With a bunch of help from a long lost bat the Cardinals on Wednesday played like their capable of playing and handily beat Pittsburgh 7-2.
Allen Craig, who missed a big chunk of the season with a cracked knee cap, finally heated back up to his pre-injury production levels with four hits in five at bats including a pair of homers.
The first four Cardinals batters in the game reached base. Rafael Furcal singled, Craig homered to make the score 2-0 and Albert Pujols singled in front of a Matt Holliday walk. Unfortunately, David Freese spoiled the fun by adding to the Redbirds' record pace of hitting into double plays.
But Yadier Molina singled home Pujols to make it 3-0 and Ryan Theriot singled to center to make it two on and two out for Jon Jay. The Cardinals outfielder smoked a ball that might have put the game out of reach early. But Ronnie Cedeno snagged it to end the inning.
Kyle Lohse loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. But he wiggled off the hook and the Cardinals held on to a 3-0 advantage into the fifth when Lohse surrendered a two-run homer.
The Birds then impressively took the initiative and piled on single runs in the sixth and seventh innings and a pair in the eighth to pull away and salvage one game of three in Pittsburgh.
After his shaky start, Lohse settled down and pitched a total of seven innings with two runs allowed on five hits and a walk. He struck out seven.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Craig
Cardinals Play of the Game: Craig's first inning homer
Lowlight: Milwaukee also won Wednesday night to prevent the Birds from gaining any ground.