PHOENIX (AP) — Nolan Arenado’s bat has heated up over the past couple months. Paul Goldschmidt’s been on fire all year.
Now that the two are hitting at the same time, the St. Louis Cardinals are turning into a tough team to beat.
Arenado had three doubles and a single, Goldschmidt added his 30th homer of the season and the Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Friday night. It was their fifth straight win and 14th of the past 17.
“Both those guys are contributing at an extremely high level,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “To see them going at the same time is a lot of fun.”
While Arenado and Goldschmidt provided the bulk of the offense, right-hander Miles Mikolas threw eight dominant innings.
Mikolas (10-9) gave up one hit through seven innings before the D-backs scratched across a run in the eighth. The right-hander allowed two hits, walked one, hit one batter and struck out four.
Mikolas — donning a cowboy hat for his postgame interview — has thrown eight innings in two straight starts, bouncing back quickly after giving up 10 runs against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 9.
“I thought I was shooting it pretty straight with my heater for most of the game,” Mikolas said. “Found my curveball a little bit later. Keeping the ball down and then getting it up when I needed to.”
Veteran catcher Yadier Molina added a season-high three hits and scored a run.
Goldschmidt also had three hits. He reached the 30-homer mark for the seventh time in his career, four of them for Arizona before being traded to the Cardinals.
St. Louis pushed its NL Central lead to four games over Milwaukee.
Goldschmidt slugged his solo homer in the first inning, connecting on a full-count pitch from rookie Tommy Henry for a drive that landed deep in the left field seats. The first baseman got plenty of applause, even on the road. He remains a crowd favorite in Arizona, where he was a six-time All-Star from 2011 to 2018.
The game stayed tight until the seventh, when the Cardinals scored four times to increase their lead to 5-0. Arenado’s double into the left-center gap brought home two runs while Goldschmidt added an RBI single on a sharp grounder that deflected off D-backs reliever Kevin Ginkel.
Henry (2-2) gave up one run on six hits through 5 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out seven, continuing a string of solid starts since being called up from Triple-A in July.
“It was a step in the right direction,” Henry said.
Goldschmidt has been remarkably consistent with at least 19 homers in all 10 of his full big league seasons. At 34, he’s making a case for his first MVP award, hitting .339 with 96 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense.
The two-time Gold Glover made a diving play on a grounder in the eighth, saving a potential extra-base hit.
Goldschmidt’s career high for homers is 36, which he’s hit in 2013 and 2017, both when he was a member of the Diamondbacks. He’s got plenty of time left in this year’s schedule to best that mark, though it doesn’t seem to be a priority for him.
“I just take it day by day,” Goldschmidt said. “Try to go out there play, help us win and whatever the numbers end up being, that’s what they are. It’s not on my mind at all to be honest.”
St. Louis reliever Jordan Hicks threw a 103.7 mph sinker to Stone Garrett in the ninth. He struck out the side in the ninth after the first two D-backs hitters reached base.
Cardinals: RHP Ryan Helsley was put on paternity leave. LHP JoJo Romero was recalled from Triple-A Memphis. … INF/OF Juan Yepez (right forearm strain) was activated from the 10-day IL and sent to Memphis.
The teams meet again on Saturday night. The D-backs will throw LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-12, 4.37 ERA) against Cardinals RHP Dakota Hudson (6-6, 4.17).
By DAVID BRANDT, AP Sports Writer