Lynn, bats lead Cards to win Houston series

14 runs of offense backed pitcher Lance Lynn as the Cardinals won two of three in Houston.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Lance Lynn spotted the Houston Astros a run in each of the first and second innings Thursday night. But the Cardinals rallied for three runs in the third and Lynn then dropped the hammer as he continued to be one of the biggest stories in the majors.

 

Fanning a career-high 11 batters over six innings, the first-year starter raised his record to 9-2 in a 14-2 rout of the Astros. "The ball was jumping out of his hand," said manager Mike Matheny. "He was blowing his fastball by guys."

 

The Cardinals' first series win in their last four series was highlighted on the stat sheet by third baseman David Freese's two home runs, one his first career grand slam. They were good for six runs batted in and helped erase some of the sting of three more strikeouts for Freese for the second night in succession.

 

"I was having a tough night," he said. "This finished it off a little bit."

 

But the unsung hero of the win was center fielder Shane Robinson. In the third he worked a walk off left-hander J.A. Happ in a 12-pitch at-bat that seemed to wear down the Astros' starter. Robinson then added three hits, including his second homer of the season.

 

From a team that didn't score for 26 consecutive innings, mostly in New York, earlier in the trip, the Cardinals tallied 26 runs in the three games in Houston.

Shortstop Rafael Furcal, first baseman Allen Craig and Robinson all had three hits, and left fielder Matt Holliday and Freese had two apiece. "We needed a night where everybody participated in our offense," said Matheny.

 

The Cardinals won two straight games for the first time in two weeks. "Now we've got to keep putting the pedal down," said Matheny.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

LHP Jaime Garcia was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, and the club recalled RHP Fernando Salas from Class AAA Memphis. Garcia (3-4), who earlier had skipped a turn because of a sore elbow, lasted just two innings, giving up six runs, at Houston on Tuesday. Salas, who led the Cardinals with 24 saves last year, had appeared in four games in relief at Memphis after being sent out with a 6.32 ERA for 18 games with the Cardinals. "Surgery is not on the table," general manager John Mozeliak said. Mozeliak said that Garcia would seek a second opinion on Friday and then perhaps a third after that. "We still don't have a definitive answer as to how to deal with it," said Mozeliak. Garcia, who has stiffness in his shoulder, received an injection of dye on Thursday.

RHP Brandon Dickson and RHP Joe Kelly, both of whom are at Class AAA Memphis, are the candidates to take LHP Jaime Garcia's turn Sunday against Cleveland. Dickson started one game last year and was with the club earlier this season. Kelly, who never has been in the majors, is 1-0 with a 1.22 earned run average in his last three starts, pitching at least seven innings in all three.

RF Carlos Beltran hit his first homer in 11 days, giving him 16 for the season. Manager Mike Matheny said Beltran probably won't be playing center field anytime soon, as he did in New York, so as not to test his bothersome right knee.

3B David Freese hit two late-inning home runs, including the first grand slam of his career and another homer off Houston OF Brian Bogusevic, the Astros' final pitcher. Freese raised his total to a career-high 12 homers. He had 10 last year.

RHPs Eduardo Sanchez and Fernando Salas and LHP Sam Freeman threw a scoreless inning apiece to close out Thursday's 14-2 win at Houston as some of the more veteran relievers got a night off.

By the Numbers:

4-6 - Cardinals' record on their longest trip, to date, of the season.

Quote to Note:

"It's real tough to get better when you're so injured."

- General manager John Mozeliak after LHP Jaime Garcia became the latest Cardinal to land on the disabled list.

MEDICAL WATCH

2B-OF Skip Schumaker (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 31.

LHP Jaime Garcia (left shoulder strain) experienced discomfort in his left elbow after his May 26 start. An MRI showed no damage, and after missing a turn, he returned for his June 5 start. But he left after two innings because of shoulder pain and was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6. He was scheduled to be examined June 8.

CF Jon Jay (separated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 15. He was told to not swing a bat for a week in early June.

INF Matt Carpenter (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list May 23.

1B Lance Berkman (torn meniscus in right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list May 20. He had arthroscopic surgery May 25, and no ACL damage was found. He might return in mid- to late July.

RHP Kyle McClellan (strained right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18. He won't need surgery but likely will be sidelined at least late July.

RHP Scott Linebrink (right shoulder capsulitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He felt tightness during an April 30 bullpen session, and he didn't appear close to a return.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He probably won't pitch until at least late July.

Link to boxscore: St. Louis 14 at Houston 2.


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