ST. LOUIS (AP) Nolan Arenado homered in his fourth straight game and Nolan Gorman had a career-high five RBIs to lead the St. Louis Cardinals over the Milwaukee Brewers 18-1 Monday night for their season-best fourth straight win.
Andrew Knizner hit his first career grand slam in a 10-run eighth after entering as a pinch runner earlier in the inning, which began with Tommy Edman homering. It was the most runs scored by the Cardinals in one inning since the first inning of Game 5 of the 2019 NL Championship Series at Atlanta.
St. Louis tied its season high with 16 hits. Following an eight-game losing streak that dropped the Cardinals to 10-24, St. Louis has won seven of eight.
“It’s a lot more fun and you sleep a lot better at night,” Arenado said. “When you put a lot of work in and it doesn’t click, it gets frustrating. So, when you put a lot of work in and it comes into fruition like it has the last few days, it feels good, and you know that the work you’re putting in is not wrong.”
Willson Contreras returned behind the plate for his first appearance at catcher since May 5. Signed by the Cardinals a free agent to an $87.5 million, five-year contract, he was used as a designated hitter for 10 days because of defensive concerns.
“He was awesome tonight, and you know, just the way he’s gone about his business and just DH-ing for a while and then to get back in there and to call the game the way he did and to catch the way he did tonight was just a testament to how he is as a player,” Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty said.
Conteras went 0 for 4 with a walk.
“I was just putting my focus on staying on the same page with Flaherty,” Contreras said. “I think whatever passed in the last few days, I didn’t think about it. Those are things that I can’t control. The only thing that I can control is to be the best version of Willson Contreras and that’s what did I tonight.”
Flaherty (3-4) allowed three hits in seven innings and struck out 10 in his 10th career double-digit strikeout game.
“I thought he was just really tough on our right-handed hitters,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “None of our right-handed hitters had any good swings.”
The 27-year-old right-hander had not pitched seven innings since May 7, 2021.
“That was one of the best outings I’ve ever seen him have and he just seemed to control the game,” Arenado said.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said it was as dominant as Flaherty has been all season.
“We couldn’t have scripted any better,” Marmol said. “He did a really nice job with command of the fastball, 80% strikes with that, got swing and miss on the breaking ball, used the slider appropriately … it was really good.”
Freddy Peralta (4-3) gave up season highs of six runs and five walks in 5 1/3 innings while allowing six hits.
“I didn’t have anything today,” Peralta said. “My stuff wasn’t there. It wasn’t good. My fastball command wasn’t good today.”
Arenado put St. Louis ahead with a three-run homer in the first, giving him homers in four straight games for the first time since May 14-18, 2021.
“Right now, I’m creating some good habits and getting some good pitches to hit,” Arenado said. “And I’ve been fortunate too, because guys have been getting on base for me.”
Gorman had three hits, including a two-run double in the sixth and a home run in the eighth against Gus Varland. Knizner capped the inning with the slam on a slider from Mike Brosseau, an infielder making his eighth career pitching appearance.
Knizner homered on the fourth pitch after Brosseau entered, and Gorman hit an inning-ending groundout on the following pitch.
With the Brewers trailing 8-0, Jesse Winker had an RBI single in the eighth.
Milwaukee signed 1b/OF Darin Ruf to a one-year contract after he refused an outright assignment by San Francisco. The Brewers recalled RHP Trevor Megill from Nashville and optioned RHP Colin Rea to the Triple-A farm team.
Brewers: 1B Luke Voit (strained neck) was placed on the 10-day injured list.
Cardinals: OF Dylan Carlson (left ankle sprain) did not play after leaving Sunday’s game in Boston.
LHP Wade Miley (3-2, 3.60 ERA) starts Tuesday for the Brewers and LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-5, 4.11 ERA) for the Cardinals. Miley is 2-4 with a 2.75 ERA in seven starts at Busch Stadium. Montgomery is 0-5 with a 4.76 ERA in six starts since winning at Milwaukee on April 8.
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