The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

The first five Cardinals in the order again go deep

Monday night’s series opener for the St. Louis Cardinals in Arizona had a little bit of everything, from a strong starting pitching performance from Lance Lynn, to an awful bullpen outing from J.C. Romero.

The real story of the game for me was the back-to-back home runs hit by Allen Craig and David Freese in the top of the seventh inning. That gave the Cardinals important breathing room after the Snakes had hung a six-spot on the board in the bottom of the sixth which pulled the home team to within one run.

They were the second back-to-back long balls for the Cardinals on the wild evening. In the third inning, it was Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday doing the honors.

According to researcher Tom Orf, Monday marked the first time since July 15, 2007 that the Cardinals hit back-to-back homers twice in a game. That time, it was Albert Pujols/Chris Duncan and Juan Encarnacion/Adam Kennedy doing the honors.

Leading off Monday’s game, Rafael Furcal also homered. It was the team’s first five-home run showing since that same July 15, 2007 outing, which was held in Philadelphia. The Cards hit six taters that night. Pujols launched two with Ryan Ludwick adding the other.

Monday’s five home runs are the most by a National League team in a game this season to date, but how does that compare over time? I asked Orf, and he answered!

Monday marked the 31st time the Cardinals hit at least five home runs in a single contest. The team record is seven, coincidentally accomplished on the same May 7 date, back in 1940. It was tied by Tony La Russa’s first Cardinals club, on July 12, 1996. Four times, Cardinals hitters launched six homers in a game.

Here is a summary of the first 30 such games, sorted by number of home runs then date, with most recent on top.

Most home runs, game, St. Louis Cardinals team history

Date Opp Result PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF
7/12/1996 CHC W 13-3 46 43 13 18 2 0 7 12 3 0 5 0 0 0
5/7/1940 BRO W 18-2 47 43 18 20 4 2 7 18 0 0 1 3 1 0
7/15/2007 PHI W 10-2 44 41 10 15 4 0 6 10 2 0 6 0 1 0
8/18/2006 CHC W 11-3 43 41 11 15 0 0 6 10 0 0 2 1 0 1
4/9/2000 MIL W 11-2 46 39 11 16 2 0 6 11 6 0 6 1 0 0
7/8/1962 NYM W 15-1 49 47 15 16 1 1 6 12 1 0 9 1 0 0
6/3/2007 HOU W 8-6 40 40 8 11 3 0 5 8 0 0 6 0 0 0
6/24/2005 PIT W 8-1 36 33 8 10 1 0 5 8 2 0 6 1 0 0
7/20/2004 CHC W 11-8 44 37 11 14 2 0 5 11 4 0 11 1 1 1
4/21/2004 HOU W 12-6 44 42 12 16 3 0 5 12 2 0 8 0 0 0
4/9/2004 ARI W 13-6 43 39 13 17 6 0 5 13 3 1 6 0 0 1
9/18/2002 COL W 8-5 38 35 8 8 3 0 5 8 2 0 2 1 0 0
8/21/2001 CIN W 11-6 44 42 11 14 1 0 5 11 2 0 5 0 0 0
4/4/2001 COL L 9-13 43 41 9 14 3 0 5 9 2 0 10 0 0 0
9/20/2000 HOU W 11-6 39 34 11 11 1 0 5 11 3 0 6 2 0 0
9/20/1998 MIL W 11-6 42 36 11 10 1 0 5 10 5 0 5 0 0 1
8/14/1998 PIT W 10-5 39 30 10 8 1 0 5 10 6 0 5 1 2 0
4/14/1998 ARI W 15-5 44 35 15 13 2 0 5 15 8 2 5 0 1 0
7/1/1994 COL W 11-4 39 38 11 17 2 1 5 11 1 0 6 0 0 0
1993-09-07 (2) CIN W 15-2 44 36 15 11 0 0 5 15 6 0 11 0 1 1
1963-07-28 (2) CHC L 11-16 44 40 11 15 1 0 5 10 3 0 8 0 1 0
4/14/1955 MLN W 8-7 47 42 8 13 1 1 5 8 4 0 5 0 0 1
1954-05-02 (1) NYG W 10-6 43 37 10 14 1 0 5 9 5 0 6 0 1 0
9/1/1953 BRO L 5-12 35 34 5 9 0 0 5 5 1 0 3 0 0 0
7/27/1950 BRO W 13-3 41 34 13 13 3 1 5 12 4 0 0 2 1 0
1940-09-08 (1) PIT L 14-16 48 41 14 15 1 0 5 14 7 0 0 0 0 0
5/18/1940 BRO W 6-2 36 33 6 7 1 1 5 6 2 0 6 0 1 0
5/5/1937 BSN W 13-1 42 37 13 14 2 0 5 12 2 0 1 0 3 0
6/13/1928 BSN W 11-8 42 35 11 12 0 0 5 10 6 0 2 0 1 0
4/18/1925 CHC W 20-5 58 48 20 22 7 1 5 18 9 0 3 0 1 0

What makes Monday’s game stand out from the ones that preceded it was the fact that the five home runs originated from the bats of each of the first five hitters in Mike Matheny’s batting order – Furcal, Beltran, Holliday, Craig and Freese.

Again, Orf delivered in the clutch with the answer to my question. It was only the second game in team history in which the top five hitters went deep.

The first was on April 14, 1955. It was just the second game of the season, a year which quickly became forgettable. Manager Eddie Stanky would be fired after just 36 games, to be replaced by Triple-A skipper Harry “The Hat” Walker.

In a painful twist and an indication of what was ahead, the Cubs launched six homers against Cardinals pitching in the very next contest. The 1955 Cards went on to lose more games than in any year since 1924. That cost Walker his job after the season, as well.

All was still hopeful during that April 14 contest, an 8-7 Cardinals win over the Braves in the home opener at the first Busch Stadium. The top five in the order, all of whom homered, were right fielder Wally Moon, centerfielder Bill Virdon, first baseman Stan Musial, left fielder Rip Repulski and second sacker Red Schoendienst.

In just his second game as a major leaguer, the number six hitter that day, Ken Boyer, just missed joining the others as he tripled in the game. Virdon’s long ball was the walkoff winner in the 11th inning.

Perhaps there should be an asterisk next to the home run totals of the 1955 Cardinals. That season, the 21-foot high screen in front of the right field pavilion, a fixture at Sportsman’s Park since 1929, was removed. This was done to take advantage of the left-handed power hitters in the lineup.

While the Cards may have won the battle, they clearly lost the war. The club increased its home run total at Busch from 57 in 1954 to 84 in 1955, but as noted, the bottom line was not pretty. The 1955 Cardinals went 68-86 and finished 30 ½ games out of first place. As mentioned above, two managers lost their jobs and Frank “Trader” Lane was brought in as general manager following the season.

And that right field pavilion screen? It was returned to its place in 1956. In fact, the new one was four feet higher, at 25 feet.

Follow me on Twitter.
Follow The Cardinal Nation Blog on Facebook.

46 Responses to “The first five Cardinals in the order again go deep”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    On an unrelated topic, I will be interviewing Ozzie Smith this afternoon. If anyone has a question you’d like me to consider asking, feel free to post it.

  2. crdswmn says:

    This ridiculousness over Cole Hamels hitting Bryce Harper has cause me almost to burst a blood vessel I am so furious. ESPN is practically calling for a federal investigation of Cole Hamels and have him drummed out of MLB. Where was the effing outrage when Jason LaRue was kicked in the head with metal spikes, huh? Bryce Harper gets bumped on the butt and it’s an injustice of monumental proportion? I am so disgusted.

    • Brian Walton says:

      It’s a familiar pattern. Albert finally has a home run (as if one hit changes everything), so the overreactors had to find something new to beat into the ground.

      • crdswmn says:

        Did you read where Jim Leyland is barking about it and says he would have given Hamels a 15 day suspension? Where was Jim Leyland when Jason LaRue was kicked in the head? If Hamels deserves 15 days, how much does he think Cueto should have gotten? My guess is he doesn’t care because Jason LaRue was not some phenom kid that everyone is drooling over. It isn’t about justice or fairness it’s about money.

        • Brian Walton says:

          No, I did not read what Leyland said. To be honest, I have avoided this subject as I see it as a lot of talk about nothing.

          My guess is that Leyland, like TLR, is anti-targeting – at least when it is the other guy doing it. I do agree that a five-game suspension for a pitcher is just window-dressing, but that is hardly new. No more new than this “issue.”

          Now that TLR works for Bud, maybe he can take on this subject…

  3. blingboy says:

    Now I have to find time to look for a picture of right field without the screen. I’ll try to post links to photos with and without. May be awhile so no use sitting on the edge of your seats.

  4. WesPowell says:

    The last 54 games played for David Freese—–67 hits, 17 doubles, 2 triples, 13 homers, 22 walks, 34 runs, 54 RBIs, .344 batting average, .651 slugging, .410 on base.

  5. WesPowell says:

    By the way, one of the 5 homers games we lost and scored only 5 runs. What are the odds of that? First the odds to hit 5 homers appears to be 31 in the total games we have played in history. To lose a game hitting 5 homers, for us anyhow, appears to be 4 in 31. And then to only score 5 when hitting 5 homers would make the numbers truly monumental. I stand before you today and predict it will never happen to us again, ever.

  6. WesPowell says:

    Yes that includes last years post season.

  7. WesPowell says:

    Post season plus several regular season games from the end of last year.

  8. WesPowell says:

    Good point. I completely spaced out the 1-5 batters thingie. Geez.

  9. WesPowell says:

    Looking at that list of 5 plus homer games it brings to mind, on the other end of the spectrum, that we won it all in 1982 with 67 homers and went to game 7 of the world series in 1985 with 87.

  10. WesPowell says:

    That would be a damn interesting best of 7 if we had a time machine—–1985 Cards versus this crew.

  11. WesPowell says:

    It’s a shame Coleman missed the 85 series and Clark missed the 87. And we lost both 4-3. It could well be 13.

  12. JumboShrimp says:

    Beltran is really seeing the ball well right now. He is a very dangerous hitter. The word is going to get around and he ought to collect a lot of walks.

  13. blingboy says:

    Carlos is doing a great job filling the power void left by Schmalbert, who would be hitting his weight if he lost 40 lbs.

    Perusing the NL stats leaderboard, I expected it to be littered with Cardinals and it is. What I didn’t expect was to see Holliday.

    Total bases, 15th
    RBI, 14th
    Runs, 12th
    HR, tied for 10th

    Not bad for a guy who sucked until recently. Maybe that monster season cometh.

    • Brian Walton says:

      If he had slumped for a few weeks during June, no one would have noticed. The end result in terms of season stats is exactly the same. Only because season-opening stats are so visible, does anyone know to overreact over it.

  14. blingboy says:

    Any tidbits from the Ozzie interview?

  15. blingboy says:

    Since 2009, Brendan Ryan leads all fielders in Defensive Runs Saved.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/24091/trade-idea-brendan-ryan-to-brewers

  16. crdswmn says:

    I thought some might be interested in this seeing as how we know the family. It happened a couple of months ago and it’s an amazing testament of determination if you ask me.

    http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2012/05/08/2041277/after-midseason-injury-cyle-rasmus.html?storylink=fblikebtn

  17. T8Ball says:

    Yadi to the DL

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.