Montgomery beats former team as Cardinals blank Yankees 1-0

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — Jordan Montgomery blanked his old teammates over five innings and Nolan Arenado drove in the lone run as the St. Louis Cardinals handed the New York Yankees their season-high fourth straight loss, 1-0 Saturday night.

Making his first start for St. Louis since being acquired at the trade deadline earlier in the week, Montgomery (4-3) was taken out after five innings for precautionary reasons due to cramping.

“It’s tough to throw against a team you just left. For him to do what he did was pretty special,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He had nine groundball outs. A really good job by Jordan.”

St. Louis has won a season-high six straight games, and eight of nine. The Cardinals are 10-2 over their last 12 games at Busch Stadium, including seven straight wins.

Montgomery gave up two hits and a walk with one strikeout.

“I was pretty nervous especially with how hot it was,” Montgomery said. “The humidity is definitely different from New York. My body started cramping up. I gave the team five innings.”

Four St. Louis pitchers held the Yankees to just two hits – singles in the first and third.

“Seeing him in red was a little different,” said Aaron Judge, who singled in the first off Montgomery. “It was a little funky.”

Only two runners reached second base.

“We played good baseball and we got rewarded for it,” Montgomery said. “It definitely feels good. This team is playing good. I’m glad I could come in and keep it going.”

Giovanny Gallegos pitched 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 11th save, striking out the final two hitters.

The only run came in the first inning as Paul Goldschmidt doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Arenado.

Domingo German (1-2) took the loss, giving up the run and four hits in five innings.

“For me, I mixed my pitches and I was attacking,” German said through a translator. “I wanted to keep it close. It was exciting and I was enjoying the challenge of pitching against (Montgomery).”

It was the seventh shutout loss for the Yankees this season. It was their first 1-0 loss since Sept. 11, 2020.

“We weren’t able to get much going,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “They made some great plays against us. They’ve done a good job of keeping us in the ballpark and flashing some leather against us.”

RECORD CROWD

The official attendance was 48,581. That is the largest crowd ever in Busch Stadium history, including regular season and postseason games along with the 2009 All-Star game. “This place was absolutely electric tonight,” Marmol said.

FORMER CARDINAL, YANKEE HONORED

Nine-time All Star Joe Torre, who was a NL MVP and twice named an AL Manager of the Year, was honored before the game and a bobblehead of him was given away to fans. Torre played for and managed the Cardinals and also managed the Yankees to four World Series titles. A video of his highlights as a Cardinal player and manager and as a Yankee manager was shown on the videoboard. He went into the Hall as a manager.

DEFENSIVE GEMS

Goldschmidt hit his second double in the third. The ball hit at the base of the wall and went to center fielder Tim Locastro, who threw to second baseman Gleyber Torres. Torres’ relay to catcher Kyle Higashioka beat a sliding Nolan Gorman to prevent a run. … In the fourth, Josh Donaldson hit a hard grounder to Arenado at third base. Arenado dropped down to one knee to catch it and then threw to first to rob Donaldson of a hit. … In the eighth, right fielder Lars Nootbaar laid out flat to make a diving catch with his glove on the grass to prevent Higashioka from getting a hit with a runner on first and just one out.

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC

Goldschmidt has committed to play for Team USA along with Arenado when the World Baseball Classic is played in March. Goldschmidt was on the 2017 team and appeared in five games and recorded one hit before being replaced by Eric Hosmer for the semifinal and final games. The Americans went on to capture the gold.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo (lower back tightness) remained out action Saturday. He was scratched from the starting lineup just before the game began. He missed four games last month with the same issue. Rizzo has 27 homers this year. … After the game, RHP Ron Marinaccio was sent down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder strain) said he threw a simulated inning and that he “feels good and is glad to be here” after rehabbing in California. Flaherty, 26, has been limited in availability and effectiveness in 2022. He’s thrown a total of eight innings in three starts. He will throw another bullpen session Sunday and then evaluate where he stands.

UP NEXT

Yankees: Frankie Montas (4-9, 3.18) will be making his first start for the Yankees. He was acquired from Oakland on Monday. He has never pitched against St. Louis before.

Cardinals: Adam Wainwright (8-8, 3.11) will be making his second career start and appearance against the Yankees. It is his first since April 16, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in a 9-3 loss. He has 192 career wins.

Swanson, Olson go deep vs Scherzer, Braves take NL East lead

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered off Max Scherzer, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a crucial 4-2 victory Saturday night over the New York Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East.

The defending World Series champions beat aces Jacob deGrom and Scherzer on consecutive nights to take their biggest lead of the season in the division. New York, which held a 10 1/2-game cushion on June 1, faces its biggest deficit of the year with four games remaining.

Atlanta will try for a three-game sweep Sunday night, with the winner earning the season-series tiebreaker between the teams. Even though both teams are headed to the postseason, that’s important because the NL East champion gets a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Swanson’s 24th homer, a go-ahead, two-run shot in the fifth inning, touched off a frenzy among the sold-out crowd at Truist Park, the ball sailing a few rows up into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2. Olson hit his 32nd homer in the sixth, a solo shot into Chop House seats in right to put Atlanta up 4-2.

Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on Olson’s single to make it 1-all.

Kyle Wright (21-5) gave up two runs and seven hits with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings as he won his eighth straight decision. The Braves have won 16 of his last 17 starts.

New York went up 2-1 in the fifth when Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil hit consecutive two-out singles.

The Mets led 1-0 in the first when Brandon Nimmo singled, advanced on a walk and a single and scored on Eduardo Escobar‘s groundout. Wright, who threw 30 pitches in the first, stranded two runners in scoring position to prevent further damage.

Scherzer (11-5) allowed a first-inning single to Riley and a third-inning infield single to Ronald Acuna Jr., who advanced to third on a fielding error by Lindor at shortstop but was stranded when Michael Harris II lined out to center. Scherzer patted his glove and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

Scherzer was charged with nine hits and four runs with no walks and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as the Mets were knocked out of first place for only the third day all season.

The Braves have won five of the last six against New York to tie the season series 9-all, outscoring the Mets 37-16 over that stretch.

Atlanta’s bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA in September, got a perfect inning from Dylan Lee in the sixth. Jesse Chavez faced four batters in the seventh, Raisel Iglesias faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his NL-leading 39th save in 46 chances.

Since the Braves were a season low-tying four games under .500 at 23-27 after play on May 31, they have gone 76-32, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors over that span. They were a season-worst 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Mets on June 1.

Wright, the only 20-game winner in baseball this season, hasn’t officially become the first Braves pitcher to lead the league in wins outright since Russ Ortiz had 21 in 2003, but the Dodgers’ Julio Urias has 17 and can’t reach 20 before the regular season ends.

Wright will become the first Braves pitcher since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine in 2000 to lead the majors in wins. Houston ace Justin Verlander also has 17.

Wright began the game 1-4 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts and one relief appearance against the Mets.

The Braves, who got homers from Riley, Olson and Swanson off deGrom on Friday, lead the NL with 240 homers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. Manager Buck Showalter said Marte is experiencing less pain but not enough to take the next step in his recovery. Marte has been sidelined since Sept. 7.

Braves: RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique. Manager Brian Snitker said there is no timetable for the rookie’s return. Strider has been sidelined since Sept. 21.

NICE GLOVE

Harris ran back and jumped to catch Nimmo’s fly against the wall in center field for the first out of the third.

UP NEXT

Mets RHP Chris Bassitt (15-8, 3.27 ERA) will face RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.29) as the teams conclude a three-game series.