Paul Goldschmidt
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Paul Goldschmidt hits three homers for Cardinals

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There’s no question that Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt deserves every penny of the five-year, $130 million extension he signed with St. Louis last week. Still, it certainly didn’t hurt that he followed up a hitless debut on Opening Day with four hits — including three home runs — when he faced the Brewers for Game 2 on Friday.

Goldschmidt wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. Matt Carpenter drew a leadoff walk from Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta, followed by a 10-pitch at-bat from Goldschmidt that eventually resulted in a two-RBI home run — his first-ever homer for the club.

The Brewers kept pace through the first five innings, answering the home run (and Yadier Molina‘s RBI double) with a Ryan Braun three-run dinger in the third. Brewers righty Taylor Williams took the mound at the top of the sixth inning, but was quickly foiled by Goldschmidt as well: this time with a 106-m.p.h., 415-foot solo shot that gave the Cardinals a 5-4 advantage.

The Brewers barely had time to catch their breath before Goldschmidt stepped up to bat again. Following a fruitless sixth inning, Milwaukee turned to right-hander Jacob Barnes to get the job down in the seventh. He surrendered a leadoff single to Kolten Wong, then induced a fly out from Harrison Bader and punched out José Martínez on a full count. Things started to unravel with Matt Carpenter’s run-scoring single, however, and came completely undone as Goldschmidt unloaded his third home run of the night, a 406-footer that tilted the score 8-4 in the Cardinals’ favor.

While it looked as though Goldschmidt might have gotten a shot at a fourth home run — making him the 19th MLB player to record the feat, and the second since J.D. Martinez to do so off of four different pitchers in one game — he was denied the opportunity after getting intentionally walked in the ninth. Still, he managed to make some pretty cool history even so: according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, he’s just the sixth player since 1919 to deliver a three-homer performance within the first two games of the season.