Game 34: Cardinals 4, Atlanta 3

Posted by Scott Wuerz on May 6, 2014 

It wasn't pretty. But the Cardinals were able to squeak by with a one-run victory for the second day in a row.

And, pretty or not, that's a winning streak.

The Cardinals have an ugly habit lately of breaking out to significant leads — and then fumbling them away. And it was no different Monday when the Redbirds led 4-0 at the end of the sixth.

Starting pitcher Shelby Miller, who flirted with danger from the start and ran his pitch count up quickly, gave up two runs in the bottom of the sixth before departing with six hits and two walks allowed over five innings of work.

Pat Neshek relieved and was able to work out of the sixth without further damage. But Kevin Siegrist allowed a homer in the seventh to allow Atlanta to pull within one run in the seventh.

Carlos Martinez pitched an uneventful eighth. The Trevor Rosenthal made things interesting by allowing a hit and a walk in the ninth before striking out the final hitter of the game with a perfect fastball on the corner at the knees.

The game marked the return of Peter Bourjos to the starting line-up which had social media types wagging their tongues for reasons I still don't understand.

Bourjos managed to get two hits on the night -- and excuse me single and and opposite field nubber off the end of his bat. During the latter, broadcaster Dan McLaughlin remarked that the hit "wasn't pretty, but it was effective."

In the field Twitter roared with approval when Bourjos made a running catch that several proclaimed wouldn't have been made by the centerfielder's primary competitor for playing time, Jon Jay. While it was a relatively difficult catch, I disagree with the assertion that it wouldn't have been made by the average major league centerfielder. And I am curious why the Bourjos honks didn't mention anything about the play in the first inning in which the centerfielder allowed a ball to get past him, turning a single into a double.

Personally, I don't care who gets the credit. If the Cardinals are winning, I don't care if Bourjos, Jay or Yadier Molina are in centerfield. But I remain very disappointed by Bourjos' play once the season started. Even with two charitable hits factored in, Bourjos is hitting .179 witha .248 on-base percentage and 20 strikeouts in 56 at-bats. He has a reputation for being an excellent defender. But I haven't seen that sort of play in a Cardinals uniform and I remain perplexed about why people are so in love with a player who hasn't produced.

Do the Cardinals not still play in the Show Me State? Let's not hand the guy the Most Valuable Player Award until he at least gets his batting average above .200.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Matt Carpenter was on base three times in five trips to the plate. He drove in two runs and scored another.

Cardinals Play of the Game: Rosenthal's strikeout to end the game, which caused Molina to pump his fist in excitement.

Lowlight: Miller must find a way to be more efficient. He threw 25 pitches in the first inning alone and is personally killing the bullpen with his short starts.

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