The Cardinals seemed to cure many of their ails over the weekend against the Cubs.
Jon Jay, in an offensive free fall since he returned from a second period of inactivity due to a shoulder injury, collected his first four-hit game in the majors -- and they were all against lefty pitchers -- Sunday to push his batting average back over the .300 mark.
Carlos Beltran homered Sunday against the Wee Bears to leave the yard for the first time since mid June. He hit balls hard all series to indicate maybe his offensive drought may be over.
Marc Rzepczynski even pitched a perfect inning of relief en route to the St. Louis victory.
As a team, the Cardinals hit much better against the Wee Bears with runners in scoring position. Especially with two outs. On Saturday the Cardinals plated seven of their 12 runs with two outs while they scored four times in the first Sunday with two outs to collect all the runs they'd need to sweep away Chicago.
The Birds looked like they would score easily in the first when Allen Craig hit a single and Matt Holliday followed with a double. Craig seemed to be able to circle the bases. But he tripped over third and had to scramble back. With second and third and one out Carlos Beltran popped up to shallow right and Craig held at third -- despite a lousy throw to jeopardize the Birds' scoring chances.
But, after David Freese was intentionally walked to bring the lefty Jay to the dish with the sacks jammed, Jay inside outed a pitch that landed on the left field line and plated two on a double. Reserve catcher Tony Cruz took a page from Jay's book and poked a ball to the opposite field -- in his case to right -- to plate two more.
In the fourth, the Cardinals payed homage to the teams of the 1980s by manufacturing a run. Daniel Descalso bunted for a base hit to lead off the inning then took second on a wild pitch. Starting pitcher Lance Lynn bunted him to third and then Tyler Greene hit a sacrifice fly to make the game 5-0 in favor of St. Louis.
The other two runs came on back to back homers in the fifth by Holliday to lead off the inning and Beltran to follow. Beltran's blast was the 200th of his career and 21st of the season.
One thing that (pleasantly) hasn't changed is the recent hot streak of Lynn who threw six shut out innings Sunday with four hits allowed. He improved to 12-4 with a 3.10 ERA for the season with the victory.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lynn
Cardinals Play of the Game: Jays's two-run double
Lowlight: Greene, with a chance to bat in the first spot of the order with Rafael Furcal getting a day off, was hitless in four at-bats, although he did have a sacrifice fly.