It’s the raw deal that keeps on haunting the Rockies.
Cardinals star third baseman Nolan Arenado blasted his former team Wednesday night, coming up a triple short of the cycle in the Redbirds’ 9-5 victory at Coors Field.
Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols rapped out four hits and also came up a triple short of the cycle as St. Louis battered Colorado pitching for 18 hits, much to the delight of the red-hued crowd of 35,164. Shortstop Paul DeJong tied a career-high with four hits.
The Rockies made some noise late, scoring three runs on five hits off reliever Chris Stratton, but it was too little, too late.
Colorado, last in the National League West, fell to 6-14 since the All-Star break. The Cardinals, leaders of the NL Central, improved to 9-2 in their last 11 games.
It was a tough night for Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, who entered the night riding a three-game win streak with a 2.41 ERA. The left-hander departed after 4 1/3 innings, the victim of six St. Louis runs on 10 hits.
Arenado ripped an RBI double to the left-field wall off Freeland in the first, stroked a single off him in the fourth, and launched a two-out, solo homer off lefty Austin Gomber in the sixth.
Gomber, by the way, was part of the Feb. 1, 2021 trade that sent the disgruntled Arenado to St. Louis. The Rockies, by the way, will be paying $21 million of Arenado’s salary next season.
Arenado’s homer, his 23rd, traveled 403 feet and landed in the giant UC Health Charity mitt beyond the left-field wall. Anytime a Rockies player hits the mitt, it triggers a $5,000 donation to the American Cancer Society through the Colorado Rockies Foundation. The donation is not automatically activated when an opposing player homers into the mitt.
Immediately following Arenado’s homer, Pujols, playing his final season, hit a 412-foot homer to left off of Gomber. It was career homer No. 687 for Pujols, who ranks fifth in major league history, nine behind Alex Rodriguez.
St. Louis lefty Jose Quintana, acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, kept Colorado in check for six innings, scattering seven hits and giving up two runs.
In the third, Yonathan Daza led off with a single, scooted to third on Charlie Blackmon’s double, and scored on Jose Iglesias’ sacrifice fly to right. Iglesias also doubled in the fifth and scored on C.J. Cron’s triple into the right-field corner. It was Cron’s third triple of the season.
Designated hitter Elehuris Montero went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to nine games and has five consecutive multi-hit games, tied for the most by a rookie in Rockies history.
Freeland was off his game from the beginning.
He walked leadoff hitter Dylan Carlson, coaxed a groundout from Tommy Edmonds, and then gave up five consecutive hits, including an Arenado’s double down the left-field line and a run-scoring single by Pujols. By the time the inning was over, the Cardinals had sent 10 men to the plate, taken a 5-0 lead and forced Freeland to throw 37 pitches.
The two clubs will play for the series victory on Thursday afternoon at Coors. The Rockies routed St. Louis, 16-5, on Tuesday.