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Jun 6, 2024 7:30 am

Cards aim to pick up steam in series opener vs. reeling Rockies

Sonny Gray

After persevering during a difficult nine-game road trip through Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Houston, the St. Louis Cardinals will try to regain momentum during a seven-game homestand.

First up for the Cardinals is the opener of a four-game series with the slumping Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.

St. Louis, which went 4-5 on the trek, lost four of five games before closing its road trip with a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Rockies suffered their fifth straight loss following a 12-7 decision at home to the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cardinals bullpen, which failed to hold a late one-run lead against the Astros on Monday, closed out Wednesday’s game with three scoreless innings.

“We needed it,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “After what happened in the first game, to be able to take one before we got out of here was important. Really good ballgame today. Guys played well.”

The Cardinals hit 16 homers during their road trip, led by Nolan Gorman (six home runs), Alec Burleson (three) and Nolan Arenado (three). Prior to this trek, Arenado had hit just three homers in his first 49 games this season.

Arenado’s solo shot helped seal the victory on Wednesday.

“It was good to see Nolan leave the yard, another homer by him,” Marmol said. “That’s positive.”

St. Louis will open the series with right-hander Sonny Gray (7-3, 3.00 ERA), who suffered a 6-1 loss to the Phillies in his last start. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out 10 in five innings.

Gray noted that his mechanics were out of sync early in that game.

“Timing with my legs — with my front leg going early — and my arm comes from behind, speeding up to try to catch up,” Gray told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You just have big misses. I do feel like I cleaned that up. It was just too late, you know.

“I’ve got to get back to limiting those free passes.”

After posting a 0.89 ERA in this first five contests this season, Gray has failed to meet the quality start metric in his past five outings. In his only career start against the Rockies, which came July 12, 2019, Gray received a no-decision despite allowing one run on five hits while striking out nine batters in seven innings.

The Rockies built 4-0 and 7-4 leads on Wednesday before allowing the Reds to score eight unanswered runs in the final two innings.

Colorado will try to get back on track while sending right-hander Cal Quantrill (4-4, 3.84 ERA) to the mound.

After posting a 4-0 record with a 1.71 ERA while notching a quality start in all five May outings, Quantrill allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings in a 4-1 setback to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

“I had been on a roll here and making a lot of good pitches,” Quantrill said after the game. “Today, I just pressed a couple of times and didn’t have the movement on the splitter that I was hoping for. They put a lot of good at-bats together, but 4 1/3 is not going to cut it. At least I avoided the big inning and gave us sort of a chance. It won’t go down as one of my favorite starts.”

Quantrill is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four career outings against the Cardinals, including one start.

Rockies slugger Kris Bryant has been sidelined by a rib injury suffered Sunday. Colorado manager Bud Black said Wednesday that Bryant could be headed to the injured list.

Outfielder Sean Bouchard exited Wednesday’s game with an ankle injury. His availability for Thursday’s game is unknown.

–Field Level Media

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