Paul Goldschmidt’s 3 hits lead Cardinals to sweep of D-backs

Since being shipped from Arizona to St. Louis in December 2018, Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t had a ton of success against his former team.

Entering Wednesday, Goldschmidt had a .200 average and a .288 on-base percentage in 12 games against the D-backs across 2019 and ‘21. Those were the second- and third-worst marks among Cardinals hitters with at least 20 career at-bats versus Arizona. And even through the first two games of the series, Goldschmidt’s seventh-inning RBI single on Monday represented his lone base hit against D-backs pitching.

It didn’t take long on Wednesday for Goldschmidt to leave those numbers in the past, though, as his 3-for-5 day at the plate helped spark St. Louis to a 7-4 win over Arizona to complete the sweep at Busch Stadium.

“There’s no problem with [my] confidence or process. Just the results haven’t been great,” said Goldschmidt, who also came into the day 3-for-23 over his past six games. “And that’s on me, so [I] just try to show up every day and prepare and play hard and have good at-bats and try to help us win. It was nice to be able to do that today.”

In the first inning, Goldschmidt missed hitting a solo shot to left by inches, instead settling for a one-out double off the top of the wall. Two innings later, he led off the bottom of the third with another double, this time on a shot to the gap in right-center. To cap off his first three-hit day against his former team, Goldschmidt drove in Edmundo Sosa with a sharp liner to center in the fourth that built the Cardinals’ lead to four.

Goldschmidt’s performance was one of several big ones for St. Louis batters. Tyler O’Neill joined him with a three-hit day of his own while also scoring in the third, fifth and seventh innings. Yadier Molina went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Tommy Edman also plated a pair.

Starting pitcher Kwang Hyun Kim even got in on the fun, picking up his first career extra-base hit and RBI with a two-run double in the second as he worked around three hits and three walks to pitch five innings of one-run ball.

“Just pro at-bats throughout the lineup. It’s hard to single one guy out,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, “but the whole lineup was really, really good. Everybody contributed. … That’s a recipe for shaking hands.”

Perhaps the biggest symbol of the lineup’s success was how hard it made Arizona pitchers work to escape jams.

Of the seven runs St. Louis scored on the day, five came on two-out RBI knocks. From the second through the fifth, Kim, Molina, Goldschmidt and Edman each had base hits to drive up the score and keep the innings alive.

“It’s just some clutch hitting, I guess,” Goldschmidt said. “There’s a lot of different ways to score. If we’ve got to score, whether it’s home runs or moving guys in on sac flies, whatever it is, we’ll just try to find a way to get it done.”

The win now sends the Cardinals into a 10-game road trip to begin July on a high note, after what had been a June full of struggles.

St. Louis posted a .217 average, .290 on-base percentage and .336 slugging percentage as a team throughout the month — which all ranked 29th among Major League teams — and the club’s 10-17 record dropped it from second place and a half game back in the National League Central down to fourth place and eight games back of the first-place Brewers.

The Cardinals’ sweep came against the struggling D-backs, so it isn’t confirmation that June’s issues are behind them, but it’s still something of a building block for St. Louis as it tries to climb back up the standings.

“Obviously, we had a rough June. There’s no getting away from that,” O’Neill said. “But this is a great ballclub. We’ve got a lot of talent, and we believe in ourselves, too. We got great clubhouse chemistry, and it’s just a matter of time before it clicks and it translates out there. You obviously saw it earlier in the year. You’re starting to see it again, just as a group and as the lineup turns over and everything, how dynamic we can actually be.”

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