Nearly 200 days removed from their last regular season game at Busch Stadium III, the St. Louis Cardinals have long awaited for the 2016 home opener.
As St. Louis prepare for Monday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, the game will mark the third time that the division rivals have met in St. Louis’s home opener since Busch Stadium III was established in 2006.
Fan support has proved strong for the Cardinals during home openers within the past decade. St. Louis has averaged 46,207 fans with Busch Stadium III as the team’s home stadium, which proves important for a franchise that has not started their season on home grounds since 2011.
Despite making the postseason seven times with Busch Stadium III as their home, St. Louis only holds a record of 3-7 in home openers in their last 10 home openers. Before watching the pre-game Clysdales ceremony and player introductions, here is a brief history lesson on the trio of home opener victories Cardinals have encountered in the past 10 seasons.
2014: Cardinals 5, Reds 3
Using a lineup consisting of five players on Monday’s batting order, the Cardinals scored three first-inning runs against Tony Cingrani. Yadier Molina led the offensive charge with three RBIs, while Peter Bourjos and Matt Adams posted multi-hit efforts.
Michael Wacha pitched his first home opener, posting a quality start with six innings of one-run ball and three strikeouts. Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal solidified their niches in a crowded bullpen by wrapping up the last three innings.
2010: Cardinals 5, Astros 0
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The Cardinals were able to plate four funs in the first three innings against a previous season 14-game winner in Wandy Rodriguez. The scoring started with a triple from Ryan Ludwick, who would finish with a 4-for-4 day at the plate. Infielders Skip Schumaker and David Freese made a notable impact with multi-hit games, but Albert Pujols lifted the offense with a three-run home run in the third inning and four unanswered RBIs.
Adam Wainwright picked up his then ninth career victory in April, keeping the game in tact with seven strikeouts over eight shutout frames. Jason Motte retired three of the games final four hitters to help the Cardinals capture their first home opener shutout in a dozen years.
2006: Cardinals 6, Brewers 4
Busch Stadium III’s inaugural game was unique in the sense that it was the first of 49 Cardinals home victories in 2006 that eventually helped St. Louis to their tenth World Series championship. Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy and Yadier Molina are the only active MLB players who participated in the venue’s first home opener that occurred 10 years ago from Sunday.
Milwaukee opened the scoring from a Bill Hall two-run home run, the first of three hits he recorded in the game. But St. Louis would battle back with a pair of two-run innings, highlighted by an Albert Pujols go-ahead home run in the fourth inning.
Southpaw Mark Mulder had a strong day overall, making up for the early deficit by driving in a pair of runs with a third-inning double. Mulder held the Brewers scoreless in seven of the eight innings he tossed, while collecting five strikeouts. Although the Brewers threatened a comeback with two runs in the ninth, Jason Isringhausen recorded the final out to collect his second save in St. Louis home openers.