Paul Goldschmidt, Cards chase more success at Arizona

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Field Level Media
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iJul 24, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field.
iJul 24, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field.
Image: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Goldschmidt always enjoyed hitting in Chase Field as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and nothing has changed during his tenure with the St. Louis Cardinals

Goldschmidt hit a monster homer during the series opener on Monday as part of a three-RBI night. The reigning National League MVP will attempt to inflict more damage when the Cardinals and Diamondbacks meet in the middle contest of the three-game set on Tuesday night in Phoenix

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Goldschmidt's two-run blast in the first inning on Monday was his 104th at the ballpark that opened in 1998. He is the only player to reach the century mark.

The 444-foot homer over the high wall in center was his fifth in 11 games at the ballpark since being traded to the Cardinals prior to the 2019 season. He played eight seasons with Arizona prior to the trade

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Goldschmidt also delivered a tying single in the ninth inning as St. Louis scored five in the frame while posting a 10-6 victory.

"I mean, it's a good place to hit," Goldschmidt said after the Cardinals ended a three-game skid. "I'm not the only one who hits well here. I just try to play well and help us win

"I don't make too much out of the ballparks. Some places you're good and all of a sudden it's the opposite or vice versa."

Six of Goldschmidt's seven All-Star appearances came when he was with the Diamondbacks

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Goldschmidt's former club is struggling with five straight setbacks and losses in 13 of its last 17 games.

Arizona took a 6-5 lead on Evan Longoria's pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh and led entering the ninth.

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A team that has experienced bullpen issues most of the season called on left-hander Andrew Chafin, who blew a save for the fourth time in 12 opportunities.

After Goldschmidt tied the game with a bases-loaded single, Chafin walked Lars Nootbaar. Tyler O'Neill then cleared the bases with a three-run double off Kevin Ginkel.

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Arizona manager Torey Lovullo defended his decision to have Chafin pitch the ninth, including allowing him to go up against the powerful right-handed bat of Goldschmidt.

"His stuff was coming out good," Lovullo said of Chafin. "I thought he maybe didn't have that last pitch to finish off hitters. It's part of the game. You've got to complete the whole cycle and make pitches all the way through the entire at-bat. He just wasn't able to finish hitters off."

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Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly (9-4, 3.22 ERA) is slated to be activated prior to Tuesday's game to make his first start since June 24. Kelly has been on the 15-day injured list due to a blood clot in his left leg

"He's here, feeling great and was up to 85 pitches in his last (side session)," Lovullo told reporters prior to Monday's game. "We spoke for a brief minute and he is really excited to be here and be ready to go."

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Kelly is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis. He has handled Goldschmidt (1-for-9) but has struggled against Willson Contreras (4-for-7, one homer, three doubles). Nolan Arenado, who also homered Monday, is 4-for-13 with a home run against Kelly.

Left-hander Steven Matz (1-7, 4.67) will start for the Cardinals on Tuesday

Matz picked up his first win of the season on Thursday when he allowed one run and three hits over five innings against the Chicago Cubs.

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Matz, 32, is 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks. Longoria has two homers in five at-bats versus Matz, while Ketel Marte (3-for-12) also has taken him deep

--Field Level Media