The St. Louis Cardinals put seven runs on the board Wednesday night to take the rubber game of their series against the Atlanta Braves.
While we have had false hope previously that the offense was pulling out of its springtime slumber, this outburst leaves me a little bit more optimistic. Why? Because the Redbirds' successes were seemed to lean more toward being skill-related that just lucky.
Outfielder Peter Bourjos, for example, collected a pair of hits in the series opener Monday. One was an "excuse me" single and the other was a nubber off the end of the bat the simply seemed to find a hole. On Wednesday Bourjos pounced on a pitch and drove it over the wall for a home run in the second. He had a clean single in the fourth and in the fifth Bourjos came up in an RBI situation and was able to come through with a line drive hit. He was 3-for-5 on the night and, with his nice night Monday, he's gone from hitting .156 to .217.
Matt Carpenter who, unlike several of his teammates has managed to keep his head above water, hadn't been able to break out. But he pounded the ball Wednesday for three hits including a double to push his average up to .288 for the season. He a also worked a walk. It's important to this club to have Carpenter set the table. As we have seen, Yadier Molina and Matt Adams could hit .325 in the middle of the order, but if there is no one on base, no one scores.
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Matt Holliday has started a little bit slow. While he hasn't suffered through the intense slump others on this team have so far this season, Holliday has hovered around the .250 mark. But three hits with three RBIs Wednesday the St. Louis left fielder has pushed his average up to .288.
Players can say as much as they want that they don't care about individual statistics. But anyone can see that players whose averages sink down near or below .200 start to press. And when guys get hot and push over the .300 mark, for short stretches they can become nearly impossible to retire.
Adam Wainwright, who was terrible in his previous start against the Chicago Cubs, got back to his typical dominant form against his hometown team Wednesday night. He pitched eight innings and came out, over his objections, after allowing only one run on six hits and a walk. He struck out six hitters en route to improving to 6-2 with a 2.02 ERA.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainwright
Cardinals Play of the Game: With two outs in the fourth, Holliday hit a two-out, two-run single to break the game open and put the Redbirds ahead comfortably by a 5-1 score.
Lowlight: While some of his teammates are getting stronger, Molina has cooled off. He was 0-for-4 Wednesday and seems to be dragging a bit.