Sunday is yet another example of why they bother to play the game.
The Cardinals typically struggle mightily against left handed hurlers. And in the rubber game of the Dodgers series they faced the toughest southpaw in the National League, Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw had a 5-2 record entering the game and a NL leading 1.32 earned run average in his first 10 starts. While St. Louis sent rookie Shelby Miller to the mound, no slouch himself, it didn't seem like the Birds were likely to score a whole lot of runs.
Miller got off to a bad start, surrendering a two-run home in the first inning. But, after a 1-2-3 first inning, the Cardinals loaded the bases in the second with no outs. To the plate came rookie shortstop Pete Kozma who promptly slashed a bases-clearing double to left field to put St. Louis ahead 3-2.
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Unfortunately, Miller couldn't make it stand up. He got into his usual pitch count trouble. He lasted only 5 1/3 innings with three runs allowed on seven hits.
Kozma was again in the middle of things when the Cardinals regained the lead in the seventh inning. He doubled to center to lead off the inning and then scored when Matt Carpenter singled with one out.
In the ninth inning Kozma lined a ball off the tip of Adrian Gonzalez's glove to lead off with a double. He moved to third on a ground out by Ty Wigginton and then scored an important insurance run when Matt Adams collecting a pinch hit single.
When the smoke cleared, the Cardinals completed their dreaded West Coast road trip with two more series wins and a 4-2 record.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Kozma was 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three driven in.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Trevor Rosenthal came into the game in the seventh inning with runners on first and third with one out. After hitting Andre Ethier in the leg with a 98 mile an hour fastball to load the bases, Rosenthal struck out Mark Ellis and then Skip Schumaker to preserve the lead. I know that's technically two plays. But let's call it a tie between them.
Lowlight: While some of his teammates are heating up, Matt Holliday's bat has gone cold. An 0-for-4 day has shrunk his batting average to .253 for the season.