I really hate when people say "Now, that's what I'm talking about" because they rarely were talking about that something before it happened. But, since I am on record as saying that the Birds needed to make a statement against Cincinnati after Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips badmouthed them by either winning -- or better yet, sweeping -- their series, I'm busting one out.
The Cardinals' beatdown of Cincinnati was EXACTLY what I was talking about... Not to mention hoping and praying for.
It was exquisite to see the Redbirds pound Cincinnati three straight -- by a combined score of 21-8 -- to regain sole possession of first place in the National League Central while showing the upstart Reds who's the boss. The Cardinals have now won 10 of their 15 meetings with the Cincinnati, guaranteeing they will win the season series. Meanwhile, Reds players must be scratching their heads after coming into the three-game set with a chance to send the Birds five games out of first place only to find themselves looking up at St. Louis in the standings. How sweet it is.
Cardinals centerfielder Colby Rasmus, left, is congratulated by Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay after hitting a grand slam in the fifth inning Wednesday against the Reds. AP photo.
Adam Wainwright was brilliant in seven innings before the rains came and delayed the game. He allowed two hits and no runs in the Reds' bandbox of a ballpark. Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo has had the Cardinals' number in the past. But it only took one bad inning to beat him Wednesday.
In the top of the fifth Jon Jay hit a two-out double which caused the Reds to intentionally walk Albert Pujols. Matt Holliday then drew a walk to load the bases and Colby Rasmus, with a full count, drove an Arroyo pitch into the centerfield hitting backdrop to supply St. Louis with all the runs it would need.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Wainwright improved to 17-6 for the season and lowered his ERA to 1.99 for the year. He is making a very strong case for the Cy Young Award.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Rasmus' grand slam
Lowlight: The rain delay that knocked Wainwright out of the game and the mysterious disappearance of Matt Holliday after play resumed. I'm not sure if he was injured or stiffened up. But I'm pretty sure his replacement by Allen Craig wasn't for strategic purposes. And I doubt there's much benefit in getting two innings of rest.