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Cardianals vs. Pirates, Sept. 29

As a season of disappointment winds down, the Cardinals got a dose of something to look forward to in the future as rookie hurler PJ Walters pitched a gem against the Pirates.

Walters hurled seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk, while he waited for a team of substitutes playing behind him to score some runs. The Birds won their 82nd game of the year by a 4-1 margin and guaranteed a winning season despite their stumbles in 2010.

Allen Craig started the scoring for the Cardinals with a solo homer in the fourth. He was 2-for-4 on the day, adding a double, to raise his season batting average to .243. That's not a number that jumps out at you. But Craig was hitting .053 at the All-Star break. He's hit .421 for the last month to make the back of his baseball card something he can live with.

blog post photo

Cardinals second baseman Aaron Miles turns a double play in the second inning as Pirates outfielder Andrwe McCutchen slides beneath him. AP photo.

Mark Hamilton, a 26-year-old first baseman subbing for Albert Pujols, infielder Tyler Greene and catcher Bryan Anderson also each had two hits on the day as the Cardinals padded their 1-0 lead with runs in the seventh and eighth. And it's a good thing since closer Ryan Franklin gave up two hits and a run in the ninth before closing the door.

Cardinals Star of the Game
: Walters

Cardinals Play of the Game: Craig's homer

: Outfielder Jon Jay was hitless in three at-bats to slip below .300 to .298. That's not a criticism. The kid has played so well that I feel bad for him that he might not be able to hang on to his .300 season. But he's still got a few games to try to get back there.