The St. Louis Cardinals took clutch hitting to an extreme in Tuesday night's 8-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
St. Louis scored all its runs as the result of two-out hits, including a three-run homer in the eighth by Matt Holliday that broke the game open.
Holliday, who had four RBIs, knows two-out hits that score runs can be especially deflating to the opposing team.
''As a defensive player or a pitcher those hurt,'' he said. ''Pitchers, particularly, it kind of takes the wind out of their sails.''
Lance Lynn (2-3) pitched six scoreless innings, holding Cleveland to four hits and striking out nine.
''You want to go more (innings), always, but you'll take it,'' Lynn said. ''A win's a win. That's all that matters.''
Holliday, who has reached base safely in each of his 30 games, had an RBI single in the fifth inning before his three-run blast off Scott Atchison.
''Overall, relentless at-bats are the goal regardless of what the situation is,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ''We had some guys come up big.''
Carlos Carrasco (4-3) allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings as the Indians failed again to win consecutive games. Cleveland has won two straight once, the second and third games of the season.
The Indians, trailing 4-0, scored three times in the seventh. Run-scoring doubles by Jason Kipnis, Brantley and pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn got Cleveland back in the game, but St. Louis scored four runs in the eighth.
The Cardinals, who dropped the last two of a weekend series in Pittsburgh, avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Reynolds, who had three hits, put the Cardinals on top with his single in the second.
Lynn was struck on the right hand by David Murphy's hard grounder to the mound in the second, but he remained in the game.
Carpenter returned to third base and his familiar second spot in the order. He was hitless in his first three at-bats, but doubled and scored in the seventh before his RBI single in the eighth.
''The first time stepping in the box always feels a little foreign, but it usually comes back pretty quickly,'' he said. ''I hated not being able to play this game. I love being out here with these guys.''
Matheny wasn't surprised Carpenter was sharp in his return.
''I don't think anybody is,'' Matheny said. ''He's so good, that's kind of the expectation. That's something he puts on himself.''
Cardinals: OF Jon Jay (sore thumb) didn't start for the second straight game, but was available to pinch-hit.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) did work out of the crouch, threw and ran the bases Tuesday.
Cardinals: RHP John Lackey is coming off his best start of the season against the Cubs on May 7. He struck out a season-high 10 and allowed one run in 7 2-3 innings.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber is 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA in seven starts after winning the AL Cy Young Award last season. He has allowed 38 hits in 23 innings and has a 7.43 ERA in his last four starts.
Link to box score: St. Louis (23-9) 8 at Cleveland (11-20) 3