Mike Leake (Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of May 9-15, 2016

The St. Louis Cardinals completed a 4-2 West Coast road trip as Mike Leake is rounding into form.

Game recaps

Monday, May 9

The Cardinals were off as they traveled to the West Coast for the week.

 

Tuesday, May 10----Cardinals 8, at Angels 1

In Anaheim, starter Mike Leake won his first game as a Cardinal.  Leake pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and striking out five.  Tyler Lyons added a clean ninth.

This game featured three long balls, a staple of the 2016 Cardinals to date.  Matt Carpenter blasted a leadoff solo shot in the first inning, his sixth home run.  Randal Grichuk hit his fifth homer, another solo shot in the fifth inning, and Matt Holliday tattooed his fourth ball out of the park in the sixth.  Players with multi-hit games were Carpenter, 2-for-4, Holliday, 3-for-5, Yadier Molina, 2-for-3, Brandon Moss, 2-for-4, and Jedd Gyorko, 2-for-5.  Carpenter, Grichuk and Holliday each drove in two runs; Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz plated one each.

 

Wednesday, May 11----Cardinals 5, at Angels 2

Jaime Garcia earned his third win with this victory over the Angels.  Garcia tossed seven innings, surrendering two unearned runs on four hits.  The two Angels runs came on a home run following a fielding error by Matt Carpenter; if the play was made cleanly, the inning would have been over.  Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless eighth, and Trevor Rosenthal closed with a scoreless ninth for the save.

The offense featured 2-for-4 outings by Stephen Piscotty, Yadier Molina, and Randal Grichuk.  The five Cardinals runs were scored without benefit of the home run.  The only extra base hit was a double off the bat of Molina.  Carpenter, Piscotty, Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, and Aledmys Diaz each drove in a run.

 

Thursday, May 12----Cardinals 12 at Angels 10

The Cardinals managed the sweep, but it wasn’t easy.  This game featured the continuing pitching struggles of both Adam Wainwright and Seth Maness.  Wainwright went only five innings, and though he got the win, he didn’t pitch like a winner.  Wainwright gave up 11 hits for seven runs, six earned.  Seung-Hwan Oh and Jonathan Broxton combined for three scoreless innings.  The ninth inning featured another meltdown from Seth Maness, who surrendered three runs while retiring only one.  In came Trevor Rosenthal, who walked three batters, and out he went in exchange for Kevin Siegrist, who secured the remaining two outs for the save.

http://www.scout.com/player/56696-matt-holliday?s=321

The offense gave Wainwright a tenuous one run lead before he exited.  That offense consisted primarily of Matt Holliday, who thumped balls out of the park in the fourth and fifth innings for three runs, and Matt Carpenter, who blasted a two run shot in the fifth.  The Cardinals put eight runs on the board through the fifth inning and added four more in the sixth and ninth.  Also with multiple hits were Matt Adams, 3-for-6, Yadier Molina, 3-for-5, and Aledmys Diaz, 2-for-4.  Jeremy Hazelbaker contributed two RBI on a fourth inning single.

One appearance of note was a cat, running across the field in the fourth inning, in front of Wainwright and into the stands.  The cat was orange, not black, but Wainwright subsequently gave up two additional runs after the feline appearance.

 

Friday, May 13---Cardinals 4 at Dodgers 8

The Cardinals took the lead in the series opener in the first inning, but it was a short-lived edge, as the Dodgers scored six against starter Michael Wacha by the end of the fourth inning.  Wacha exited after four, having allowed the six runs, though only two were earned. He was followed by Matt Bowman, who was tagged with an additional unearned run in the fifth.  Tyler Lyons yielded another run, earned, and Jonathan Broxton finished with a scoreless ninth.  Wacha was the losing pitcher.

The defense was a comedy of errors, as shortstop Aledmys Diaz committed three of the fielding variety.  Diaz gave back some of what he took with the bat, contributing two hits and one run driven in on a solo home run.  Matt Carpenter committed the fourth defensive miscue, a throwing error.

In addition to Diaz’ contributions on offense, Kolten Wong hit two triples, scoring on a wild pitch after one, but getting caught in a rundown and tagged out on the other.  Yadier Molina was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Matt Holliday was 2-for-5.

 

Saturday, May 14----Cardinals 3 at Dodgers 5

Carlos Martinez made this start after exiting his previous outing more than a week earlier with an illness.  Martinez exited this time after five innings, having surrendered four runs on five hits and being tagged with his third loss. Dean Kiekhefer, called up after Seth Maness was put on the DL, made his major league debut relieving Martinez.  Kiekhefer pitched 1 2/3 innings, striking out four, but was removed after giving up a home run with two outs in the seventh.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched the remaining 1 1/3 innings in scoreless fashion.

The Cardinals offense did not score until the fifth inning.  They had a scoring opportunity in the third with two men on, and Matt Carpenter at the plate.  Carpenter inexplicably bunted for a sacrifice, making the second out, and a ground out by Stephen Piscotty ended the opportunity. In the fifth, Jedd Gyorko reached second on a throwing error, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sac fly from Martinez.  The Cardinals rallied in the ninth for two runs on a pinch hit home run by Jeremy Hazelbaker, but the rally ended when Aledmys Diaz struck out.  The only Cardinal with a multi-hit game was Randal Grichuk, who was 2-for-4.

 

Sunday, May 15---Cardinals 5 at Dodgers 2

Starter Mike Leake, after struggling through the month of April, won his second consecutive game.  Leake pitched six innings, giving up one run on four hits, striking out three and walking two.  Jonathan Broxton added a scoreless seventh. In the eighth, Kevin Siegrist gave up a solo home run, the only hit he allowed.  Trevor Rosenthal closed, and after an opening walk, he struck out the next batter, and induced an inning ending double play to earn the save.

http://www.scout.com/player/132821-mike-leake?s=321

Matt Carpenter got the run scoring going with a solo home run in the third inning.  The Dodgers tied it in the bottom frame and the game remained tied until top half of the seventh, when the Cardinals added three runs on a Jeremy Hazelbaker single, and intentional walk to Brandon Moss and a Yadier Molina double to score Hazelbaker and Moss.  Matt Carpenter was intentionally walked, and Stephen Piscotty singled to left to plate Molina.  The Cardinals added an insurance run in the eighth on a Randal Grichuk double, a wild pitch and an Aledmys Diaz sac fly.

The win avoided the sweep and the Cardinals come home with a record of 4-2 on the West Coast road trip and a virtual tie with the Pirates for second place in the NL Central.

 

NL Central Standings

  W L % GB
Chic. Cubs 27 9 0.750 ---
Pittsburgh 19 17 0.528 8
St. Louis 20 18 0.526 8
Milwaukee 16 22 0.421 12
Cincinnati 15 22 0.405 12.5

Who’s Hot

Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter have heated up in the past week, both hitting three home runs in that span.  Holliday has an OPS of 1.130 for the past seven days, and Carpenter’s OPS in those seven days is 1.304.

http://www.scout.com/player/133107-matt-carpenter?s=321

Yadier Molina re-emerges on the hot list with an OPS of 1.023 over the past week.  Molina has three doubles and seven singles in that span.  Jeremy Hazelbaker also re-emerges with an OPS of .850 over six games.

Randal Grichuk has pulled himself off the cold list for the first time, with an OPS of .824, which includes one home run, one double, and four singles in the past week.

http://www.scout.com/player/156983-kolten-wong?s=321

Kolten Wong makes his first debut on the hot list, he has an OPS of .886 over 5 games.

Stephen Piscotty and Aledmys Diaz remain hot with OPS's of .821 and .837, respectively.

Mike Leake, after struggling for much of the month of April, is 2-0 in his last two starts with an ERA of 1.29.

 

Who’s Not

Matt Adams moves this week from the hot list to the cold list.  Adams had a .571 OPS over the past week.

Jedd Gyorko repeats for a second week on the cold list, with an OPS of .545.

Brandon Moss remains cold as well, his OPS over the past seven days is .681.

Ruben Tejada went 0-for-3 in his only plate appearances over the past week.

Michael Wacha is 0-2 over his last two starts, with an ERA of 5.40.

 

A Look at Cardinals’ Lineups

The first three spots in the lineup have been consistent again this past week, with Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Holliday occupying spots 1,2, and 3 respectively. 

The clean-up spot continues to be occupied by a mixture of Brandon Moss, Matt Adams, and Randal Grichuk.

Yadier Molina has been consistent in the fifth spot in the lineup, except his day off on Sunday, May 15, when Aledmys Diaz hit in the five spot.

The sixth spot has been occupied at various times by Randal Grichuk, Matt Adams and Jeremy Hazelbaker, with Brandon Moss making one appearance there.

The number seven spot has been filled by Jedd Gyorko, Kolten Wong, and Grichuk.

Diaz has made two appearances in the eighth spot and Wong has also appeared there twice.  Jeremy Hazelbaker hit in the eighth spot for one game.

Diaz batted in the ninth spot for three games in interleague play.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

The Cardinals placed RHP Seth Maness on the 15-day disabled list.  Right elbow inflammation.

The Cardinals recalled LHP Dean Kiekhefer from Memphis Redbirds.

 

Injury Report

Seth Maness (right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list.  Maness was initially optioned to Memphis, but that was withdrawn and he was put on the DL instead after being examined by a doctor.

Tommy Pham (left oblique) continues on a rehab assignment, having moved to Springfield from Memphis. Most recent reports have him ready to be activated by St. Louis on Tuesday, but who he would replace on the active roster is unclear.

Jhonny Peralta (thumb) and Brayan Pena (knee) reportedly continue to make progress, though neither is far enough along to begin play in rehab games.

 

Looking Ahead

Following the series ender in Los Angeles on Sunday night, the Cardinals travel back to St. Louis on Monday to begin a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.  Jaime Garcia is scheduled to make the Tuesday start, followed by Adam Wainwright on Wednesday and Michael Wacha on Thursday.

The Cardinals will have a weekend series at Busch with the Arizona Diamondbacks following Colorado’s visit.  Martinez is the probable pitcher Friday.

After Arizona leaves on Sunday, the Chicago Cubs come to Busch for a three-game set beginning Monday.  The Cardinals will then travel to Washington to play the Nationals for four games from Thursday through Sunday.

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