Was the Cardinals' sudden offensive outburst Monday the result of manager Tony La Russa's lineup tinkering or woeful Seattle pitching?
I don't know and I don't care.
Let's just hope that the Birds find a way to keep things going. After struggling for the last week to put any runs on the board, an uncharacteristic rash of clutch hitting added up to a 9-3 St. Louis victory.
Trying to jump start the bats, La Russa moved Matt Holliday from the cleanup spot he was paid $120 million to occupy to second in the order for the first time in his career. Ryan Ludwick, who has had the hottest Cardinals bat lately, moved back to the fourth spot he held before Holliday's arrival last July. The skipper also moved the pitcher back to the eight spot in the order.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is helped from the field after being struck in the back of the head by a throw during a play at the plate. Pujols appeared to be dazed after the ball hit him just behind the ear, leaving a large welt. But he remained in the game. AP Photo.
The Result: Holliday was 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored, Pujols wasn't retired in five plate appearances. He was 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, two runs scored and an RBI. Ludwick was 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning to give the Birds a 3-2 lead they never surrendered. Wainwright had a double from the eighth spot and nearly hit a home run later in the game. Ryan collected two hits in four chances from the ninth spot.
On the hill, Wainwright got off to a rough start when he gave up a lead-off homer to Ichiro Suzuki followed by an infield hit and a single from Chone Figgins. Figgins took off with the pitch and went first to third on a ground ball to third then scored on a sacrifice fly. After that initial breakthrough, the Mariners were only able to score one more run -- when the game was well in hand. Wainwright pitched seven innings and allowed six hits and a walk while striking out six.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Ludwick.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Ludwick's three-run homer.
Lowlight: Albert Pujols had to be helped off the field after being dazed by a throw to the plate that hit him behind the ear. But he shook it off and remained in the game.