Sports

Arenado (back) exits as Cardinals win 11th in row

MILWAUKEE — Tyler O’Neill and Paul Goldschmidt hit home runs as the St. Louis Cardinals won their 11th consecutive game Wednesday night, a 10-2 decision over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The streak is the longest for St. Louis since August 2001, and padded the Cardinals’ lead in the second National League wild-card slot by another half-game over the Cincinnati Reds.

The win came at a slight price, though, as third baseman Nolan Arenado was removed from the game with lower back tightness, after making a highlight-reel, over-the-shoulder catch. He was 2-for-2 before exiting.

“It’s huge. Just knowing that your defense is out there, willing to give up life and limb to snag you some outs is huge,” starter Miles Mikolas told Bally Sports regarding Arenado’s play. “It gives you more confidence to throw strikes and let them put the ball in play.”

Cardinals manager Mike Schildt was cautiously optimistic about Arenado in his postgame availability, but concerned nonetheless.

“It tightened up on him a little bit, and just wanted to get him out of there as a precaution,” he said. “There’s always some concern, but it felt better at the end of the game than it did when he got taken out.”

The victory sealed a series win over the Brewers, and gave the Cardinals a 4½-game lead over the Reds, who had their game vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates postponed Wednesday night. The Cardinals close out the series with the Brewers on Thursday afternoon.

“Coming into this month, we obviously knew what was in front of us, but we still believed — and always have believed — that everything is in our hands,” said centerfielder Harrison Bader, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the win. “And the only way to really deliver on that is to just keep the power within ourselves, and just keep pushing the tempo and staying aggressive. We’ve done a really good on all sides of the ball of doing that.”

Mikolas pitched seven strong innings for St. Louis on Wednesday, striking out three with no walks while allowing two runs en route to the victory.

“He continues to get better. He was sharp, all of his pitches were working,” Schildt said. “He was efficient, he threw strikes, he had 13 groundballs. Just a real nice pace, with good tempo.”

Mikolas will take the praise but was quick to turn it back to his teammates.

“Everyone played great. We did everything we needed to do on both sides of the ball the right way against a very good ball club,” he said. “It’s a great win for us.”

And those tend to happen when Goldschmidt homers. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Cardinals are now 20-5 this season when he goes deep.

“One of the best things this team does is keep it present. Keep it in the present and just play,” said Schildt, whose club was 8½ games out of a wild-card spot on Aug. 10 before surging. “Just get after it.”

With a day game following a night game, on the road, Schildt might elect to give Arenado a day off Thursday, but said he would evaluate the situation further before making the lineup. The star third baseman is batting .258 this season with 33 home runs and 103 RBIs.

The Cardinals’ longest winning streak in franchise history is 14 games, in 1935 with a team led by Hall of Famer pitcher Dizzy Dean.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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