The Redbird Report 08/15

Albeit belatedly, the Cardinals are making their strongest charge of the season in trying to defend their World Series championship.

One game after the tied their season high with 18 hits, they had 19 Tuesday night, including four by Jim Edmonds, who got a rare start against a lefty, Milwaukee's Chris Capuano. And, suddenly, the Cardinals are as close to first place as they've been since late April. They're just 4 1/2 games back of first-place Milwaukee and only three behind second-place Chicago.

Right-hander Kip Wells, who hadn't allowed a home run in his last 13 appearances, served up two in the first inning Tuesday but then gave up only two hits over his last five innings. Wells became the ninth consecutive Cardinals starter to work six or more innings.

"That has to be one of his most impressive starts because he put that inning behind him," manager Tony La Russa said.

Wells, 6-13 for the season, said, "You try to not to get caught up in the moment of getting hit around. There have been moments in the past when I couldn't stop the bleeding."

The biggest hit probably was a two-run, two-out double by Ryan Ludwick in the third inning when the Cardinals still trailed by three runs.

Every Cardinal who started hit safely, as did pinch hitter Aaron Miles. Wells, batting .318, singled twice and drove in two runs with his second hit, highlighting a six-run fifth inning.

CARDINALS 12, BREWERS 4: Jim Edmonds drove in three runs and had four hits as the Cardinals won for the sixth time in their last eight games. Seventeen of the 19 hits were singles. Rick Ankiel went 1-for-6, although the pitcher-turned-outfielder has hit safely in all five games since coming up from Class AAA Memphis.


--2B Adam Kennedy probably is out for the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in Southern California to repair a tear in the medial meniscus in his right knee. Kennedy, hitting .219, will be out a minimum of six weeks. The season has less than seven weeks to run.

--RF Juan Encarnacion, who hasn't started in five games, has been found to have some bursitis in his left knee, and manager Tony La Russa doesn't figure on having Encarnacion available to play much on the team's seven-game road trip. But the Cardinals are choosing basically to go with 24 players, at least temporarily, rather than replacing Encarnacion on the roster.

Encarnacion and La Russa met before Tuesday's game after Encarnacion had voiced his displeasure at not being played lately and, Encarnacion said, not being told why.

--RHP Kip Wells, winner of three of his last five decisions, set down 12 hitters before RF Rick Ankiel misplayed 3B Ryan Braun's sixth-inning drive into a triple.

--Rookie 2B Brendan Ryan had just one hit Tuesday, but he walked three times as the No. 9 hitter.

--The Cardinals are 6-4 in the 10 games in which the pitcher has batted eighth.

--CF Jim Edmonds had his first four-hit game in three years. "This is vintage Jim," manager Tony La Russa said.

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