Kelly, Craig spark Cards comeback over Cincy

Joe Kelly relieved Lance Lynn and Allen Craig hit a game-tying three-run homer Friday night as the Cardinals roared back with six in the sixth to defeat the Reds in game one of their big weekend series.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Right-hander Joe Kelly stopped the bleeding in the early innings, the Cardinals' offense inflicted numerous wounds on Cincinnati starter Mat Latos in the sixth and the rest of the bullpen took rookie Kelly's lead and clamped down on the Reds' offense over the last six innings.

 

The result was an 8-5 win Friday for the Cardinals, who spotted the Reds two leads of three runs before exploding for six runs in the sixth inning.

 

First baseman Allen Craig, already hitting .398 with men in scoring position, lined a three-run homer to dead center, his 19th home run of the season, to tie the game in the sixth and catcher Yadier Molina, who like Craig and second baseman Skip Schumaker, had three hits, lined his 17th to put the Cardinals ahead.

 

The sixth inning began in seemingly mundane fashion when right fielder Carlos Beltran grounded behind first base to Todd Frazier, normally a third baseman who made a good stop at the foul line. But Frazier hesitated in throwing to right-hander Latos, who was late in covering, and Beltran uncharacteristically dived headfirst into the bag ahead of Latos.

 

Left fielder Matt Holliday singled and then came the back-to-back homers.

 

But manager Mike Matheny said, "It started out with. . . Carlos busting his butt to first. That got us going."

 

What right-hander Lance Lynn didn't give the Cardinals while lasting only two official innings before Matheny boldy pulled him, the bullpen did. Kelly fanned six in three innings and got the win. Right-handers Fernando Salas, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte accounted for seven more strikeouts, with Salas fanning all three men he faced.

 

Altogether, the bullpen whiffed 13 Reds in seven innings with Motte getting his 30th save.

 

Matheny, explaining why he pulled Lynn, a National League All-Star, after he had faced just two hitters in the third, said, "We've got to go after (the game) like it's one of the last ones."

 

NOTES, QUOTES

3B David Freese, who missed two months last season after being hit with a pitch on the left hand, was hit on the left wrist on Friday and came out of the game two innings later. "It got him in a bad spot," said manager Mike Matheny. "He could barely move his glove. It was unfortunate." Freese, who has knocked in five runs in the last two days, certainly is doubtful for the rest of the series. But he didn't seem gravely concerned. "It's just banged up," he said. "I didn't get X-rays or anything."

RHP Lance Lynn, 13-5 but winless since July 27, has given up 11 runs in the first innings of his last six starts. He allowed four runs in two-plus innings on Friday and might lose his next start to impressive RHP Joe Kelly, who relieved to strike out six in three innings, giving up just one run. Manager Mike Matheny said it was too early to make that call but agreed that Kelly certainly was an option. Of Lynn, Matheny said, "This was a rough one. He was really rolling early in the season. We all were impressed with what he was able to do. Things are snowballing a little bit, but he's not the first young pitcher this has happened to." Lynn, who left too many fastballs over the plate, said, "I've got to be better than that." He has failed to finish the fifth inning in his last two starts.

RHP Joe Kelly has worked 8 2/3 innings of relief over his last two games, the first coming in a 19-inning game last Sunday. Kelly, who recorded his fourth win on Friday in a three-inning stint, said he didn't need much time to get "hot" in the bullpen on Friday although he did throw most of his pitches in the bullpen from the stretch. Kelly already had warmed up in the second inning before entering the game in the third. "Anytime I go to the bullpen, I'm prepared for all situations," he said.

1B Allen Craig, after narrowly missing a three-run homer to left in the sixth when the ball stayed foul, homered 417 feet to center a couple of pitches later. Earlier, he had extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single, and he added a single later. "I'm just staying calm at the plate," said Craig.

RHP Jason Motte gained his 30th save, making him the eighth man in Cardinals history to have that many in a season.

With the Cincinnati Reds having little left-handed presence in their offense, the Cardinals optioned LHP Barret Browning, 1-3 with a 5.12 earned run average to Class AAA Memphis, and brought up RHP Brandon Dickson from that club. Browning had retired the first 14 men to face him in the majors before beginning to falter.

1B Lance Berkman, the sore-kneed 36-year-old who was starting a rehabilitation option Friday at Class AAA Memphis, said he is leaning toward retirement after this season. "I don't want to say for certain because I don't want to do like Brett Favre and say, 'I retired; I'm not retired; I'm retired; I'm not retired.' I don't want to make that call right now," said Berkman. "But if you put a gun to my head and demand an answer today I would tell you I'm probably not going to play next year."

By the Numbers:

13 - Number of strikeouts by Cardinals relievers Friday and also number of games over .500 for the Cardinals (they are 69-56).

Quote to Note:

"I've got to find a way not to let that happen."

- RHP Lance Lynn, on giving up two runs in the first inning. In three of his previous five starts, he had given up three runs in the first inning.

MEDICAL WATCH

3B David Freese (bruised left wrist) was hit by a pitch Aug. 24 and came out of the game two innings later. He was expected to be out a few days.

1B Lance Berkman (right knee inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 3. He was scheduled to start a rehab assignment at Class AAA Memphis on Aug. 24.

RHP Kyle McClellan (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July 10.

RHP Chris Carpenter (weak right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 10. He threw for the first time since March on June 13 and then threw another 40 pitches on June 15. He threw to hitters for the first time June 22 but then had a setback June 25 when he felt renewed weakness in the shoulder. He said it felt better the next day, and he had an extensive throwing session off flat ground June 27. On June 28, he was told he has thoracic outlet syndrome, which can cause, among its effects, weakness in one's shoulder. A July 2 bullpen session was canceled. He underwent season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. He did some light tossing from 40 to 60 feet on Aug. 16.

Link to boxscore: St. Louis 8 at Cincinnati 5


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