Amid rain delays all weekend, Cardinals escape with series win over Nationals

Sunday marked the third straight day that weather impacted the proceedings at Busch Stadium, but the Cardinals dodged raindrops to claim the series
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt (46) is congratulated by teammate Brendan Donovan (33)...
St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt (46) is congratulated by teammate Brendan Donovan (33) after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Sunday, July 16, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jul. 16, 2023 at 8:00 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It took some dedication from those who stuck through the rain for the third straight day to see it, but the Cardinals eventually secured their second series win in a row on Sunday at Busch Stadium.

In what could conceivably have been his final home start at Busch Stadium, Jack Flaherty gave the Cardinals six strong innings while the lineup rapped out 13 hits in an 8-4 win over the Nationals.

Flaherty, whose name is expected to be floated on the trade block considering the Cardinals’ last-place standing and his impending free agency, cruised through the majority of his outing. A Keibert Ruiz home run that sneaked just fair inside the right-field foul pole was the only mark against Flaherty through the first five innings.

A spot of trouble arrived in the sixth as Flaherty allowed a couple of extra-base hits and a pair of walks. Two runs scored on a double by Dominic Smith that fell just beyond the sprawling Lars Nootbaar in shallow center field, but the Cardinal starter navigated his way out of further damage by getting former Cardinal Corey Dickerson to ground out to strand runners on second and third.

Flaherty allowed three runs on three hits with three bases on balls, finishing the day with seven strikeouts. Regarding the possibility that he had just made his final home start of his Cardinals career, Flaherty shared he had not given it much consideration heading into Sunday.

“No, I hadn’t really thought about it going into it,” Flaherty said. “My job is to go out and make pitches and help this team win. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do since I’ve been here.”

Flaherty got good backing from the St. Louis lineup, as eight of the nine starters in the batting order recorded at least one hit. The top three in the order—Brendan Donovan, Paul Goldschmidt and Lars Nootbaar—put together a robust afternoon, going a combined 5-for-11 with four walks. Goldschmidt launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to reinstate the three-run lead the Cardinals had previously enjoyed to that point.

When asked what he liked about the at-bat in which he launched his 16th homer of the year, a 443-foot blast nearly to the top of ‘Freese’s Lawn’ in straightaway center field, Goldschmidt’s response was a tough one to argue against.

“The result,” he grinned.

Goldschmidt wasn’t the only Cardinal to leave the yard Sunday, as Nolan Gorman sent a baseball over the St. Louis bullpen in right field for his 18th home run of the season.

Mikolas to start Monday on two days rest

As it turns out, there’s some good to come out of the rain from over the weekend. The Cardinals had originally planned a bullpen game for Monday, but the team has elected to move Miles Mikolas up in the rotation after his start Friday was truncated by the weather.

Mikolas had tossed a clean three innings Friday before rain washed out the remainder of the evening. The game did not resume until Saturday afternoon. Having only thrown 34 pitches (23 strikes) on Friday, Mikolas is comfortable pitching Monday on two days rest—and given the heavy usage of their bullpen over the weekend, the Cardinals are comfortable to let him.

“It was low stress,” Marmol said. “34 pitches and then rain shut him down. But that’s as good as we have seen Miles. Velo was up there. That was pretty impressive, what we saw for three innings. He feels really good over the last two days and he’s really wanting the ball tomorrow, so he’ll take it.”

Marmol expects Mikolas to have full availability with regard to workload and pitch count on Monday night as the Cardinals welcome Skip Schumaker’s Marlins to town.