Randal Grichuk’s late home run helps Cardinals steal victory against Orioles


Randal Grichuk improved his Spring Training batting average to .281 in a three-hit effort, as his fourth home run of Spring Training propelled the St. Louis Cardinals to a ninth-inning comeback and a 8-6 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.

In the battle of the birds, John Lackey took the mound against Bud Norris at Ed Smith Stadium. The game turned into an offensive showcase quickly, as neither starting pitcher lasted past the fifth inning. 

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Manny Machado helped the Orioles claim a first-inning lead, hitting his first home run of the month. Lackey faced difficulties pitching around Baltimore’s veteran hitters, giving up hits to Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy in the following two innings before an Adam Jones solo home run in the fourth inning.

The Cardinals countered quickly after Machado’s home run, scoring three unanswered runs in the next two frames. Jon Jay tied the game up with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the second inning, while Matt Adams drove in two runs in the third inning with his first home run this spring.

St. Louis held a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Orioles chased Lackey to an early exit with a four-run rally. The veteran pitcher only recorded one out in the inning, giving up a game-tying double to Machado. The Cardinals called upon Mitch Harris to keep the scored tied, but Jones continued to shine for Baltimore and collected his second home run of the day.

While the sixth and seventh innings were scoreless, the offense was far from finished for the Cardinals. Pete Kozma started a brief two-out rally with a single and advanced to scoring position on a throwing error from Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop. Coming into the game as a defensive replacement, Jacob Wilson drove in Kozma with a line drive single to cut St. Louis’s deficit to one.

After the Cardinals received a scoreless eighth inning from Trevor Rosenthal, the Orioles gave closing responsibilities to Chaz Roe. Xavier Scruggs drew a lead off walk to start the top of the ninth, but the game’s biggest hit came in the following at-bat when Randal Grichuk delivered a first-pitch, go-ahead home run over centerfield.

Ed Easley added on another insurance run for the Cardinals, driving in Stephen Piscotty to increase the Cardinals’ lead. Seth Maness threw five pitches in a scoreless ninth inning to collect his first save of Spring Training and help the Cardinals improve to 9-7-1 this spring.

The Cardinals travel to Fort Meyers tomorrow to take on the Boston Red Sox at 12:05 p.m. CT. Lance Lynn takes the mound for the first time since March 8, looking to recover from hip flexor strain.