The St. Louis Cardinals' three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers was a disappointment before the Wednesday finale even started since the home club blew three-run leads to lose the first two games and the series.
These three games were a chance to make a statement against a Milwaukee team that stormed out to a big lead in the National League central with a record-setting, 20-win April. Instead, the Redbirds let bad innings and poor offensive execution get the best of them. There was no declaration of whose the REAL boss. Instead, the Cardinals needed to win Wednesday just to stop the bleeding and to try to get in a positive frame of mind before their day off.
Fortunately, the Birds ended the Brewers series in the best way possible, busting their slumbering offense out of its collective slump. It was the closest this team has come so far this season to all its pieces working properly at once. And, hopefully, it's a sign of things to come.
- Jon Jay, who had cooled over the last few games after taking over the starting centerfielder job, was 3-for-4 with a walk to raise his average to .282.
- Matt Holliday, who has been gaining steam lately, had two hits in four at-bats with a walk and raised his average to .283.
- Matt Adams only had one hit in five at-bats. But he made it count with a three-run homer to right center, only his second homer of the year.
The only player who didn't stir offensively was shortstop Jhonny Peralta who was hitless in four at-bats. Peralta bounced above the Mendoza line Tuesday, peaking at the .204 mark. But he settled back to .196 by the end of the game Wednesday.
The offensive outburst was good news for Shelby Miller who struggled early before getting his spikes under him later in the game.
After being spotted to a 1-0 lead when Jay doubled in the first and then came home on a single by Holliday, Miller got behind 3-1 after allowing a pair of home runs. He gave up a two-run shot in the second and a solo shot in the third.
The offense let Miller off the hook in the bottom of the third when Jay walked, Holliday singled and Adams hit his big fly to put the Birds back on top 4-3.
Unlike the previous games of the series -- and several others before it -- the Cardinals didn't rest on their lead and were able to put up two more runs in the fourth, two more in the fifth and one in the sixth to secure the win.
In the end, Miller was decent and it was enough to win and improved to 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA. He allowed six hits and three runs over six frames. He walked three and, conspicuously, only struck out one. It was a good enough start to earn a win. It's the sort of game the Redbirds would have typically lost most days this season, but the kind that they'll need to find a way to win consistently if they're going to make good on their position as pre-season favorite to win the National League Central title.
An added highlight is that rookie infielder Greg Garcia, with his family in attendance, collected his first MLB hit.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Craig
Cardinals Play of the Game: Adams' three-run homer.
Lowlight: Peralta's collar.