Cardinals rediscover offense vs. ex-teammate

St. Louis had its biggest hitting game in a month with Washington's Edwin Jackson the early victim Friday night at Busch Stadium.



First baseman Allen Craig and catcher Yadier Molina, the best Cardinals' hitters in the clutch this season, drove in five runs and scored four as the Cardinals moved their magic number to three for gaining a wild-card berth with a 12-2 romp over Washington on Friday.


The Cardinals drilled Nationals starter and former teammate Edwin Jackson for nine runs in the first two innings, with Molina's two-run homer knocking out Jackson.


Craig had four hits as the Cardinals had their best offensive game in more than a month.


"I think it's important for us to see that we have the ability to come out and do that," manager Mike Matheny said. "And then you raise your expectation level."


Right-hander Adam Wainwright, winning his first game this month, didn't need that much offense. He worked six innings in his next-to-last scheduled start of the season and held Washington to one run as he raised his record to 14-13.


Wainwright also wouldn't mind starting the wild-card playoff game, too, and miss his final regular-season start.


"I'd more than welcome the opportunity if we go ahead and clinch this thing soon to sit back and be ready for whatever game they need me," said Wainwright, who missed 2011 to recover from elbow surgery. "I would think they would want me to be ready for (the wild-card playoff) or the next one.


But, I think as it stands now Kyle Lohse (16-3) gets that start, and he's very deserving."



1B Allen Craig started for the 32nd consecutive time in the cleanup spot and had four hits. In that span, he has hit .314, slugged .453 and knocked in 26 runs. "What Allen has done missing a month is really impressive," right-hander Adam Wainwright said. "If he played every day (Craig started the season late because of a knee injury), he's probably in the MVP race, and he probably will be next year."

CF Jon Jay, who hit only .207 on the recent six-game trip, led off both the first and second innings with singles on Friday. Those singles were the forerunners of nine runs in the first two innings.

LF Matt Holliday was hit on the left elbow by a pitch and had to leave the game in the sixth. X-rays did not unearth anything other than a deep bruise, and Holliday is day-to-day.

3B David Freese tested his sprained right ankle on the field before Friday's game and said it still felt tender. He is doubtful for Saturday night's game.

RHP Jake Westbrook, who has missed three starts with a strained right oblique, does not figure to make any more starts. "I don't see me starting by any means," Westbrook said. "I'd have to build that (strength) back up to have the confidence I'd need that I could go deep into a ballgame. If I do get the opportunity to pitch (in postseason), I think it would have to be out of the bullpen."

By the Numbers:

4 - Number of Cardinals' starters with at least 13 victories.

Quote to Note:

"The guys have hit that second, third, fourth whatever wind it is … you could tell. When they walked in today, there was a hop to their step."

- Manager Mike Matheny after his team's 12-2 victory.


LF Matt Holliday (bruised left elbow) was hit by a pitch and had to leave the game in the sixth inning Sept. 28. X-rays were negative and Holliday is day-to-day.

RHP Jake Westbrook (strained right oblique) was injured Sept. 8, and he probably is out for the rest of the regular season. He encountered discomfort in a bullpen session Sept. 22 in Chicago and had to stop throwing. "If I do get the opportunity to pitch (in postseason)," he said, "I think it would have to be out of the bullpen."

3B David Freese (sprained right ankle) missed his fourth straight game Sept. 28 and is doubtful for Sept. 29.

1B Lance Berkman (sore right knee) underwent additional surgery Sept. 14 and was thought to be out for the season, but he said he still wants to try to play.

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, but as of Sept. 19 he still hadn't been able to do any baseball activities.

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 12, Washington 2

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