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.
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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.