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May 21: Cardinals 3, Royals 0

The day after the Cardinals lost a frustrating game thanks to some defensive lapses, the Birds used strong pitching and slick fielding to shut the Royals out 3-0.

Jake Westbrook made his best start of the year, allowing only four hits and three walks over eight shutout innings. His only real trouble came in the fourth inning when the Cardinals found the bases loaded with Royals and no one out.

Westbrook induced a Lawrence Welk (a one and a two and a three) double play on a grounder back at him to get the first two outs. The next hitter swatted a ball up the middle and Ryan Theriot made his best defensive play of the year, ranging to his left, diving to snag the ball and throwing a dart to Albert Pujols to save two runs.

Matt Holliday provided all the offense the Cardinals needed in the eighth inning with a long, two-run homer into the fountains in left field. Ryan Theriot popped a ball to short right center in the ninth with runners at second a third with one out. Daniel Descalso tagged up and was able to score on an absolutly miserable throw to the plate to give the Birds their final 3-0 advantage.

When Kansas City did manage to get runners on base, the defense snuffed out potetial rallies with a pair of pick-off playes. Catcher Yadier Molina got one from behind the plate (haven't hitters heard about his proficiency in doing this yet?) and Westbrook picked off another.

Allen Craig raised his batting average to .299 as the only St. Louis hitter on Saturday to collect two hits.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Westbrook

Cardinals Play of the Game: Holliday's homer

Lowlight: Colby Rasmus was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and looked lazy in the outfield. He's got two hits in his last 15 at bats and has seen his average drop from well over .300 to .289. But I'm more troubled by his tentativeness in the outfield and than the lousy at bats Rasmus has taken. Usually bookened by a pair of 30-something veterans, you'd expect a young guy to cover a big chuck of turf in the middle. But any time a ball is hit in the gaps, it seems like Holliday or Lance Berkman cover a lot more ground than the guy with the young legs.

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