As poorly as the St. Louis Cardinals have played during parts of the first quarter of the 2014 season, I still think they're a team that no one would want to play if the post-season started tomorrow.
They proved that Friday night when they lit up the Atlanta Braves and starting pitcher Ervin Santana en route to a 5-2 victory at Busch Stadium.
The Redbirds pounded Santana -- who entered the game with an ERA below 2.00 and an unblemished, 4-0 record -- for five runs on 10 hits over five innings before saddling him with his first loss.
Meanwhile St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, a guy who could be on the bubble for losing his starting rotation job when Jaime Garcia and Joe Kelly return from the disabled list in the coming days, scattered seven hits over seven innings and allowed only two runs to improve to 5-2 with a 3.76 ERA.
Five of the Cardinals' first six hitters in the batting order had at least two hits on the night. Matt Holliday, the guy who only had one, made it count with a key double to put his club ahead in the fifth. Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Yadier Molina and Allen Craig each had two hits. Allen Craig had three.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lynn
Cardinals Play of the Game: Yadier Molina really took the speedy Braves out of their game in the first when, after a lead-off single by Atlanta, he wiped out the potential rally by converting a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play.
Lowlight: The only blemish in the game for St. Louis was the loss of centerfielder Peter Bourjos to an ejection.
Bourjos, who struck out looking earlier in the game, was on his way back to the dugout in the fifth after his second whiff when he suddenly turned and charged back toward the plate umpire. I'm not sure who said what first. But it would seem the umpire must have said SOMETHING to antagonize Bourjos to make him turn around as abruptly as he did.
Skipper Mike Matheny had to be restrained from the plate umpire as he was ejected to. It was nice, though, to see a good argument. All these lame instant replay challenges have taken a lot of the passion out of the game and replaced it with committee meetings.