St. Louis Cardinals

Goldschmidt homer leads St. Louis Cardinals to win over Miami, Aviston grad Richards

Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-out, 454-foot walk-off home run off Adam Conley to lift the Cardinals (38-35) to a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins in 11 innings at Busch Stadium Wednesday.

The Marlins, down a run after being two-hit to that point, rallied for three consecutive two-out singles — two by pinch-hitters — to tie the Cardinals and ultimately force extra innings.

It only delayed the inevitable.

“They’re always tough,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Our guys fought back, got the run late. ... A little frustrating. You had two outs, nobody on. All of a sudden it’s one pitch and game over.”

The loss wasted a wildly effective night for starter Trevor Richards, now the elder statesman for the Marlins’ starting rotation with Jose Urena, Caleb Smith and Pablo Lopez on the injured list. The 26-year-old right-hander — who grew up 45 minutes to the east of Busch Stadium in Aviston and graduated from Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese — had to battle long at-bats and his rising pitch count as he held the Cardinals lineup at bay for most of the night.

He carried a no-hitter into the fifth despite needing 71 pitches to get there, and gave up his lone run of the game on pitch No. 108 when Dexter Fowler’s two-out single scored pinch-runner Harrison Bader from third.

Richards’ final line on Wednesday: 5 2/3 innings pitched, four hits, three walks and a season-high-tying eight strikeouts.

He rebounded well from his previous outing, one in which he gave up five earned runs on a career-high 11 hits in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Overall, stuff-wise I felt better,” said Richards, who grew up 45 minutes east of St. Louis in Aviston and had a large contingent of family and friends among the announced crowd of 40,126. “I was able to command the fastball better, get it in the zone. I wasn’t spraying it as much. Kept the change-up down. I left a couple up, but overall, it was down most of the night.”

Richards is in his second season with Miami. He was the Marlins minor league pitcher of the year in 2017 after being signed away from the Gateway Grizzlies as an undrafted free agent. Wednesday’s start was Richards’ third against the Cardinals and second at Busch Stadium. Despite his performace, he’s still looking for his first win against the team he followed growing up in Clinton County.

It wasted a late rally from the Marlins offense. After recording just two hits against Cardinals starter Daniel Ponce de Leon, the Marlins (26-46) took advantage of reliever Carlos Martinez in the eighth. With two outs, pinch-hitters Jorge Alfaro and Austin Dean hit back-to-back singles before Miguel Rojas drove in Alfaro with a single through the right side to tie the game and keep the Marlins’ chances of winning the game alive for a few more innings.

It wasted heroics from Sergio Romo in the 10th.

Austin Brice put runners on the corners with no outs in the 11th on a four-pitch walk to Kolten Wong and a single to Matt Carpenter before being pulled for Romo. An intentional walk loaded the bases before Romo worked his magic, striking out Bader and, with five infielders, getting Marcell Ozuna to ground into a double play to push the game to the 11th.

“That’s where Sergio’s so good,” Mattingly said. “He’s just not going to give in. Big spot, but he’s just making pitches.”

The Marlins went down in order before Goldschmidt clinched the win.