Thursday, June 6, 2013 - At Busch Stadium III: The Cardinals were hoping Shelby Miller could restore order against an Arizona Diamondbacks lineup that had mauled St Louis pitching for 17 runs in the first two games of the series - both Cardinal losses.
Mission accomplished. Miller even hit his first career home run - one of five the Cardinals would blast in the first five innings - scoring a dozen runs. Good enough for a not-so-comfortable 12-8 win over those pesky D-Backs.
This game began inauspiciously for Miller and the Cards when Arizona used three first-inning hits to score two runs - but that lead was short-lived.
Matt Holiday's two-run first-inning home run (9) tied the score, as Miller recovered from his shaky start to slam the door on Arizona over the next five innings - recording nine strikeouts along the way.
In the meantime, the Cardinals clobbered D-Backs starter Ian Kennedy (3-4) for eight runs in the fourth-inning - featuring a three-run Matt Adams home run (4) and a two-run shot by Daniel Descalso (3) - to build a 10-2 lead.
The fun continued in the fifth-inning with a new pitcher on the hill for Arizona - Matt Reynolds - who had the distinction of serving up Shelby Miller's first career home run - which also happened to be the only home run a St Louis pitcher would hit all season. The team ranked 13th in the NL with 125.
Matt Carpenter followed Miller's act with a home run of his own (5), to give the Redbirds an insurmountable 12-2 lead - and put the crowd of 43,798 in a state of delirium. After a jovial Shelby (7-3) retired the side in the sixth-inning with that ten-run lead intact, he was given the rest of the night off.
Arizona, however, was still working - no doubt happy to see someone other than Miller on the mound. In the seventh-inning, Seth Maness managed to retire just one D-Back hitter in a three-run uprising - forcing manager Mike Matheny to bring in Kevin Siegrist to get the final two outs.
After working a scoreless eighth-inning, Siegrist - who struck out four batters in his 1.2 innings pitched - was also given the rest of the night off, with the Cardinals comfortably ahead, 12-5.
Keith Butler started the ninth-inning for St Louis, but - like Maness - only recorded one out in another three-run Arizona uprising. Edward Mujica got the final two outs for a relatively easy save (18) - but it was a save, nonetheless, as St Louis (39-21) maintained its spot on the top of the NL Central.
The two teams combined for twenty runs on thirty hits - 17 from the Cardinals - who also had the only home runs hit in this game.
The five home runs were the most St Louis would hit in a single game all season. They did it twice in 2012 - on May 7 at Arizona (Furcal, Beltran, Holliday, Craig, Freese) - and again on July 27 at Wrigley Field (Holliday, Craig, Berkman, Molina, Carpenter).
Finally, Ian Kennedy was used to the abuse St Louis dished out on him in tonight's game. In an April 13, 2011 game against the Redbirds, he gave up nine runs in a three inning disaster. But at least he kept it under ten runs.