Lance Lynn had his now customary difficulty in the first inning Thursday night. But that was the only misstep for Lynn, who emerged from a nearly three-week trip to the bullpen to pitch six strong innings, gain his club-leading 15th win, stop the Cardinals' bleeding and increase their wild-card lead to two games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cardinals again left numerous runners in scoring position and failed to advance others. They also made an error in the field as third baseman Matt Carpenter booted a grounder in the seventh.
But, for the most part, the defense was better than it had been recently, with Carpenter notably turning in several outstanding plays at third base. And then there was All-Star catcher Yadier Molina throwing two runners out stealing, including pinch runner Dee Gordon in the seventh after Carpenter's errror.
"He was a difference maker," said first baseman Allen Craig.
So was Craig, hitting nearly .400 with runners in scoring position. Craig broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh with a two-out, run-scoring hit to right field off Dodgers sinkerballer Ronald Belisario.
But the big story was
"I was back to where I needed to be,
physically and mechanically," said
He probably will make at least one more start while Westbrook is out but Lynn, who, at first, didn't seem to like the move to the bullpen, said,
"I'm a pitcher. I don't care when or where it is. I'm going to try to get everybody out until they take me out."
RF Carlos Beltran, hitting sixth for the first time this season, had a solid game, walking twice, singling and doubling and throwing out Los Angeles RHP Josh Beckett at first base in the third inning after the pitcher thought he had a line single to right field.
RHP Lance Lynn, despite
spending nearly three weeks in the bullpen, took over the staff lead in wins at
15 on Thursday night by beating Los Angeles, 2-1. "He couldn't wait to get out
there and prove to everybody that he could still start," said manager Mike
Matheny. "I was pleasantly surprised by everything I saw from him."
3B David Freese, still bothered by a left ankle sprain he suffered last weekend, didn't start although he did pinch hit in the eighth inning on Thursday. "David has really been fighting it lately," said manager Mike Matheny.
RHP Joe Kelly will have
strong support for his start Friday night in Dodger Stadium. Kelly's girlfriend
has arranged for the purchase of more than 120 tickets to watch the resident of
INF/OF Shane Robinson has started a number of rallies off the bench this season. His walk on a 3-2 pitch in the seventh inning Thursday led to the winning run—he crossed the plate on 1B Allen Craig's two-out, seeing-eye, ground single to right.
By the Numbers:
34 - Number of saves for RHP Jason Motte in 40 attempts.
Quote to Note:
"With the electricity in this stadium, it was like a playoff game."
- Manager Mike Matheny on the atmosphere as the wild-card contending Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers played Thursday night.
RHP Jake Westbrook (strained right oblique) will miss a start or two but apparently will be able to pitch again this season.
1B Lance Berkman (sore right knee) is scheduled to undergo additional surgery Sept. 14 and is out for the season. His career might be over as well.
RHP Chris Carpenter
(right shoulder surgery) 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
what was believed to be season-ending surgery July 19 to relieve thoracic outlet
syndrome. He threw a normal bullpen session Sept. 7 and faced hitters in a
simulated game Sept. 10 in
SS Rafael Furcal (torn ligament in right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 31 and is out for the season. He might need Tommy John surgery, but he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on Sept. 4 in the hopes of avoiding having to go under the knife.
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.
Link to boxscore: St. Louis 2, Los Angeles 1