Cardinals' offseason acquisition burns ex-club in twin bill
By Nick Krueger
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals third baseman Jedd Gyorko looked tired Wednesday night. The heat or humidity seemed like it had taken its toll during a doubleheader, and he had to face the media for the third time in the past two days.
He didn't seem to mind, because he knew the reason for the extra attention. Gyorko was responsible for all three Cardinals' runs Wednesday night with two homers in a 3-2 win, carrying St. Louis to a twin-bill sweep. It was his latest impressive performance against the Padres since a trade last offseason sent him from San Diego to St. Louis for center fielder Jon Jay.
The two games Wednesday brought his numbers against the Friars to 13-for-21 (.619) with six home runs and 10 RBIs. That's more than half of his 11 home runs this season and just over one-third of his 27 RBIs.
"I've had good series against the Cardinals, the same way," Gyorko said. "I've swung the bat well against them. You just get locked in against certain teams and you start building confidence. You understand what you're trying to do, and hopefully you get yourself in good hitters' counts so you should get good pitches to hit."
Gyorko spoils the narrative most want to impose on him. He insists he holds no grudges or ill will against his former team. Nobody is talking any trash on the basepaths either, and he wanted to catch up with many former teammates over the past three days. He even gave Padres third-base coach Glenn Hoffman a hug when he ran out in the first inning on Wednesday.
"I like those guys a lot," Gyorko said. "A lot of great friendships that have been created over the past few years. I enjoy seeing those guys."
Although he had never faced either of the Padres' starting pitchers Wednesday, he apparently enjoyed seeing their pitches. His home runs pushed the Cardinals' home run streak to 11 games, the longest stretch since 2009 when they homered in 19 straight. He became the first Cardinals player since Mark McGwire in 1999 to homer in each game of a doubleheader.
"I think we just have guys that are capable of hitting homers," Gyorko said. "It's a good lineup, up and down. You're seeing some of the younger guys really develop into the players they can definitely be. I'm not surprised at all the power, because the power potential has been there."
Gyorko's contributions have also come in the field. He was given more of a utility role to start the year with Aledmys Diaz winning the starting job at shortstop, but has been thrust into a larger spotlight with infielders Jhonny Peralta and Matt Carpenter on the DL.
Since Carpenter's injury July 7, Gyorko has started at first, second and third base and is 10-for-23 with four home runs and seven RBIs in his absence.
"It's a couple good games," Gyorko said. "Hopefully you just keep it going and try and stay locked in as long as you can."
Nick Krueger is a reporter at MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.