Besides a sloppy sixth inning in which he allowed a pair of two-out singles and then a blast over the centerfield boards by Adam Dunn, Jake Westbrook was surprisingly effective Thursday night in a win over the White Sox.
Westbrook recorded 12 ground outs and two fly outs in his six innings of work. Besides the sixth-inning, two-out rally, he allowed only two hits and no runs. He walked no one and struck out one hitter.
Allen Craig and David Freese led the Cardinals offense. Craig collected three hits and scored three times. Freese drove home Craig with a double in the second and a homer in the third. With a 3-0 lead in the fifth Craig and Daniel Decalso scored when rookie first baseman Matt Adams singled them home to make the score 5-0.
It seemed like the game was well in hand until Wesbrook's rough sixth. Eduardo Sanchez came in to relieve in the seventh and quickly recorded two outs. But he got himself into trouble with a walk and a wild pitch and had to be rescued by Victor Marte. Mitchell Boggs pitched the eighth and Motte handled the ninth without incident.
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The win allowed the Cardinals to keep pace three games behind the Reds who beat Cleveland handily. The Birds are three games back as they wait for their seven major leaguers on the disabled list to get healthy.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Craig
Cardinals Play of the Game: Freese's two-out, two-run homer
Lowlight: Although Rafeal Furcal finally recorded a hit after 22 at bats without any luck, Matt Holliday continues to struggle since coming back from his back injury with an 0-for-4 night.