The St. Louis Cardinals left Arizona feeling a little bit better about themselves
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, thanks to a late-inning surge by the offense and another strong outing from Miles Mikolas.
The Cardinals scored seven times in the seventh and eighth innings to beat Arizona 8-4 on Wednesday night. After coming to town on a four-game losing streak and off a three-game sweep at the hands of Atlanta, St. Louis took two of three from the first-place Diamondbacks.
Yadier Molina’s three-run homer on the first pitch from reliever Fernando Salas highlighted a five-run Cardinals seventh inning after Arizona had nursed a 2-1 lead through six in front of a sellout crowd of 44,072.
”Had some big hits today,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ”It allows those big five-run innings to happen. Wear the pitcher down, wear the defense down. Then you have Yadi come in and do something special on the back end.”
Tommy Pham drove in three Cardinals runs with a double and two singles. Matt Carpenter doubled twice and singled with one RBI.
”Carp kind of set the tone. He got on base a lot,” Pham said. ”I think we had good at-bats. Even when the results weren’t there, we made guys throw pitches. That’s key. If a guy is taking four or five plus pitches to get outs, that means you are grinding as a hitter. When you put that together as a team, it wears out pitching staffs.”
The Diamondbacks dropped to 1-5 on their homestand and lead the surging Los Angeles Dodgers by just a half-game in the NL West.
Mikolas (9-3) gave up two runs and seven hits, walked four and struck out three.
Arizona reliever Yoshihisa Hirano (2-1) had his franchise-record streak of 26 games without allowing a run end when Yairo Munoz homered to lead off the seventh. Hirano gave up four runs, one earned, on three hits in two-thirds of an inning for his first loss since coming to the major leagues from Japan this season.
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,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”That’s what it means, right? And he’s absolutely spoiled us. He’s been a slam-dunk reliever and he made a really tough game look easy for a long time.”
After Munoz’s homer, shortstop Ketel Marte booted pinch-hitter Tyler O’Neill’s grounder for an error. With one out and O’Neill on second, Pham singled to center to put the Cardinals up 3-2. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson left the game with discomfort in his right groin area, Lovullo said.
Salas relieved Hirano and gave up the big hit to Molina, who homered twice in the series.
”It was like two totally different games,” Lovullo said. ”The first six innings were exactly the way you’d like to see guys go out and execute and do their job, and then the final three innings unfortunately we couldn’t execute in a lot of key areas.”
Arizona starter Patrick Corbin allowed one run and six hits in six innings, his third straight strong outing without a decision. He’s given up two runs in 19 innings during those three starts.
Cardinals: Paul DeJong (broken left hand) homered and doubled and played shortstop all nine innings Tuesday night in his fourth rehab game for Triple-A Memphis. Matheny said DeJong would not be activated Thursday in San Francisco but could be at some time during the four-game series.
Diamondbacks: Right-handed reliever Randall Delgado (left oblique strain) was scheduled to make another rehab appearance for Triple-A Reno and is expected to be activated Thursday, the end of his rehab assignment. … OF Steven Souza Jr. (strained right pectoral) had Wednesday off in his rehab assignment with Reno after homering twice for the Aces on Tuesday night. Souza has three homers in his last two rehab games.
Cardinals: Head to San Francisco for four games against the Giants. RHP Luke Weaver (4-7, 5.16 ERA) starts for St. Louis in Thursday night’s opener. Johnny Cueto (3-0, 0.84) comes off the disabled list to pitch for the Giants.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (0-2
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, 11.42), following two rough starts in his return from Tommy John surgery, takes the mound Thursday night in the opener of a four-game home series against San Diego. LHP Eric Lauer (3-5, 5.08) goes for the Padres.
Now that Mike Sullivan and Barry Trotz have matched wits in a playoff series for three consecutive years, they harbor very few secrets.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals know each other inside-out from 17 postseason games since 2016. The coaches are very familiar with the dynamics of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin and just about all the other moving pieces.
”Every move that we make there’s a counter move, and every move they make there’s a little counter move,” Trotz said. ”It’s funny: A lot of them are the same things that we’ve seen at different parts in the last couple series. They just come in different order sometimes at you. There’s only maybe so many bricks that you have and they are just lined up a different way all the time.”
Sullivan moved his pieces around as Pittsburgh tied the series at 2-2, and now Trotz gets the next chance in their chess match for Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m. EDT, NBC). After Alex Ovechkin put no shots on net for the third time in his playoff career – with Tom Wilson suspended the first of three games – it starts with finding the right mix on the top line.
”We’re looking at that,” Trotz said. ”I think that whole line has to be better for us. They’re going to need to be productive.”
Pittsburgh’s top line of Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and whoever else has been incredibly productive. All 10 of the Penguins’ goals in the series have come with Crosby on the ice, and Guentzel leads all players in the playoffs with 10 goals and 21 points.
”I just think he’s the best player in the game,” Sullivan said of Crosby, who played with Guentzel and Dominik Simon in Game 4. ”Sid certainly makes everybody around him better players but you’ve got to give Jake a lot of credit for the game that he’s playing.”
The Penguins got speedy winger Carl Hagelin back from injury while the Capitals lost Wilson. That’s a disadvantage for Washington, but the spotlight is still on Trotz to make the necessary adjustments as Capitals-Penguins becomes a best-of-three series.
”I think every game both teams recalibrate, if you will, in some areas,” Trotz said. ”There’s little changes we’ve noticed with them, and there’s some changes that we added in. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t have the effect that we wanted to. At the end of the day, it’s two guys going nose to nose ] , battling for position, battling for free pucks, executing on plays under pressure. Once we put a plan in place, we put the players in charge, really.”
CHESS MATCH II
In the West, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette also made a key change in the series between the NHL’s top two teams, benching Game 2 double-overtime hero Kevin Fiala in favor of veteran Scott Hartnell for more size, strength and experience against Winnipeg. That, plus replacing Alexei Emelin with Yannick Weber, allowed Nashville to better counter imposing Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien in tying the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Saturday night in Nashville (9:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN).
Laviolette said making a change involves taking into account the opposition, buildinga player’s experience and style of play.
”They’re never easy,” Laviolette said. ”But I thought the guys that went in the lineup last night did a really good job. Hartnell played a good game. He did what we were hoping he would do, and I thought Yannick Weber went in and played a good game.”
With the Jets held without a shot for the first 12 minutes of the third period, Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice started mixing up his lines. He swapped centers, skating Mark Scheifele with Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine with Paul Stastny between Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor. Laine scored his first goal of the series and first in the postseason since Game 2 on April 13 against Minnesota.
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The betting favorite to win these two series will be whoever comes out on top in Game 5, based on history alone. The 256 previous times where it was tied at 2, the Game 5 winner went on to win the series 78.9 percent of the time. So there’s no urgency lacking.
”We’re going to need our best effort of the series probably in Game 5 to get a win,” Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen said. ”I think we’re building a belief that we can beat these guys. We know we’re going to have to play really well, but it’s possible. We think we can do it.”
AP Sports Writers Will Graves in Pittsburgh and Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed.