Brendan Ryan: 4H, 4AB, 3R, 1RBI, 1HR, 1SB.
No, that's not some sort of mistake. Actually, I'd call it more of a sight for sore eyes.
The Cardinals shortstop, who has struggled mightily all season, finally busted out and sparked St. Louis Thursday to an 8-3 win at San Diego. The win salvaged one game in a series that saw the Cardinals score a total of one run in the first two games.
If I was Jaime Garcia I would be hacked off. He pitched great Wednesday and the Cardinals only run didn't come until he was long gone. But recently called up pitcher P.J. Walters got eight runs of support -- more than Garcia got in his last four starts, combined -- from the Redbirds batsmen. It was more than enough to help Walters land his first major league win. He threw five innings and allowed four hits and no runs.
Brendan Ryan was 4-for-4 Thursday to break out of his season-long slump and raise his batting average to .203. AP photo.
Also joining the Thursday hit parade was Albert Pujols who hit his first homer in nearly a month. I've been concerned that Pujols was injured because of his completely unprecedented power outage. But the mammoth blast off the second level of the Western Metal Supply building down the left field line at Petco Park seems to have put that to rest. (If it didn't, Pujols hit two other balls with the distance to be home runs in the game, but they went just foul.) Pujols RBI from the homer was his first run driven home in 11 days.
Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick and Skip Schumaker also had two hits apiece. Schumaker, who at one point was struggling as much as Ryan, has raised his average to .250.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Ryan.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Skip Schumaker's diving stop of a grounder for the third out of the inning when the Padres had a runner on base and the Birds were clinging to a one-run lead.
Lowlight: Fernando Salas, called up today from Class AAA Memphis, was unable to make his major league debut in the game when the more established St. Louis relievers got shaky and let the tying run come to the plate in the seventh when the Birds entered the frame with a six-run lead. I really don't want to see the rookie make his debut in the not so friendly confines of Wrigley Field over the weekend.