Willson Contreras' 420-foot blast launches Cardinals' comeback to take series vs. Padres

Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Baseball

SAN DIEGO — The style of baseball the Cardinals planned to play and profess they felt close to playing despite the result in Los Angeles caught up with them just a little further south.

Production from the middle of the order, speed from the youngsters, quality starts from the older pitchers, and the right dash of clever baserunning would all merge to give a resolute bullpen a lead to protect.

Take Tuesday’s 5-2 victory at Petco Park, for example.

The recipe was right there against the Padres. Rookie Victor Scott II sparked the Cardinals’ scoring by racing for a double so that a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly could get him home. Willson Contreras’ home run turned a deficit into a lead against San Diego. Brendan Donovan’s smart baserunning home to upset a routine play added to that lead. Miles Mikolas followed up an opening-day dud against the Dodgers with the Cardinals’ second quality start in as many days against the Padres, and the bullpen held fast.

A day after needing only six pitches to blitz through the middle of the Padres’ order, Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless inning for his first save of the season.

The Cardinals trailed by a run going into the sixth inning and then scored four unanswered runs to win their first series of the season. Helsley’s save capped three scoreless innings from the bullpen that included a perfect eighth from right-hander Andrew Kittredge and a pivotal double play in the seventh to help Giovanny Gallegos to a hold.


Contreras socks Cardinals into lead

One of the best views of Contreras’ home run had to be in the worst position to watch it.

As soon as the ball zipped way over his head, Padres pitcher Yu Darvish spun to look toward center field and sank to a knee to watch the ball disappear over the fence. The right-hander had just spun one too many split-finger fastballs to the Cardinals’ catcher, and Contreras dropped the bat and lifted the pitch for his second homer in as many days.

The home runs were strikingly similar.


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