MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

Not long ago, the Cardinals were owners of the worst record in the National League and were attempting to explain why Willson Contreras had been removed from the job of catcher just a few weeks into a season that was the first of a five-year contract. As the saying goes, what a difference a few days can make. 

Monday, the Cardinals' offense went absolutely bonkers, but what happened on the mound and behind the plate might've been just as notable. They won 18-1 over the first-place Brewers

Offensively, it didn't take long to get going. Nolan Arenado, who had a slow start to the season but is on fire right now, hit a three-run homer in the first. It was only 4-0 heading to the sixth inning, and the Cardinals would rally for four, with Nolan Gorman's right-field double scoring two and serving as the hit that broke things open. An Arenado sac fly made it 8-0 and the game was effectively over. 

The Cardinals were not done scoring, though, not even by a little. They'd put up 10 runs in the eighth. It included a Tommy Edman homer, a two-run Gorman shot, and an Andrew Knizner grand slam. The peculiarity there was Knizner entered the game as a pinch runner that very inning and only came to bat when the order came back around. 

This marked the 29th time in Cardinals history to score at least 18 runs (list here via Stathead). They scored 19 on May 20, 2000. Since then, here are the only 18-run Cardinals games: 

  • Aug. 22, 2008, 18-3 win over Braves
  • July 20, 2018, 18-5 win over Cubs
  • May 22, 2022, 18-4 win over Pirates

On the other end, this was the 11th time in the Brewers' history they have allowed at least 18 runs. It wasn't a franchise record, as they coughed up 21 on Aug. 2, 2018 (list here via Stathead). 

As noted, the battery work was notable in this one, too. Contreras hadn't caught since May 5, and there was much ado about his very-public removal from that role. The Cardinals initially said it would be a long time -- at least weeks and maybe months or more -- before he'd catch again. He was back behind the plate Monday. 

At least part of the reason for Contreras' temporary removal from the job of catcher was, supposedly, not doing a good enough job working with pitchers. Jack Flaherty entered Monday with a 6.18 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. In this game, he allowed only three hits and two walks in seven scoreless innings while striking out 10. 

This might loom larger moving forward than the number of runs scored. 

After a 10-24 start -- one of the worst starts to a season in franchise history -- the Cardinals have now won seven of eight. The 10-game deficit in the NL Central has been trimmed to 6 1/2 games. They've got two more with the Brewers this week and could make a serious dent in it.