Lance Lynn turned anger into productivity Friday night.
Lynn was drilled on the right shin by Rymer Liriano's second-inning single, then used the emotion to turn back San Diego 4-2 as the St. Louis Cardinals won their third in a row before 42,662.
"That (ticked) me right off is what it did, in all honesty," Lynn said of Liriano's shot that wound up in center field. "He's a guy I've never seen before. I wasn't expecting him to swing and he hit the ball off my shin, and I don't like it."
Lynn (13-8), however, kept his cool, unlike past seasons when Liriano's hit could have taken Lynn out of his game plan.
"There's a fine line between being productively emotional and being unproductively emotional," Lynn said. "I feel like I've found that line and have stayed on the right side of it."
Lynn earned his second straight victory and lowered his ERA to 2.91, which ranks among the top 10 in the National League. Lynn lasted six innings, giving just one run (earned) on six hits, walking one and striking out six.
"Lance was great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Just another good night of using his fastball --mixing in the two-seam, four-seam. We saw some good breaking balls, too. He's got a real nice feel for all of his pitches right now."
The Cardinals spread it out on offense, as Matt Adams, Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras collected RBIs. Taveras had a pinch-hit single in the eighth against Blaine Boyer, driving in a big run considering Pat Neshek struggled a bit in the ninth.
Neshek, in a save situation because Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable after a 24-pitch outing Thursday, recorded the first two outs before pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal homered to right-center to trim the Cardinals' lead to 4-2.
Chris Nelson then doubled, bringing Will Venable to the plate representing the tying run. But Neshek struck out Venable to secure his fourth save.
"That was definitely shocking," second baseman Wong said of seeing Neshek give up his third home run in 51 1/3 innings. "He's been dominant this entire year. Then again, he's still human and he's going to make a few mistakes here and there."
Wong's two-out single in the fourth gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead against Tyson Ross (11-11). Twenty-seven of Wong's 33 RBIs have come with two outs.
"For some reason, I decide to bear down a lot more with two outs than I do any other time, which is kind of stupid on my part," Wong said. "But I think when you get to two outs and you have people in scoring position, you feel that sense of pressure to bear down a lot more."
The Cardinals capitalized on Ross' shaky command to pull out to a 2-0 lead in the opening inning.
Ross jammed the bases with walks to the first three hitters: Matt Carpenter, Wong and Matt Holliday. Adams then singled to center to make it 1-0, and Peralta drove in the second run with a fielder's choice.
Jon Jay was hit by a pitch from Ross to lead off the fourth; Jay also was struck by a pitch in the fifth. Shane Robinson and Lynn followed with grounders to second as Jay reached third. Carpenter walked again, setting up Wong's RBI single to left.
San Diego shaved the gap to 3-1 in the fifth but failed to add more when opportunity continued to knock.
With one out, Jace Peterson singled and went to third when Ross singled past drawn-in third baseman Carpenter.
Venable then visited the gap in right-center, driving in Peterson with a double and sending Ross to third. Tommy Medica, however, whiffed for the third consecutive time and Seth Smith popped out to second. Medica finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
St. Louis couldn't capitalize on a fifth-inning chance.
With runners at first and second and two outs, Robinson's smash was headed for the left-field corner. But third baseman Peterson lunged to his right to make the stop, then straightened and threw out the disbelieving Robinson at first.
Ross, like Lynn, lasted six innings. He yielded three runs (earned) on five hits, walked four and struck out two.
"This guy's having a nice year," Matheny said. "We could see we better make something happen early because once he does find his release point, once he finds his rhythm, he's got a slider that's difficult to pick up and lay off, and he's got an above-average fastball. Fortunately, we were able to get a little bit early."