Showing their best baseball, St. Louis swept the Yankees

ST. LOUIS — Considering the way he’s hitting the ball, defending third base at his typical Gold Glove level and playing like a strong MVP candidate, Cardinals star Nolan Arenado rarely wrong these days. For that very reason, it is worth paying attention to him when he speaks.

When Arenado recently expressed that he felt the Cardinals were close to starting to play some of their best baseball and deserving of being named among the best teams in the league, several raised eyebrows. After all, the Cardinals had very little starting pitching at the time and a forgettable record (18-27) against teams with positive records.

Fast forward the clock now to Sunday night, when the music blasted through the Cardinals’ clubhouse and the smiles replicated after the first sweep in franchise history against the mighty Yankees, and those words from Arenado seem full of wisdom. . Of course, those forecasts tend to look much better when Arenado, the slugger, is in the middle of the lineup, hitting three-run homers and driving teammates around with his fiery personality.

“We’re playing good baseball, complete baseball,” said Arenado, who had three hits, drove in four runs and hit his 22nd home run of the season in 12-9 win for St. Louis over the Yankees. “The way we’ve been playing lately, we couldn’t really do that in the first half, but now we’re hitting, throwing and playing good defense. I remember saying we hadn’t put all of that together, but in this stay at home we did.”

Wow, they showed their best baseball this weekend. After coming back to beat the Yankees on Friday with a key double by Paul DeJong and holding the entire game to win 1-0 on Saturday thanks to pitching and good defense, the Cardinals bats woke up in the last of the series, connecting 11 hits and taking eight walks. In all, the Red Birds swept both of their home series this week and have now won seven in a row to take a two-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.

“Beating teams like that and putting up numbers like we can put up shows that we have a tremendous group here,” said DeJong, who has three home runs, three doubles and 10 RBIs in eight days since returning to the majors.

From the other side they also noted the level shown by the Cardinals. “They did a good job offensively, taking advantage, getting people on base, working the counts, controlling the strike zone. They have a really good team,” Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

Showing that fighting ability that was missing for long stretches earlier in the season, the Cardinals scored five times in the second inning to rally from a 4-1 deficit after starter Adam Wainwright struggled in the early stages. . And once again, when the Yankees scored two in the top of the fifth on a double by Aaron Judge, St. Louis responded with three dashes to put the lead back within a comfortable margin.

“It was a big home run, and it was great to see us respond after they took the lead,” said Arenado, who walked it in the second inning. “I feel like in the first half… it would have been hard for us to come back there. It was really good to see us fight and work shifts against those tremendous pitchers. I really got quite excited because we went upstairs. We needed that.”

“It was one of the most memorable games I’ve ever played here,” DeJong said. “I’ve had a lot of fun since I’ve been back and I’m enjoying every day here.”

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Showing their best baseball, St. Louis swept the Yankees