MLB Insiders - Cards 15 games over .500

After their record sank to just six games over .500 three days before the All-Star break and their fans had gone into a lather, the Cardinals made it back to 15 games over Sunday by beating the Dodgers 6-1.

MLB Insiders

Most of the revival stems from playing the Dodgers. The Cardinals swept all seven games of the teams' season series over the last 10 days, outscoring the Dodgers 35-8. St. Louis has won 11 of its last 13 games overall.

The search for punch from the corner outfield positions may have to be halted if recent trends continue. After homering in the first two games of the series, rookie left fielder Chris Duncan, a converted first baseman, singled home two runs in a four-run fifth inning Sunday.

That was more than enough for Jason Marquis, who continued his own trend, that of Jekyll and Hyde pitching. After giving up 12 runs in five innings in his previous start, Marquis, moved up a day so that he would stay on his customary rest, walked none and gave up just four hits in eight innings as he took over the National League lead in wins at 12.

His ERA before the game was 5.97, but Marquis was ahead of almost every hitter Sunday, mixing his breaking ball with a well-spotted fastball over a 106-pitch outing.

"I've been working on my mechanics -- to get back to where I was," Marquis said.

REPLAY: Jason Marquis extended the Cardinals' winning streak to four games and helped complete a seven-game season sweep of the Dodgers over the last two weekends by allowing only four baserunners over eight innings in a 6-1 Cardinals win.

Chris Duncan and Scott Rolen both drove in two runs with bases-loaded hits in a four-run fifth, and Juan Encarnacion hit solo homers in the second and sixth.


--RHP Anthony Reyes, pushed back two days, will start at Colorado on Monday night. No one said that Reyes was having any arm problems. The Cardinals probably were looking for more of a change-of-speed pitcher than RHP Jason Marquis, who pitched Sunday in Los Angeles. The Cardinals also still are monitoring Reyes' innings count. He hasn't pitched more than 150 in a season.

--GM Walt Jocketty says, publicly, at least, "Our primary focus is to acquire a bat, if possible. That hasn't changed."

But hitting coach Hal McRae said, "I think it's more of a question of availability."

--RF Juan Encarnacion's two homers gave the Cardinals a club-record 19 consecutive games in which they had homered. The old mark had been held by the 2000 club.

--LF Chris Duncan was only 2-for-23 with men in scoring position before his two-run single in the fifth inning Sunday.

--3B Scott Rolen had been 0 for his last 9 when 1B Albert Pujols was walked intentionally in front of him with runners at first and third in the fifth inning. Rolen broke the streak by driving in two runs with a hit to left.

--The Cardinals' lead of five games over Cincinnati in the National League Central is their biggest since June 20, when they were five games up.

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