Are the real St. Louis Cardinals finally revealing themselves?
The Redbirds, who have frustrated fans so far this season with their juggled line-ups and halting offense, have suddenly won four games in a row and eight out of their last 11 thanks to a dominant 6-2 win over the New York Mets at Busch Stadium.
The first three wins came against the first place Washington Nationals. The fourth came against a struggling Mets club. But it was no cake walk for the Cardinals who were forced to elevate inconsistent reliever Carlos Martinez from the bullpen to replace injured ace starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.
Martinez more than did the job with four excellent innings. He allowed one run on two hits while striking out three. But it wasn't always pretty with an unacceptable four walks. Still, the only run Martinez allowed came thanks to a defensive error when shortstop Jhonny Peralta short-armed a ball and threw it at the feet of first baseman Matt Adams. The play was called a hit and an error on the throw because the scorekeeper apparently believed the runner would have beaten the throw to first, but that the runner on second was allowed to advance to third with the misplay. But if Peralta would have made a better throw he might have nipped the runner.
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Fortunately, the Cardinals had their sputtering offense cranking on all cylinders Monday night.
Jon Jay, who seems to have finally seized the starting centerfield job after starting the season as a reserve outfielder and later working in a platoon with Peter Bourjos, set the table by getting on base twice via hits and a third time by a walk. He scored all three times and raised his batting average to .307 for the season. In his last 10 games he's hitting .370 with 9 runs scored.
Likewise, Allen Craig seems to have found his RBI stroke. He was 3-for-4 with two runs driven in and a run scored. Craig, who struggled for the first month of the season to hit .200, raised his average to .264 for the year thanks to a cool .300 average over his last 10 games.
Matt Adams' streak of three games with a homer was snapped. But he was 2-for-4 with a triple and a single. Peralta and Matt Holliday were also 2-for-4.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Jay
Play of the Game: Holliday collected an RBI single to knock in his 1,000th RBI. He's one of 270 big leaguers to accomplish the feat and is one of only 18 active players to reach the milestone.
Lowlight: Matt Carpenter was hitless in four at-bats and struck out twice.