off Wainwright to put the game away.

As the activities of Sept. 11 played out Sunday at PNC Park, with Wainwright as a spectator, he was asked if this would be the last Sept. 11 we would see him in uniform.

“Don’t know yet,” said the 41-year-old Wainwright, offering his standard line. “If I did, I wouldn’t tell you. It seems like a lot of hoopla comes with telling people.”

Does it seem that long ago that his esteemed career began?

“Some days, I think, ‘Gosh, it’s really flown by,’” he said.

There are days like Thursday and Friday when he flew to his home in Georgia for daughter Bailey’s Sweet 16 birthday party. He missed Friday’s game here.

“I remember holding her like a Cabbage Patch doll on the World Series stage in ’06,” Wainwright said. “It’s amazing how fast that’s gone. There are certain times when I’m pitching when I think, ‘This has been a long and wonderful career.’”

But there are those many times Wainwright remembers when he wasn’t able to go home and be with his family on big occasions. He can recall going home to Georgia only once before during the season — when he suffered an Achilles injury in April, 2015.

Bailey was celebrating her 16th birthday with her high school friends in Georgia, where she often lives with her grandmothers during the season.

“You know how high school friends are. I don’t want to take her out of that,” Wainwright said. “I’ve already caused (his children) to miss a lot of stuff, so I can’t do it any more. I’m not going to cause them to miss anything else.”

Nootbaar saves game — before Pujols wins it

Right fielder Lars Nootbaar snapped a 0-for-20 skid with a single and walked twice. He also made back-to-back stellar catches in right field to prevent damage in the eighth inning. On the first, he dived to take a hit away from Ke’Bryan Hayes, avoiding a collision with center fielder O’Neill. On the second, he retreated and made a leaping grab on Michael Chavis near the wall.

“Those two plays — that’s the game right there,” Marmol said.

Winning pitcher Chris Stratton, who faced only those two hitters, said, “I owe (Nootbaar) a steak dinner or something. He’s been doing it since I’ve been here. The score doesn’t matter. The situation doesn’t matter. He just goes all-out. As a pitcher, you have to respect that.”

O’Neill, discussing the first catch, said, “We both had a bead on that ball. But I saw him out of the corner of my eye and I got out of there right away.”

Nootbaar said the first catch was the harder one because of the presence of O’Neill.

“He’s a brick,” Nootbaar said.

“(Nootbaar) has been playing Gold Glove outfield for us,” Pujols said. “If any of those balls would have dropped, that would have been a huge inning for them.”

Quintana has club record

Jose Quintana, though he had given up just one run and had tossed but 82 pitches, was replaced with two out in the sixth inning by Jordan Hicks. He continued his streak of allowing two earned runs or fewer to eight games, which is a club record (since 1912) for a pitcher making his first eight starts with the team. In two of those games, however, he didn’t pitch five innings.

Quintana was a popular player with the Pirates, and in his honor, the other Pirates starters in this series took the mound to Quintana’s walk-up music from when he played here.

“I was surprised,” he said. “I really enjoyed it a lot.”

Hudson goes past 100 pitches again

Dakota Hudson made his second minor-league start for Memphis on Sunday, going 7⅓ innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs in a 9-2 loss to Norfolk, which he had beaten 12-0 with an 8⅔-inning effort on 109 pitches on Tuesday. Hudson, who threw 106 pitches Sunday, next is slated to pitch in a doubleheader Saturday at home against Cincinnati.

Marmol said he hadn’t seen yet the video of left-hander Steven Matz’s one-inning, 35-pitch outing on Saturday night at Class AA Springfield. Matz allowed three hits and two runs and walked one in his second rehabilitation outing as he recovers from a torn knee ligament.

“I like to see where the misses were and where the contact was,” Marmol said. “Sometimes you go down there and you get beat up and it doesn’t matter. Sometimes you go down there and do great and you get up here and you get beat up. So I don’t put a lot of stock in the result itself.”

Matz is scheduled for another rehab outing on Tuesday, either for Springfield or Memphis.

Meantime, left-handed reliever Genesis Cabrera, trying to find himself at Memphis, allowed five hits and three runs in 1⅔ innings on Sunday.

Burleson gets first hit

In his ninth big-league at-bat, Alec Burleson, who had been tearing up the International League, got his first hit — a line single — in the eighth. He said his grandfather, who had come up from the family home in North Carolina, was there to see it.

Burleson said it took a weight off his shoulders.

“It felt like a thousand pounds,” he said.

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Rick Hummel is a Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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