The Cardinals, offensively challenged of late, traded zeros on the scoreboard with the Cubs for 6 1/2 innings Saturday night.
Then, in the bottom of the seventh, they suddenly located all those runs they've been missing out on since the All-Star Game and put them on the board in one inning.
The Birds plated 12 runs in the inning on nine hits including two singles, six doubles and a triple. They also collected three walks and had a runner reach after he struck out on a wild pitch.
David Freese, who led St. Louis batsmen with three hits, singled to lead off the onslaught and it looked like yet another Cardinals offensive misfire when Jon Jay tried to bunt Freese to second but popped the ball up to third base. Desperate for some offense, manager Mike Matheny pulled starter Jake Westbrook for pinch hitter Allen Craig and Craig doubled to left field to make it runners at second and third with one away.
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Rafael Furcal singled right to Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, allowing only one run to score. With one out and runners at the corners, Skip Schumaker tripled to the wall the make the game 3-0 in favor of St. Louis.
And it went on and on... Seven of the Cardinals' 12 runs were scored with two outs. It looked for a while like the inning would never end as Carlos Beltran whiffed on a ball that appeared to hit the plate and then roll back toward the backstop. Beltran stood at the plate unaware for several seconds, then started to reluctantly jog toward first base only to have the throw pull the Cubs first sacker off the bag.
It took back up catcher Tony Cruz to finally strike out and end the frame.
Westbrook allowed only three hits and two walks in his seven innings. Two thirds of that total -- two hits and a walk -- came in the first inning. The St. Louis starter loaded the bases and had a 3-0 count on the hitter before he came back to get the final out. After that he was an out-making machine. He improved to 8-8 with a 3.60 ERA for the season while counterpart Matt Garza left the game after three innings with an apparent wrist injury suffered while covering a bunt at first base.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Westbrook
Cardinals Play of the Game: Schumaker's triple
Lowlight: An earlier Cardinals chance to score was crushed by poor exection. Furcal led off with a hit to left and Schumaker sacrificed him to second. For some reason Furcal decided to keep going and got thrown out at third.