Game Report: Rockies 8, Cardinals 4

In 23 of the innings in the three games against the Rockies this weekend, the Cardinals allowed just six runs to the team with the best record in the National League.

The problem came in the other two innings, however, both times the eighth, including in the series finale on Sunday. After scoring eight runs in the eighth on Friday night, the Rockies scored four more in that inning on Sunday to turn a 4-3 lead into an 8-3 advantage.

The four runs in the eighth were scored against reliever Matt Bowman, who was not helped by two questionable decisions by shortstop Aledmys Diaz trying to get outs at third base instead of taking the certain outs at first.

All of the Cardinals’ runs came on solo homers – from Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia, Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong, who hit a pinch-hit homer in the ninth in his first career at-bat after being called up from Memphis earlier in the day. It was their second four-homer game of the season.

It was only the third time in 101 games in Colorado the Cardinals hit four or more homers. The last time was on Sept. 19, 2002.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
The Cardinals trailed 4-0 before trying to chip away. Gyorko hit his first homer since May 13 leading off the sixth, and Garcia followed two batters later with his first of the season … Pham’s homer cut the lead to 4-3 in the seventh, his fifth of the season and second in two days … DeJong’s homer came leading off the ninth … The Cardinals had only six hits other than the homers, three by Dexter Fowler and two by Eric Fryer, who gave Yadier Molina the day off … It was Fowler’s first three-hit game since April 27 … All of Gyorko’s eight homers have come with nobody on base … It was the third time in Cardinals’ history they hit four solo homers in game, accounting for all of their runs. They also did it in 2001 against Houston and in 2008 against the Padres.

On the mound: The first four Rockies’ runs came off starter Lance Lynn, three on a homer by Gerardo Parra in the fourth. Parra is now 13-of-26 in his career off Lynn with three homers … A walk and a single preceded the home run … Tyler Lyons relieved Lynn to start the sixth and worked two scoreless innings but was lifted for Bowman to start the eighth. Three singles and a sacrifice fly, and the two plays which did not result in outs from Diaz, combined to give the Rockies the four runs in the inning … John Brebbia came in to replace Bowman and got the final out in his major-league debut, retiring Trevor Story on a fly to left.

Key stat:
Bowman allowed a total of eight runs in his first 21 appearances this season, covering 21 innings. After giving up three runs on Friday night and the four on Sunday, he has given up seven in one inning in his last two outings. That raised his ERA from 2.57 to 5.32.

Worth noting: DeJong replaced Kolten Wong on the roster after Wong was placed on the disabled list because of more discomfort in his left elbow. Wong is scheduled to undergo an MRI and additional tests on Monday in St. Louis … DeJong had hit 11 homers in Memphis, which led all players in the Cardinals’ farm system … He is the ninth player in franchise history to homer in his first career at-bat. The last to do it was pitcher Mark Worrell in 2008; the last non-pitcher to do it was Hector Luna in 2004 … Of the Cardinals’ 49 homers this year, 31 have come with nobody on base … Dating back to last season, 15 of Gyorko’s last 16 homers have been solo shots … The Cardinals did not have a stolen base on the six-game road trip, in which they went 2-4, and have now gone seven games since their last successful steal.

Looking ahead:
The Cardinals return home on Monday to open a four-game series against the Dodgers with a 1:15 p.m. game. Mike Leake will pitch against Rich Hill.