By HAL McCOY,
The emotions from the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez spilled into Busch Stadium in St. Louis Tuesday night.
St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz grew up on the same street in Santa Clara, Cuba as Fernandez and the two were lifelong close friends.
When Fernandez, the 24-year-old pitching star for the Marlins, died in a boating accident Sunday, Diaz received permission to skip Monday’s game against the Reds to visit the Fernandez family.
HE RETURNED FOR TUESDAY’S game and provided a heart-tugging moment.
In the fourth inning, with the Cardinals trailing by a run, Diaz launched a grand slam home run off Reds starter Robert Stephenson.
The emotional Diaz paused in front of the Cardinals dugout and pointed to the heavens, then ran into the cluhouse, probably to shed some tears.
Diaz’s home run gave the Cardinals a three-run lead and the Cardinals never looked back.
THEY EXTRACTED ABOUT FIVE pounds of flesh from the Reds after the Reds beat them Monday night, 15-2.
The home run gates opened after the Diaz home run. They hit five and their first 11 runs came via home runs en route to a 12-5 victory.
The Reds have now given up five or more home runs in a game five times this season, a major league record.
The first home run was hit by Matt Carpenter off Stephenson with two outs in the third, cutting the Reds lead from 2-0 to 2-1.
Then Diaz unloaded his grand slam for the 5-2 Cardinals lead.
AFTER THE DIAZ HOME RUN, Jhonny Peralta hit a three-run homer in the fifth. Matt Adams hit a two-run pinch-hit home run in the sixth, the 16th pinch-hit home run by the Cardinals this year. The Reds have none.
Randal Grichuk also homered in the sixth as the Cardinals scored four runs off relief pitcher Keyvius Sampson in the sixth.
JOEY VOTTO GAVE THE REDS a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Adam Wainwright, following Eugenio Suarez’s single with a full count double.
The Reds put two on with no outs in the second and didn’t score. They loaded the bases with no outs in the third and got only one run, a sacrifice fly by Brandon Phillips to make it 2-0.
After Diaz’s grand slam made it 5-2, Votto led the fifth with his 28th home run, cutting the St. Louis lead to 5-3.
Stephenson walked two in the fifth and paid dearly with Peralta drilled a two-out three-run homer to make it 8-3.
The Reds tried to keep pace, scoring two in the sixth on a two-run home run by Scott Schebler and it was 8-5.
BUT THE FOUR-RUN SIXTH by the Cardinals against Sampson put it away.
With five home runs the Cardinals continue to lead the National League in home runs with 218.
The Reds? They’ve given up a major league record 251.
Stephenson, 2-and-0 in two April starts, has lost three decisions in September after giving up five runs, five hits (two homers) and one walk.
The Reds nearly matched the Cardinals 13-hit attack with 12 of their own, three by Votto (double, home run, singe), three by Eugenio Suarez, two by Schebler and two by Tucker Barnhart.
The night, though, belonged to Ademys Diaz.