Fowler, Wong, Mikolas lead Cards to 14-2 rout of White Sox
By MATT CARLSON, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Dexter Fowler broke out of his funk in grand style.
The slumping outfielder hit his fourth career grand slam, All-Star Miles Mikolas tossed six innings of three-hit ball and the St. Louis Cardinals routed the Chicago White Sox 14-2 on Tuesday night.
Kolten Wong had four hits, including a two-run homer and a double, as every St. Louis starter except catcher Yadier Molina got at least one hit. Jose Martinez had three hits and two RBIs.
“(Fowler) has been working to get that feel, so that’s something to build on,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Just some big days all around. A big day for Kolten, getting four hits and the ball jumping for him, too.”
Fowler lofted his sixth homer this season, but first since May 6, to cap the Cardinals’ seven-run sixth. He finished with two hits and played right field in only his second start since June 27.
Fowler entered batting just .167 — and .111 in his previous 20 games.
“It’s awesome, especially when you’ve been scuffling at the plate trying to get timing and stuff,” he said. “You get a pitch and you barrel it up, it feels good.”
Wong is batting only .221 this season, but has 10 hits in his last 18 at-bats. He said the surge is a result of working on swing mechanics with hitting coach John Mabry.
“I’m not really worried about my swing,” Wong said. “I’m just really focused on seeing the ball, hitting the ball right now.”
Mikolas (10-3), selected to his first All-Star team Sunday, faced only three hitters in five of his six innings. The right-hander allowed two runs and struck out six.
Charlie Tilson drove in two runs for the White Sox in the third, one of only two innings in which Chicago had baserunners against Mikolas.
White Sox starter Dylan Covey (3-5) lasted five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks. The right-hander lost his fourth straight decision and has an 11.70 ERA in his last five starts.
Mikolas came out dealing, fanning five of the first six White Sox hitters. Covey started strong, too, retiring eight of the first nine Cardinals batters and striking out four.
Then with two outs in the third, four consecutive line-drive singles gave St. Louis a 2-0 lead.
“I felt good early on,” Covey said. “I think the ball started creeping up in the zone as I went. Groundballs turn into base hits. (St. Louis) strung a few together. (I) struggled to get it back down.”
The White Sox tied it 2-all in the bottom half. Tilson’s single, the third straight hit off Mikolas to start the inning, drove in both runs.
The Cardinals moved back ahead 3-2 in the fourth when Jedd Gyorko scored from third on a forceout. St. Louis made it 4-2 in the fifth on Molina’s sacrifice fly.
Then the Cardinals broke it open in the sixth with seven runs on three hits and four walks.
Omar Narvaez’s passed ball and a wild pitch by reliever Bruce Rondon allowed two runs to score. Rondon issued three straight walks to force in another run before Fowler went deep to left-center off Hector Santiago.
Wong’s two-run shot off Santiago in the eighth made it 13-2. Martinez doubled home a run in the ninth.
Fowler’s slam was his first since last August versus Kansas City. It also was the switch-hitter’s first from the right side. Fowler connected for his first grand slam with Colorado in September 2012 off Mikolas, who then pitched for San Diego.
Cardinals: CF Tommy Pham (bruised left ankle) was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Yairo Munoz. Pham fouled a ball off his foot on Sunday in San Francisco. … Molina returned after sitting out two games with a sore shoulder. He also was added to the NL All-Star roster as a replacement for Giants catcher Buster Posey, who will miss the game because of a nagging hip injury that requires an injection. … RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) rejoined the team from a rehab stint at Triple-A Memphis, but had not yet been activated from the disabled list.
White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain. Garcia, an All-Star in 2017, missed two months earlier this season with a more serious strain to the same muscle, but in a different location. GM Rick Hahn hopes Garcia will return after the All-Star break. The White Sox added outfielder Ryan LaMarre to take Garcia’s place.
Cardinals RHP Luke Weaver (5-7, 4.92 ERA) faces LHP Carlos Rodon (1-3, 4.29) on Wednesday in the finale of the two-game set. Weaver pitched two-hit ball over a career-high eight innings last Thursday in San Francisco and carried a perfect game into the sixth.
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