Jordan Montgomery was open and honest with reporters when asked about his debut with the St. Louis Cardinals and how he had to face his former team less than a week after being traded.
“It’s not exactly what you want to do for your first time being in a new organization,” the former New York Yankees starter said Friday. “But I’m a competitor.”
On Saturday, he showed it.
Montgomery blanked his old teammates for five innings, and Nolan Arenado drove in the lone run as the Cardinals handed the Yankees their season-high fourth straight loss, 1-0.
“It’s hard to pitch against a team you just left. For him to do what he did was pretty special,” St. Louis manager Oliver Marmol said. “He had nine ground balls. Really good job by Jordan.”
Montgomery (4-3), who said after the win that he had a cramp in his hamstring due to dehydration, was taken out after five innings for precautionary reasons. He gave up two hits and a walk with one strikeout, and he added that it will take him a while to get used to the humidity in St. Louis.
“I was pretty nervous, especially with how hot it was,” he said. “The humidity is definitely different from New York. My body started cramping up. I gave the team five innings.”
Arenado was impressed.
“He’s done such a good job. It’s got to be tough,” the star third baseman said of his new teammate in his postgame interview on the field. “He went from a really great team to another really great team.
“The way he came out today, he competed with his ass. It was unbelievable. He did a great job, and that’s why we got him.”
Combined, four Cardinals pitchers held the Yankees to just two hits — singles in the first and third. Only two runners reached second base. Giovanni Gallegos pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 11th save, striking out the final two hitters.
The only run came in the first inning, as Paul Goldschmidt doubled with two outs and scored on a single by Arenado.
Domingo Germano (1-2) took the loss, giving up the run and four hits in five innings.
“Seeing him in red was a little different,” Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge said of Montgomery, against whom Judge singled in the first inning. “It was kind of funky.”
St. Louis has won six straight games — and eight of nine. The Cardinals are 10-2 over their past 12 games at Busch Stadium, including seven straight.
An announced crowd of 48,581 watched the home team win, the largest crowd in Busch Stadium history, including regular-season and postseason games along with the 2009 All-Star Game.
“We played good baseball, and we got rewarded for it,” Montgomery said. “It definitely feels good. This team is playing well. I’m glad I could come in and keep it going.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.