Tyler O’Neill returns to St Louis Cardinals lineup with a blast

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 27: Tyler O'Neill #27 of the St Louis Cardinals smiles as he crosses home plate after hitting a two-run home run off of Jon Duplantier #34 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Chase Field on May 27, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 27: Tyler O'Neill #27 of the St Louis Cardinals smiles as he crosses home plate after hitting a two-run home run off of Jon Duplantier #34 of the Arizona Diamondbacks during the second inning at Chase Field on May 27, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The St Louis Cardinals have been struggling with health issues in May and were no doubt pleased when Tyler O’Neill returned from the injured list Thursday evening.

Tyler O’Neill returned to his spot in left field after missing time with a fractured finger and made his presence back in the St Louis Cardinals lineup known in the second inning in spectacular fashion.

Yadier Molina singled off of Arizona Diamondback starting pitcher Jon Duplantier to lead off the second inning. With Molina at first, O’Neill came to the plate for the first time.

O’Neill took a slider with the first pitch from Duplantier. Then, he blasted a four-seam fastball 451 feet off the center field scoreboard giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

According to a tweet from Inside Edge data and analytics, this was O’Neill’s first homer on a fastball up in the zone since July 15, 2019, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. O’Neill was 4 of 54 on fastballs since then. Shocking, indeed.

The homer was his 30th of his career and the ninth of this season, a good sign for the remainder of this season if O’Neill can remain healthy.

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O’Neill’s performance is what you want to see from your young power hitter returning from an injury. Seeing O’Neill return with a homer that had an exit velocity of 110 mph, is important. It gives an incredible jolt to a team that has been struggling offensively. It gives hope that this road trip will help their struggling ways and provide an incentive for the rest of the team to amp up their productivity.

Unfortunately, O’Neill struck out three times in his remaining at-bats but it still is good to see him return from his injury and contribute.

Carlos Martinez got in on the fun in Thursday’s game as he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Considering the struggles he’s had, it was great to see. He did strike out six batters but did give up three runs when things got away from him in the sixth.

The rest of the team did step up as the Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 5-4 in 10 innings.

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It was good to see the team battle and win. Hopefully this helps the team shake off their recent struggles and have a successful road trip out west.