The Cardinals went off the script Wednesday night to steal a game from the Kansas City Royals and widen their lead in the National League Central Division.
St. Louis was 0-12 in game in which they trailed after seven innings prior to the Wednesday game. The club has ridden strong starting pitching and offense from the starting eight to build leads early and then hang on.
But they struggled to get the offense going with only a Matt Holliday solo home run on the scoreboard until the eighth inning when Carlos Beltran swatted a solo shot of his own to cut the Kansas City lead to 3-2. After Matt Holliday struck out Allen Craig singled between third and short and then Yadier Molina collected a base hit on a line drive to left.
Often the fine strokes of baseball games are lost in the box score. But Molina was caught on camera prodding Craig to take a bigger lead at second base. And the veteran advice paid off when David Freese singled to left and Craig beat the throw to the plate by about half a step to tie the game.
Shortstop Pete Kozma struck out looking after the Royals walked Jon Jay to load the bases to leave the Cardinals with two outs and utility man Daniel Descalso at the plate. The Redbirds haven't had a whole lot of production from the bench this season. But Descalso came through when it counted with a bouncer that went over the pitcher's head and found its way between shortstop and second base to push a pair of runs home.
While Lance Lynn pitched well enough to deserve a win with two runs allowed over seven innings. But it was lefty Randy Choate who notched his first victory as a Cardinal by recording one out to end the top of the eighth inning.
Craig and Molina each had two hits to lead the offense while Freese was 1-for-3 with a pair of walks.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Molina
Cardinals Play of the Game: Descalso's RBI hit to drive home the deciding runs
Lowlight: Jay and Kozma were a combined 0-for-7 at the end of the lineup. They struck out a total of three times and stranded seven men on base.