Paul DeJong, Paul Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals are powering toward the top of the NL Central.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Paul DeJong, Paul Goldschmidt and the St. Louis Cardinals are powering toward the top of the NL Central.
DeJong hit a career-high three home runs, connecting during a nine-run second inning as the Cardinals walloped the Pittsburgh Pirates 14-8 on Wednesday night.
DeJong, Andrew Knizner and Goldschmidt each hit two-run homers in the big burst as the Cardinals batted around against Jordan Lyles (5-7). DeJong also hit one of St. Louis' five doubles for a total of eight extra-base hits in the inning, tying a major league record.
Goldschmidt homered for the third straight game. The Cardinals have won 10 of 13, pulling within a half-game of the division-leading Chicago Cubs.
"We're in a great spot right now," DeJong said. "We all feel it. We know it. We come to the park expecting to win."
DeJong has hit six home runs since the All-Star break and has 18 this season, one off his total from 2018.
Goldschmidt started the second by reaching on an error and came around on DeJong's first homer. After back-to-back doubles, Knizner hit his first career home run.
A walk and a double scored another before Goldschmidt homered into the second deck in left to chase Lyles.
DeJong hit a two-run homer in the fourth and a solo shot in the eighth. He finished 4 for 4 with five RBIs and four runs.
"It's no surprise that as soon as Goldy starts popping homers, the team rallies around that," Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said. "I was glad to get those three home runs today. It was probably the only reason I was able to stay in the game."
Wainwright (7-7) gave up two runs in each of the first two innings and used 105 pitches to get through five innings with five hits and four walks while striking out five.
Lyles had a clean first before the rough second. He was charged with eight runs, five earned, over 1 2/3 innings. It was the second time in three starts that Lyles was pulled early. He got just two outs on July 13.
"It can change on you quickly," he said. "You just try to work on it and try to find a way next time for it not to happen. I stood up here two starts ago saying the same thing. Obviously, I need to figure it out. But it's another tough one."
Pirates reliever Keone Kela made his return from the injured list and a two-game suspension for an unspecified violation of his contract by working one scoreless inning.
DeJong is the fourth shortstop in the live-ball era to have 14 or more total bases in a game, and the first to do it in four at-bats, STATS said. The others are Freddie Patek (1980), John Valentin (1995) and Corey Seager (2017).
Cardinals: RHP Miles Mikolas (6-10, 4.17 ERA) will start the series finale Thursday. He has dropped five straight decisions on the road.