MONTERREY, MEXICO • A day after predicting that he would hit a home run at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey, left fielder Marcell Ozuna did himself one better.
He hit two.
Ozuna's three-run homer in the first inning and solo homer in the seventh sent the Cardinals to a 9-5 victory Sunday evening at Monterrey's ballpark. The victory split the Mexico Series with host Cincinnati and gave the Cardinals their sixth victory in seven games. Ozuna and Tyler O'Neill combined for three home runs, and it was Matt Carpenter's solo homer in the seventh that snapped a 4-4 tie.
Miles Mikolas was unable to match Adam Wainwright's quality start in the first game of the series, though he took a shutout into the fifth inning. The Cardinals' had a 4-0 lead for him after sending nine batters to the plate in the first inning. The Reds answered in the fifth. Jesse Winker, who broke up Wainwright's shutout on Saturday, launched a three-run homer of Mikolas to tie the game, 4-4.
The Cardinals took control in the seventh. The five-run burst in the top of the seventh inning gave the Cardinals a chance to give one of their players the memory of a lifetime.
Giovanny Gallegos, the lone Mexican-born player on either roster in the Mexico Series, entered the game in the eighth inning to an ovation from the crowd. As he warmed up, an area of the stands began to chant his last name. With his parents, sister, and aunt in the crowd -- and grandpa Humberto watching at home -- Gallegos allowed a solo home run to Yasiel Puig and struck out the only other batter he faced.
The Cardinals went to Andrew Miller to bring the eighth inning to closer Jordan Hicks. Hicks handled the four outs assigned for his fourth save of the season.
The multi-homer game was Ozuna's eighth of his career.
Harrison Bader felt a soreness in his right hamstring after Saturday's game and the Cardinals rested him Sunday in hopes of avoiding a more severe injury. Bader felt some "tightness" in his leg after a series of plays in center field during the eighth game of the Cardinals' first game in Monterrey.
Deep into the game Saturday night, just before Cincinnati pulled away from its one-run lead, Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader sprinted deep into right-center field, dove, and came inches shy of stealing an out for the Cardinals.
The ball glanced off his glove and carried to the wall.
Bader got to his feet and from the warning track threw a Rick Ankiel-like clothesline to third base that arrived a breath after the runner. In the span of a few seconds, Bader almost made one terrific catch and recovered with an even better throw. Neither resulted in an out, and a three-run inning unspooled for the Reds. The cost of the near-misses was clear on the scoreboard, and the residual impact could be hinted at in Sunday's lineup.
Tyler O'Neill is in center field.
As the Cardinals' two-game visit to Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey concludes with a Sunday game against the host Reds, the only change to the lineup is dropping O'Neill in at center. Bader is out for undisclosed reasons. This blog will be updated with a reason once there is a chance to confirm with the club.
Here's the Cardinals lineup:
1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
3. Paul DeJong, SS
4. Marcell Ozuna, LF
5. Yadier Molina, C
6. Tyler O'Neill, CF
7. Dexter Fowler, RF
8. Kolten Wong, 2B
9. Miles Mikolas, P
And the Reds:
1. Jesse Winker, LF
2. Joey Votto, 1B
3. Yasiel Puig, RF
4. Eugenio Suarez, 3B
5. Scott Schebler, CF
6. Jose Peraza, 2B
7. Tucker Barnhart, C
8. Jose Iglesias, SS
9. Anthony DeSclafani, P
This blog will be updated from the ballpark throughout the afternoon and evening, whenever possible. Coverage of the Mexico Series is also available elsewhere here at StlToday.com.