St. Louis Cardinals slugger Matt Adams tried repeatedly to take advantage of the defensive shift the Pittsburgh Pirates used against him.
He fouled off pitches and misfired on a bunt attempt on his way to an 0-for-4 night at the plate.
But in extra innings with the bases loaded after an intentional walk to Matt Holliday, Adams finally measured his stroke when it counted most and slashed a base hit inside the third base bag to propel the Redbirds to a 2-1 win.
Adams has seemed to struggle to define himself since the middle of the 2014 season. In the first half of last year, he appeared to be intent on hitting the ball the other way. Later, he tried to pull the ball to rediscover his power stroke. Neither approach seemed to work after the All-Star Game.
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Lately he seems to be more locked in and doing a better job of hitting balls where they are pitched. If he could do that consistently, it would be the best of both worlds -- high average and power -- for Adams.
The winning hit was one of only eight safeties the Cardinals collected in eight innings. Jon Jay, who scored the winning run had two hits as did second place hitter Matt Carpenter.
Starting pitcher Lance Lynn, unfairly criticized in the past as a “lucky” pitcher who benefited from his offense scoring a lot of runs when he is on the mound, has had quite the opposite fate this season. Despite pitching seven innings with one run allowed on four hits, he didn’t factor in on the decision. It went instead to Randy Choate who struck out the only batter he faced.
Lynn struck out 10 and walked one. But he’s got only one win so far this season despite a solid 3.07 ERA.
Lynn’s most impressive work came in the sixth inning when he defused a bases loaded, no outs jam. He gave up a single and a double to start then inning. He got into real trouble when Pirates starter AJ Burnett singled up the middle to make the game 1-0 in favor of Pittsburgh.
Gregory Polanco walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded an no one out, Lynn popped up Josh Harrison and struck out Andrew McCutcheon and Neil Walker.
The game was a tough battle. But it was a solid team effort with the Cardinals working deep into the bench and the bullpen to hold the Pirates until they could plate the deciding run.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Lynn
Lowlight: Kolton Wong was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts.