ST. LOUIS (AP) – Pain Smith hit his first career grand slam, leading the Arizona Diamondback to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
While he was in the on-deck circle, Smith admitted the thought of hitting a grand slam entered his mind.
“I was on-deck and I was thinking I've never hit a grand slam yet,” Smith said. “That would be pretty cool. I was thinking grand slams are cool. So that went through my mind before but not during my at-bat."
Ketel Marte also homered and drove in another run with a single for the Diamondbacks.
Merrill Kelly (1-2) pitched six innings, allowing five hits and a run. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Kelly improved to 3-1 in five career starts against the Cardinals. Andrew Chafin earned his third save after facing three batters in the ninth.
Jack Flaherty (1-2) was lifted in the seventh after facing three batters. He gave up four hits. He walked three and struck out four.
“I thought I pitched well,” Flaherty said. “For me, all I can do is continue to make pitches until it's my time to come out of the game.”
Flaherty had not faced the Diamondbacks since 2019.
“He had really good stuff,” Arizona manger Torey Lovullo said about Flaherty. "We battled and we were able to win the game.
Marte led off the seventh with his second homer of the season to give the lead back to Arizona after St. Louis had tied the game in the sixth.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled and Christian Walker drew a walk to chase Flaherty. Andre Pallante entered and promptly walked Corbin Carroll on four pitches to load the bases.
“I was hoping Corbin walked,” Smith said. “I wanted the runner on third with less than two outs. I treated it as a normal AB.”
Pallante was not pleased.
“You're supposed to come in and face the first batter head on,” Pallante said. “Walking him on four pitches was unacceptable.”
Smith ripped a 2-2 curveball 414 feet into the right field bleachers for his first homer of the season.
“I wanted that pitch to be a chase because I had a ball to work with,” Pallante said. “Commanding your curveball is not just throwing it for strikes.”
Smith was not expecting a breaking ball.
"After I had fouled off the curveball, I honestly thought he was going to go back to the heater," Smith said. “I recognized it was a curveball. I stepped back and put a good swing on it. It was pretty cool. I thought it was gone but then something in my brain said maybe not. I was halfway to first and gave it a little run and then I saw it was gone.”
Smith, who had nine homers in 75 games in 2022, began the season at Triple-A Reno and was recalled on April 8.
“That was quality contact for someone looking for a fastball,” Lovullo said. “Pavin can hit. He can checkoff one pitch and hit another. That's hard to do at the big league level.”
St. Louis got two runs back when Alec Burleson hit a two-out, two-run homer in the eighth off José Ruiz. Burleson has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games since April 2.
“Anytime you try and set up things for the remaining games and make a statement,” Lovullo said. “It's a nice feeling. This is a good ballclub. It's a tough venue to win in. We're young and we played a good baseball game. I want these guys to enjoy it. We fought.”
After starting the first 16 games this season, 2022 National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt was not in the starting lineup Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, his former team. Goldschmidt is hitting .322 with one home run with eight runs driven in. Only one Cardinal — Nolan Arenado — has started every game.
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (groin) will make a rehab start Wednesday afternoon for the Double-A Springfield Redbirds. The 41-year-old right-handed pitcher is in his 18th and final season with the franchise. He has 195 wins. He went 11-12 last season with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts. … RHP Wilking Rodríguez threw a bullpen before the game and likely will make a rehab start Thursday for Triple-A Memphis.