Game Report: Cardinals get doubleheader sweep of Blue Jays

The Cardinals know they are going to have to play a lot better than .500 baseball if they want to reach their goals for this season.

But considering how the first 12 games of this season went, getting to .500 on Thursday felt like a major step in the right direction.

The Cardinals got back to that level for the first time since the second day of the season with a sweep of the day-night doubleheader against the Blue Jays at Busch Stadium, winning the opener 8-4 in 11 innings on the strength of two dramatic home runs, and then taking the night game 6-4 without nearly as much drama.

In the day game, the Cardinals were losing 4-2 with two outs in the ninth when Randal Grichuk homered to tie the game. Then in the 11th, Matt Carpenter hit his first career grand slam to give the Cardinals the walkoff victory.

In the night game, the Cardinals staked Adam Wainwright to a 6-0 lead and were able to withstand a four-run fifth en route to the victory.

After starting the season with a 3-9 record after the first 12 games, the Cardinals went 8-2 in their next 10 games to get back to .500.

Here is how the games broke down:

At the plate: Carpenter’s grand slam gave him five RBIs in game one and he then added another RBI in the second game with a ground out in the first inning … Dexter Fowler had a big day, getting two hits in the first game and three in game two, including his third homer of the day, to raise his batting average from .184 to .224 … Greg Garcia and Matt Adams each had three hits in the night game, with Adams driving in two runs with a pair of doubles, his first extra-base hits of the season … Kolten Wong had a double and triple in the day game, but also got picked off second base and committed one of two errors by the Cardinals.

On the mound: Wainwright improved to 2-3 on the season by pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing all four runs in the fifth, including a three-run homer by Kendry Morales …Carlos Martinez was not involved in the decision in the day game, as he went six innings, giving up three runs … Matt Bowman got the win in the day game and Trevor Rosenthal picked up the save in the night game, his second of the season.

Key stat: Martinez remained winless for the season, now in five starts, with a 4.71 ERA. The last time the Cardinals’ opening day starter did not win a game during the first month of the season was Wainwright in 2012, when he was 0-3 in four starts.

Worth noting: Carpenter had not driven in a run at home since opening day … His grand slam was the first walkoff grand slam by the Cardinals since Aaron Miles hit one on July 20, 2008 against San Diego and the first in extra innings since Tom Herr’s slam against the Mets on seat cushion night on April 18, 1987 in the 10th inning … The homer was the second of Carpenter’s career in extra innings, and was his second career walkoff homer … Despite winning both games, the Cardinals still struggled with runners in scoring position. They were 4-of-11 in the first game but just 1-of-15 in the second game for a combined total of 5-of-26 for the day.

Looking ahead: The Cardinals will host the Reds for the second time this month for a three-game series beginning Friday night. Lance Lynn will get he start against Tim Adelman on Friday night.