You know what they say. If you can't join him, beat him...
At least that seemed to be the attitude of the Cardinals as they pounded Cubs trading block resident Ryan Dempster for three first inning runs en route to a 4-1 Friday night victory.
Dempster hadn't given up a run in 33 innings which, dated back to May because of his stay on the disabled list in between. Couple that with the Redbirds' offensive woes of late, and it didn't seem like the a good match-up for St. Louis.
But manager Mike Matheny shuffled the line-up to place Skip Schumaker in the lead-off spot with usual first hitter Rafael Furcal -- who has suffered terribly at the hands of Dempster throughout his career -- hitting eighth instead. Carlos Beltran shifted to centerfield -- where he has been looking increasingly more comfortable lately -- to make room for Allen Craig in right field while Lance Berkman manned first base.
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The changes paid off in the first when Craig, batting second, started an offensive merry go round in the first. Craig, Holliday, Beltran and Yadier Molina hit four straight singles to plate a run. Then Berkman grounded out to force home another and make the game 3-0 after one frame.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse took it from there, allowing only one run on a sacrifice fly. He gave up six hits and walked one while striking out four to improve his record to 10-2 for the season with a 2.71 ERA.
The only other run of the game came on Holliday's third inning home run that flew a Busch Stadium III record 469 feet over the left field bleachers.
The Cardinals narrowly missed scoring more, however. While Beltran's box score line reads that he was 1-for-4, he hit two smoking line drive right at outfielders. And Berkman, who has struggled since a two-month-long stay on the disabled list, hit his best ball since he came back. He lined a shot into the right field corner that would have scored the runner from first base -- had that runner not been the slow-footed Molina.
Cardinals Star of the Game -- Lohse
Cardinals Play of the Game -- Holliday's record setting homer
Lowlight -- That the Birds didn't beat the Wee Bears by even more