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Cardinals vs. Orioles, March 24

The Cardinals fielded the closest thing yet so far this spring to their opening day lineup and won a crisply played game against the Orioles.

The bad news is that one of those starter, catcher Yadi Molina injured himself while running the bases and left the game with what was later described as an oblique strain. That's a concern because it's the sort of injury that could easily put his availability for the start of the season in jeopardy.

Rich Hill started the game for St. Louis and was decent but laborious. He had a hard time finding the strike zone and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez certainly wasn't going to give him the benefit of the doubt. He walked three and gave up four hits in three inning pitched before giving way to Kyle McClellan, his main competition for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation.

McClellan also hurled three frames, allowing two hits no walks and no runs before Blake Hawksworth, Jason Motte and Ryan Franklin finished the game off with an uneventful inning each.

Hill gave up a pair of runs, but only deserved to give up one of them. The second base umpire got in the way of a tailor made double play ball in the first that allowed the O's their second and final run in a 4-2 St. Louis win.

David Freese was the star of the show for the offense with three hits in four at bats. He drove in three with Felipe Lopez knocking in the other Cardinals tally.

After Molina left the game, Jason LaRue filled in and went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a run scored. Both Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday played in the same game for the second time this spring. They were each 0-for-3.