The St. Louis Cardinals are flying high heading into the final week of the regular season after downing the San Francisco Giants 9-2 Sunday afternoon, sweeping the weekend series at Busch Stadium.
Cards starter Miles Mikolas (17-4) allowed just two runs on two hits in seven innings, earning his National League-tying 17th win of the season.
The National League All-Star had his good stuff all afternoon. “I had some good sink on my fastball today, so I really tried to use that a lot,” Mikolas said. “Just pound the zone. It’s a team that swings early, so I was able to get some quick outs and try to stay away from those long at bats.”
Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt says Mikolas pitches deep into games, and that’s helped with his win total. “He’s earned every one of them for sure. He does what you hope all your starters do. He’s been a front line guy for us and that’s given us more than a chance to win when he goes out to pitch. He’s been terrific and today was just another fabulous start for him.”
And the right-hander helped himself at the plate, driving in Harrison Bader with a double in the bottom of the fourth inning that gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
“I was wearing my ‘It’s Got To Be The Salsa’ t-shirt today, so I’ll probably credit most of that hit to that,” Mikolas said.
The Cardinals never trailed, batting around in the sixth inning and taking a commanding 7-0 lead.
Right-fielder Jose Martinez drove in two runs in the frame with his second double of the afternoon.
Martinez, who is hitting .304 with a week left in the season, was asked what finishing at our above the .300 mark would mean to him. “A lot. The big leagues are not easy at all. I’m trying to bunt. I’m trying to do whatever I can to get people in scoring position for the next guy.”
First baseman Matt Carpenter put the finishing touches on the Cards sweep with a two run homer to right field in the bottom of the eighth, his first in the month of September and his 36th of the season.
One again, the Cardinals’ bullpen was solid as John Brebbia and Giovanny Gallegos, who made his Cardinals debut after coming over in a trade from the New York Yankees, each worked a scoreless inning.
St. Louis, who trails the Milwaukee Brewers by two games for the top National League Wildcard spot, opens a three game series with the Brewers Monday night at Busch Stadium.
Jack Flaherty (8-8, 3.08 ERA) goes to the mound in the opener against Chase Anderson (9-8, 3.93 ERA).
First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.
Mikolas is the first Cardinals pitcher to win 17 games in his first season with the club since Darryl Kile won 19 in 2000.
Carpenter continues to lead the N-L in home runs. His 36 homers tie San Musial for 6th place in a single season for a Cardinals’ left-handed hitter.
Edmundo Sosa made his Major League debut for St. Louis and walked in his first plate appearance.
The Cardinals have swept the Giants in a three game series for the first time since September 11-13, 1995 at Busch Stadium II.