Kyle McClellan spent a month and half stuck on six wins while he was in the starting rotation. But he's racking them up left and right since he moved back to the bullpen.
Called into action in the fourth inning after Kyle Lohse labored through the first three, McClellan pitched three shutout frames, allowing four hits while striking out three to earn his third straight win and ninth victory for the season.
Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in the top of the first inning. But he was unable to stop the Marlins from scoring three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Lohse was able to put up zeroes in the second and third but exited after allowing seven hits, three walks and throwing 74 pitches.
The Cardinals earned the go-ahead run the hard way in the third. With the bases loaded and one out David Freese was at the plate. He fouled off several pitches to run the count full. But pushed a run across the plate when he was struck in the head with a pitch. The blow forced him from the game and was later found to have given the injury-prone third sacker a mild concussion.
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The ball hit Freese squarly on the front of the helmet. It looked like he narrowly missed being hit in the face. Hopefully he'll be back qucikly. But with the news that Yadier Molina has been suspended for five games that came earlier in the day, the Birds now find themselves without two key parts of the starting line-up.
Skip Schumaker added a two-run double in the third to make the score 6-3 and Albert Pujols -- who missed the cycle by a triple -- was 3-for-4 with a monster solo homer in the fourth.
with a 7-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth manager Tony La Russa summoned Octavio Dotel who simply didn't have it Thursday. He gave up a hit a walk and a hit to load the bases with no one out and had to be relieved by Jason Motte who got a pop up and a strike out. The Marlins ended up scoring a run to cut the leaf to 7-4 but could draw no closer.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Pujols
Cardinals Play of the Game: Lance Berkman's ninth inning running catch over a sliding Jon Jay.
Lowlight: The Freese injury.