I'm not big on moral victories. After all, looking for a way to claim you actually won when you lost seems like a pretty loserish thing to do.
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Or should I say it's a Cubbish thing to do?
But, although the matchup between the Cardinals and Reds didn't have the significance it once seemed like it would, I'm still glad the Birds were able to take two of three from Cincinnati. First, a few signs of life over the weekend give at least a little bit of hope that the Redbirds can somehow win the wild card and get hot in the playoffs. But, more importantly, I hate a bully. And the never won anything, loudmouth Reds needed a good sock in the nose to let them know they aren't as good as they think they are.
Let's get this straight: Cincinnati hasn't beaten the Cardinals. The Cardinals took care of that themselves with a fractured clubhouse, shoddy defense and indifferent play from some of the guys the team thought it could count on. Before you pat yourself on the back for dethroning St. Louis as the team to beat in the National League Central, Redlegs, explain how the Cardinals beat you 12 times in 18 tries...
Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday hits a three-run homer in the sixth inning Sunday against the Reds. AP photo.
I'm also glad to see the team get a clutch hit to give a very deserving Chris Carpenter a win. Carp has pitched his behind off this year and ought to be more central to the Cy Young Award consideration. But he's been hurt by poor offense and defense, robbing him of valuable wins.
Carp hurled 7 1/3 excellent innings Sunday, allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and a whopping 11 strikeouts. It looked for a while like he was going to lose 2-0 or 2-1, but the batsmen rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning like we thought it would all year long. Jon Jay doubled with two outs and Albert Pujols was intentionally walked to bring Matt Holliday and his $17 million a year contract to backstop Pujols to the plate. And Holliday paid off with a majestic three-run homer.
The bullpen nailed down a 4-2 win and the Cardinals gained some ground in both the central and wild card races.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter
Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's homer
Lowlight: Colby Rasmus' unwanted pregame distraction about asking to be traded because the big, bad manager is a real meanie. He went 2-for-3 on the day after the hub bub. So maybe he at least increased his trade value...