When experienced players were unable to get the job done the St. Louis Cardinals were forced to turn to a rookie making only his fifth major league start.
Fortunately the kid came through and helped the Redbirds hold their pursuers at bay for another day.
Marco Gonzales allowed only one run on four hits and four walks while he struck out nine Colorado Rockies to win 4-1. The victory helped St. Louis stay 3 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates and five games ahead of the Brewers who come to town for a three-game set Tuesday.
Gonzalez gave up a walk and then allowed a run on a double in the second inning to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. After that he shut the Rockies down cold while Matt Holliday drove in one run for St. Louis and Jhonny Peralta put up two more with his 21st homer.
Catcher Yadier Molina had three hits. Daniel Descalso, making another appearance at first base to give Matt Adams and his strained oblique some rest, collected two hits. Holliday and Oscar Taveras also had a pair of hits apiece.
The 3-1 lead would last until the bottom of the eighth when the Cardinals managed to tally an insurance run. Five Cardinals relievers combined to shut out the Rockies after Gonzales departed including Trevor Rosenthal who struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to put away the victory.
While the Cardinals seem to be intent on flirting with disaster, the bright side is that the team has the depth to find capable fill ins when the front line players go down. That's a quality that could be key in helping them make it to and succeed in the post season.