Cheap Seats

July 23: Cardinals 9, Pirates 1

The Cardinals have a chance to make a statement today with a sweep of the Pirates. They came to Pittsburgh in third place behind the upstart Pittsburghers and the Brewers. But with a 9-1 win coupled with a Milwaukee loss to San Francisco, the Birds regained the top spot in the NL Central.

If they're going to play like they did Saturday, I think the Cardinals should wear the St. Louis Stars throwback uniforms they donned in the victory all the time. I don't even care if they wash them.

The Cardinals scored two runs in the second to take a lead -- but things seemed to be stacked against them in the early innings because they hit several line drives that were right at Pirates defenders. But, nursing a 2-1 lead, the Birds came to bat in the fifth and busted things open.

Skip Schumaker, back in the leadoff spot, hit a single to start the frame and Jon Jay followed with a single of his own to make it first and third with no one out. Albert Pujols hit a safety to drive in one run to make the score 3-1 and keep it first and third with none down. Matt Holliday came to the plate and, in a lengthy at bat, eventually struck out. But Lance Berkman picked up the slack and hit a Ruthian homer into the shrub in the hitters backdrop that spells out "Pirates" to make it 6-1. Catcher Yadier Molina, with two outs, hit a solo homer to make the score 7-1.

Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia, who has had his share of problems on the road despite excellent overall numbers, allowed only one run in 7 1/3 innings. He scattered eight hits and walked one while whiffing five. He earned his 10th win on the season and lowered his season ERA to 3.01.

Schumaker, David Freese, Molina and Daniel Descalso each collected two hits in the Birds' 12-hit attack. It seems that Descalso has basically taken away Ryan Theriot's job as the starting shortstop. He's played stellar defense there the last few days and is hitting .389 over the last month including his time at third and second base. Meanwhile Theriot, who has only started one game in the last five, is hitting .190 over the last month and .058 over the last two weeks.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia

Cardinals Play of the Game: Berkman's homer

Lowlight: Nothing to report