After sweep of Rockies, Cardinals face D-backs, NL's other current wild card

July 27, 2017

ST. LOUIS -- The trading deadline is four days away, but the Arizona Diamondbacks might have already made one of the biggest moves.

In acquiring outfielder J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers on July 18, Arizona lengthened its order, daring opponents to pitch around All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and beefed up its playoff chances.

Martinez has paid quick dividends for the Diamondbacks, cracking a pair of homers Wednesday in a 10-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves to give him three with his new team and 19 for the year. Had he not missed the season's first six weeks with a foot injury, Martinez probably would be in the 20s.

He could reach 20 on Thursday night when Arizona starts a four-game series with the suddenly resurgent St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

"He's fit in very well with his teammates," first-year Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "He continues to grow and learn about NL pitching. It's nice when you have a day like this and contribute to the team because that's his overall goal."

Arizona (58-43) owns the National League's top wild-card spot, enjoying the season many thought they would last year. It has enhanced its pitching staff while largely avoiding the kind of major injuries that helped sabotage its 2016 season.

Wednesday's win upped the Diamondbacks' home record to 36-18. One of its few series losses in Chase Field occurred in late June, when St. Louis (50-51) took two of three after falling 6-5 in 10 innings in the series opener.

The Cardinals enter this one with a sweep of the Colorado Rockies in their hip pocket, courtesy of a 10-5 victory Wednesday night. They wiped out early 2-0 and 4-2 deficits, collecting 15 hits and scoring their fifth series sweep of the year.

"We're hitting the ball really well, passing the baton," St. Louis shortstop Paul DeJong said. "We're starting to gain momentum."


The rookie is a big reason why. His two-run homer in the first inning Wednesday was his 14th in his first 49 big-league games. Thirteen of those have happened since he was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in mid-June. Only Miami's Giancarlo Stanton has more in that span.

DeJong has even taken ownership of the third spot in the order, which has been a wasteland for the Cardinals. He's knocked in five runs in his first three games there. Prior to that, the team's No. 9 hitters (read: its pitchers) had 50 RBIs. The No. 3 hitters managed only 46.

"His at-bats look the same wherever he is in the order," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.

The Cardinals will bring up Luke Weaver from Memphis to start Thursday night. Weaver is 9-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 13 starts at Memphis. He has worked twice in relief during a brief call-up to St. Louis this year, firing three scoreless innings.

Right-hander Zack Godley (3-4, 3.32) takes the bump for Arizona. Godley last worked Saturday, fanning 10 over 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision as the Diamondbacks edged Washington 6-5.

Godley absorbed a 4-3 loss June 28 against the Cardinals despite allowing only two hits in seven innings. But he permitted three runs, walking three and hitting two.

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