O’Neill, rookie relievers lift Cardinals over Rockies
ST. LOUIS — Mike Shildt got a glimpse of the St. Louis Cardinals’ future Wednesday night.
The interim manager was plenty encouraged by what he saw in a 6-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.
“That’s the blueprint of how you play the game,” Shildt said. “Every phase was executed (well) across the board.”
Rookie outfielder Tyler O’Neill hit a tiebreaking pinch single in the sixth inning and five rookie relievers dominated over 6 1/3 innings to lift the Cardinals.
“We’re playing the game the right way,” said Harrison Bader, who scored the go-ahead run on O’Neill’s single.
Bader, also a rookie, had three hits and used his speed to leg out a double and set the stage for the winning tally.
St. Louis starter Luke Weaver allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings before handing off to the bullpen. Daniel Poncedeleon followed with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks and Mike Mayers closed it out. Gomber (1-0) got his first career victory with a scoreless inning. Mayers allowed a run in the ninth but struck out three.
“I think we all showed we are ready,” Poncedeleon said.
Bader doubled with one out off Kyle Freeland (9-7) to start the go-ahead rally. O’Neill followed with a run-scoring single up the middle, his first pinch hit in nine attempts, to break the 2-all tie. O’Neill was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.
“That was a big-time at-bat he took,” Shildt said. “You saw him bear down and take a nice swing. It was good to see.”
The relief corps allowed one run and two hits.
“We just couldn’t solve their bullpen,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Yadier Molina added a two-run double in the eighth to push the lead to 5-2. Marcell Ozuna followed with a run-scoring hit.
The Rockies scored twice in the third, on hits by Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra.
Paul DeJong cut the early 2-0 deficit in half with an RBI hit in the third. Poncedeleon brought in Yairo Munoz with a groundout to tie it in the fourth.
Freeland gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.
“We just need to keep doing what we were doing,” Freeland said. “Getting good starts out of starters, offense doing their thing.”
St. Louis has won 17 of its last 21 at home against the Rockies.
The 3-hour, 59-minute game was the Cardinals’ longest nine-inning game of the season.
“It was worth it,” Bader said.
Rockies: INF DJ LeMahieu will come off the disabled list Thursday and is expected to play in the series finale. LeMahieu has been out since July 21 with a left oblique strain.
Cardinals: INF Kolten Wong will make a rehab start with Class A Peoria on Thursday. He has been out since July 22 with left knee inflammation.
RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-3, 5.01) will face RHP Miles Mikolas (11-3, 2.83) in the finale of the four-game set Thursday. Senzatela is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in two road starts this season. Mikolas has recorded 14 quality starts in 21 starts this season.
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