Cards take opener from Braves; Matheny ejected

News-DemocratMay 16, 2014 

— For one night, at least, the St. Louis Cardinals offense resembled its former self.

The Cardinals banged out 13 hits and got RBIs from Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Matt Adams on Friday in a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves before 43,701.

Craig led the parade with three hits and two runs scored as the Cardinals extended their winning streak to three.

"I think everybody feels good about tonight," said Craig, who jumped his average to .231. "I think we're trying to put the past behind us, learn from what we've done and get better.

"This was kind of what we've done the last few years. We had that relentless approach --hitting line drives, getting base hits and keeping the line moving. We all had a good feeling going. We were all aggressive and swung at a lot of strikes."

It's only the second winning streak of at least three games this season for the Cardinals, who won four in a row April 12-15 against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis (22-20) moved two games over .500 for the first time since April 27.

Molina, Adams, Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong had two hits apiece in support of right-hander Lance Lynn (5-2).

Lynn was shaky through the first two innings, permitting one run on five hits. But he finished strong, allowing one run on two hits over his final five innings. Lynn walked two and struck out three for his first win since April 19.

"I had trouble throwing the ball where I wanted to early on, but other than that, I was good," said Lynn, who needed just six pitches to complete the seventh. "I was ready to keep going, but I threw too many pitches early to do that."

Lynn finished with 110 pitches, 69 for strikes.

Trevor Rosenthal pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.

"We played a clean, solid game today," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "It starts with our pitching. Lance did a great job. The further he went, the better he got."

Matheny and center fielder Peter Bourjos were ejected in the fourth. Bourjos struck out against Ervin Santana to end the inning, but Braves catcher Evan Gattis dropped the ball. Bourjos broke for first, and Gattis made a sweep tag.

Umpire Sean Barber ruled Gattis had applied the tag, but Bourjos disagreed and was quickly ejected as he went to the dugout. It was the first time in Bourjos' career that he has been ejected.

Matheny already was on his way to talk to Barber, and the discussion became heated before Matheny also was tossed.

"I love to see the fire and the fight that Peter showed there," Matheny said. "He was frustrated and knew a couple of pitches didn't get called to what he thought was the strike zone --in big situations. You can't take the emotion out of these guys."

Matheny has seldom been so angry.

"Probably the most frustrating part of it was watching my player get thrown out of the game when he's walking away," Matheny said. "I understand he's going to get his words in. The umpire stopped him. It seemed like he told him that was enough, and Peter stopped and started to go and he was tossed."

The game was tied at 2 in the fifth.

With one out, Carpenter and Wong singled against Santana (4-1), who entered the game with a 1.99 ERA.

Holliday then doubled into to right, scoring Carpenter to make it 3-2. Holliday has reached safely in all 16 home games and leads the team with 24 RBIs.

Craig followed with his third hit of the game, a single to left, to score Wong to make it 4-2. Molina's sacrifice fly to left plated Holliday to make it 5-2.

Wong was 2-for-4 with a stolen base in his first game since being recalled from Class AAA Memphis on Wednesday.

"It's always good to have a nice game," Wong said. "But I'm a confident player no matter what. I knew I put some good swings on the ball tonight. Even if I didn't get any base hits, I still would have went home happy knowing that I did some thing right today."

Santana allowed five runs (earned) on 10 hits in five innings, walking one and striking out three.

The Cardinals trailed 1-0 and 2-1.

Adams' RBI double off the glove of center fielder B.J. Upton scored Craig to make it 1-1 in the second. Santana's wild pitch scored Craig, who had singled, to make it 2-2 in the fourth.

Lynn was struck on the foot by a smash off the bat of Chris Johnson to open the second. Lynn, however, was able to stay in the game.

"I had a scuff on my shoe. I'm going to have to get new shoes next time," a straight-faced Lynn joked.

"But all of a sudden," he said, "everything clicked and I was throwing the ball where I wanted to in the strike zone. When that starts happening, it's fun to pitch."

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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