The St. Louis Cardinals have had problems filling up the home runs, runs batted in and runs scored categories on the stat sheet. But one statistic there is no shortage of is times people have predicted that the Redbirds were emerging from their team-wide funk.
So what's one more proclamation?
After all, the Redbirds on Sunday saw a lot of things happen this season that hadn't happened before -- much less in the same game.
- Starting pitcher Shelby Miller managed to make it through seven innings. He pitched efficiently and effectively to make his longest appearance this season by a full inning. In his first game after getting shouted at on the mound by his manager, Miller was unusually focused and aggressive. It paid off with only five hits and one run allowed. Miller walked two and struck out seven to improve to 6-2 on the season with a 2.79 ERA.
- Speedsters Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos played like they're speedsters. The pressure the pair were able to put on the opposition was key to scoring the runs that decided the game. The duo notched four base hits between them via the bunt and the Cardinals scored the tying run in the game when Wong's steal of second caused a wild throw from the Braves catcher into centerfield.
- For the second day in a row the Cardinals' improved defense showed its face in the form of three rally-killing double plays.
- The St. Louis offense has shed its pattern of scoring in one inning and then taking the rest of the game off. They've been able to create multiple rallies, come from behind and add on once they get ahead. The result is that the Cardinals are playing looser and are more naturally aggressive.
Suddenly the Birds have won four games in a row and have started to cut into the big lead spotted to the Milwaukee Brewers. And two wins against a good Atlanta team with a pair of veteran pitchers starting the games aren't cheap victories.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Miller
Cardinals Play of the Game: Yadier Molina killed a Braves rally by leaping up to field a sacrifice bunt attempt before the ball could go foul. He made the throw to third and got the runner trying to advance and then the relay was made to first to turn the double play. Instead of a runner at third with one out in a close game, the Cardinals were able to clear off the bases with two down.
Lowlight: Matt Carpenter continues to slide with an 0-for-3 day that drug his batting average down to .256 for the season.