SEATTLE -- With the Mariners threatening to sweep, the Cardinals capped their visit to Seattle by clobbering a franchise-record 13 extra-base hits to turn a game that was tied through six innings into an 11-6 victory on Sunday.
Not since 1940 had this team tallied 13 extra-base hits in game. It happened three times previous to that, as well. The total also matched the Safeco Field record, set by the Indians in 2004. All 11 of the Cardinals' runs were directly linked to one of those extra-base knocks.
"I think you're seeing what we always thought we had in this group," said Matt Carpenter, who tripled, homered twice, and is now hitting .400 over his last 18 games. "It's as good of an offense as I've ever played with here in St. Louis."
The six home runs hit on Sunday matched the team's single-game high for the season and fell one short of that franchise record of seven, set in 1913 and again in 1996. With the barrage of blasts -- all solo shots in the sixth inning or later -- the Cardinals also nudged their home run total through 73 games to 101. That's just four fewer homers than the club hit in all of 2014. Last year, the team finished with 137.
At this pace, the Cardinals, who already feature four players with at least 10 home runs, would finish the season with 224. That would rank second in franchise history.
"I see the pieces and then say, 'Well, why wouldn't you be able to?'" said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who had been insistent all winter long that this team would hit for more power. "Once again, if you have a bunch of guys who have hit two and three [home runs] throughout their whole career in the minors, I think you're probably just being overly optimistic. But I think this is more realistic because it's guys who have done it."
Before the deluge of home runs started on Sunday, the Cardinals used five doubles and a triple to take a 5-3 lead against Seattle's James Paxton. Four of those doubles came consecutively in a four-run fifth that pulled the Cardinals out of a two-run hole.
The homers started an inning later, with Carpenter hitting the first. Back-to-back blasts by Jedd Gyorko and Tommy Pham in the seventh pushed the club back in front after Kevin Siegrist served up a game-tying blast. Pham also finished with a multi-homer game, the second of his career.
"On this team, it seems like they come in bunches," said Pham, who entered the day 2-for-12 this year. "I'm glad to be a part of it. To finally be able to have a couple good at-bats today in comparison to what I have been doing, it feels good."
Pham and Carpenter became the first Cardinals teammates since Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols in 2011 to hit multiple homers in the same game.
The offensive explosion helped the Cardinals finally coast to a win after having seven of their last eight games decided by one run.
"This was a story about the offense," Matheny said. "We were hoping we would see it, and happy we did. When you have a relentless offense, it's a great trait to have. Just knowing that you have that in your bag, I think, just changes the whole dynamic of our club."