PHOENIX (AP)Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run homer in his return to Chase Field, Yadier Molina also had a two-run shot, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-7 Monday night for their sixth straight win.
The Cardinals have a 3 1/2-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. St. Louis has five games remaining in the regular season while Milwaukee has six.
The Diamondbacks – who have hung around the fringes of the NL wild-card race for months – were officially eliminated from postseason contention.
Goldschmidt had a big night in his return to the desert after playing eight years for the Diamondbacks from 2011-18. He got a loud ovation from fans in the first inning before drawing a walk.
In the third, he drove a change-up from Alex Young just over the right-center field fence for his 32nd homer of the season and 100th in his career at Chase Field, which is the most in the stadium’s history.
Adam Wainwright (14-9) won his fifth straight start, though he didn’t have his best stuff. He gave up eight hits and five runs over five innings.
Young (7-5) gave up six earned runs over five innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Arizona fell behind 6-2 in the fifth inning after Molina’s two-run homer, but scored three runs off Wainwright in the fifth to pull within one.
St. Louis got breathing room in the eighth inning when Harrison Bader ripped a solo homer to left field and the Cardinals added two more runs in the ninth. Carlos Martinez earned his 24th save.
Goldschmidt received plenty of cheers from the home crowd every time he stepped to the plate. Before the game, the team also played a highlight video of some of his top moments in Arizona. The first baseman acknowledged the crowd afterwards, waving his hat.
The 32-year-old Goldschmidt hit .297 with 209 homers and 710 RBIs in his Diamondbacks tenure while helping the team make the playoffs in 2011 and ’17. He also made six NL All-Star teams and won three Gold Gloves.
He was traded during the offseason for catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver, infielder Andy Young and a draft pick.
Goldschmidt said before the game that he was ”appreciative of this organization, my time here and the fans and the city.”
Diamondbacks: Manager Torey Lovullo said RHP Taijuan Walker (Tommy John surgery) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session and the pitcher ”was very encouraged” by the outing. If Walker still feels good on Tuesday, he could pitch in a game before the end of the season on Sunday. … RHP Weaver could pitch in another game this season after a successful return on Sunday. Weaver (forearm tightness) threw two scoreless innings against the Padres in his first outing since May 26.
Cardinals: St. Louis will start RHP Jack Flaherty (10-8, 2.96 ERA). He gave up just one run over eight innings in a win over the Cubs on Friday. He threw a season-high 118 pitches.
Diamondbacks: Arizona will start RHP Mike Leake (12-11, 4.38). He’s 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA over his last five starts.
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