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Tough-to-swallow loss takes away from big games for Pham, Grichuk

July 16,2016 11:12

The demotion “gave me a chance to get a little bit of a mental break, for sure,'' said Grichuk, who batted .283 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 15 AAA games. “But it also gave me a chance to fix some mechanical things. I feel a lot more comfortable ...and more »



Tommy Pham was torn.On one hand, he was feeling good about his night, about going three for four with a pair of home runs while matching his career high with four runs driven in.But his big game came in a loss, a frustrating 7-6 setback to the visiting Miami Marlins before a crowd of 42,034 at Busch Stadium.
“It's tough because you always want to contribute, to help the team win,'' the 28-year-old outfielder said. “To contribute, to feel like you had a good night and then to see the game get away from you like that, it's a huge disappointment.''Twice on Friday, Pham helped bring the Cardinals back.In the fourth, after the Cardinals failed to turn a double play, the Marlins grabbed a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring double down the left-field line from Chris Johnson.But Stephen Piscotty led off the bottom of the inning with a solo blast to center to tie the game. Then, after one-out hits from Yadier Molina and Jedd Gyorko, Pham hooked a three-run homer around the foul pole in left to put the Cardinals on top 4-1.“It was a slider,'' Pham said. “The guy gave me a good pitch to hit and I was able to put a good swing on it.''In the seventh, after Miami rallied to go up 5-4, Pham connected on a 1-0 fastball from Hazelwood West High product David Phelps and deposited into the bleachers in right center. It was his second two-homer game of the season and the third of Pham's career.“Fastball,'' he said.A hitter later, outfielder Randal Grichuk connected for a solo shot that put the Cards on top 6-5.But Miami scored runs in the eighth and ninth innings to escape with the one-run victory.
“It's definitely frustrating,'' Grichuk said. “To blow a lead like that once is tough, but to do it again, that's even harder to swallow. Tonight was definitely a tough one for us.''With one out in the top of the ninth, the Marlins' Macell Ozuna doubled over the head of Grichuk.“It just tailed away from me,'' he said. “I felt like I had it, had a good bead on it, and it just tailed away from me.''With two outs, the Marlins' Miguel Rojas singled to left to drive in Ozuna with what proved to be the winning run.
Pham singled to lead off the ninth and advanced on a two-out single from Aledmys Diaz. But A.J. Ramos struck out Matt Adams for his 28th save.“Losing in general is hard to deal with,'' Pham said. “But games like this _ all night, we really felt like this was our game _ they're even tougher to accept. We just didn't get it done.''Before Friday's game, Pham talked about “not clicking yet.'' But he also said he felt like it was coming.“I just can't seem to find that multi-hit game traction,'' he said. “But where I'm at, knowing that I really haven't taken off yet, I feel like that's good news for me. I know that if I can cut down on my strikeouts and keep hitting the ball hard, things are going to come around for me.''With three-hit night Friday, Pham is hitting .286 and should continue to see regular time in the outfield.“So far, the results haven't been there, but I knew I was getting close,'' he said. “Tonight was a good start to the second half, but it's long season. I need to try and build off this, to take it day by day and just keep pushing through the second half of the season.''Grichuk, who went two for five with a double and a homer Friday, has now hit safely in all seven games since being recalled from Memphis. In that stretch, he's gone 11 for 27 _ a .407 clip. He has 11 homers and 32 RBIs.The demotion “gave me a chance to get a little bit of a mental break, for sure,'' said Grichuk, who batted .283 with five homers and 15 RBIs in 15 AAA games. “But it also gave me a chance to fix some mechanical things. I feel a lot more comfortable with with my hands and my load and that I've been able to repeat those things and that's led to more success here.''

Joe Lyonsjlyons@post-dispatch.com

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