Could this finally be the change in fortunes that the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans have been seeking.
The Redbirds, who have seemed on the verge of breaking out of their early season blahs several times lately -- only to fall back with another frustrating loss -- pulled off a major victory Monday over the Cubs.
The Cardinals didn’t produce much offense during the game, totaling only five hits. But their deep bench paid off with a pinch home run from Matt Adams in the seventh inning that tied the game and spoiled the night of former St. Louis pitcher John Lackey.
Matt Carpenter caught a hump-backed line drive with runners on the corners and one out then tapped third base to end the Cubs chance to retake the lead.
Then in the bottom of the ninth, struggling slugger Randal Grichuk hit a two-out, two-strike homer into the right centerfield bullpen to give St. Louis a 4-3 win.
Sure, it was a nail biter and the offense was missing in action for most of the night. But the Cardinals never gave up on the game and found a way to pull a win from the fire.
And that’s a big deal because the division-leading Wee Bears have cooled off lately, losing six of their last 10 games. The Birds have a chance to make up some ground lost earlier in the season.
Just 10 days ago, the Cardinals were nine games back of Chicago. After the Tuesday night win, the Cardinals pulled within six games and have a chance to cut the deficit to four with a potential sweep.
Reasons to be optimistic that THIS is the real turn around:
▪ After a terrible start to the season that had some questioning not only if the starting centerfielder job should be taken away from Grichuk but if he should be demoted to the minor leagues, the young outfielder is showing signs of life.
He’s hitting .306 over the last 14 days with three doubles and a homer as well as a .375 on-base percentage.
▪ Starter Adam Wainwright was decent Monday and seems to be getting stronger. He would have been better had the defense been a little bit stronger.
Over his last two starts, Wainwright has a .255 batting average against. I’d like to see better. But at least he’s trending in the right direction from a season batting average against of .306.
▪ Jhonny Peralta is on a rehab assignment and seems days away from a return that would boost the St. Louis offense and steady the infield defense in one way or another.