A lot of people have been fretting about the fact that Lance Lynn isn't Chris Carpenter.
But the way the Cardinals sophomore pitched Sunday against Milwaukee sure made it tough to tell the difference.
Lynn hurled 6 2/3 innings and allowed only one run on three hits and a walk. He struck out eight Milwaukee batters and, basically, helped the Redbirds steal the rubber game of their set with the Brewers despite being backed by what looked like a Tony La Russa Sunday line-up that featured Matt Carpenter in place of Lance Berkman at first base, Shane Robinson instead of Jon Jay in center field and Tony Cruz instead of Yadi Molina behind the dish.
The Cardinals got off to an early lead when Rafael Furcal singled off the second base bag to lead off the game and Matt Holliday crushed a double into the right center gap beyond the reach of Milwaukee fly chaser Nyjer Morgan.
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Holliday alertly took third base on the throw to the plate and the Birds were set for a big inning when Milwaukee decided to play the infield in with no one out in the first inning. But the strategy paid off and the Brewers held the game at one run until the fourth when Shane Robinson singled with two outs and then Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf got cute with Lynn and allowed him to reach on a bloop single. Furcal got a two-out hit to drive in the second run. But, still, the Cardinals could not pull away.
The Redbirds added another run in the fifth. But it was matched by a Corey Hart solo shot in the bottom half of the frame. That was Lynn's only mistake of the day.
The offense finally put a crooked number on the scoreboard in the seventh inning when Holliday singled and Carlos Beltran hit a two-run homer to make the score 5-1. In the eighth Tyler Greene collected a two out RBI hit to make it 6-1 and then the Birds got two on with two out in the ninth against John Axford who was relieved just before Shane Robinson hit his first major league homer -- a three-run job to make the score the eventual 9-2 final.
Furcal, Beltran and Robinson each collected three hits while Holliday chipped in a pair.
Cardinals Star of the Game: It could easily go to any of the three guys mentioned in the previous sentence. But it's difficult to look past Lance Lynn who got his first major league win as a starter with Carpenterian performance.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Beltran's put the game out of reach homer.
Lowlight: David Freese was 1-for-5 on the day with three strikeouts. Fortunately, the Cardinals didn't need his bat in this one.