The Cardinals' inconsistent offense was doggedly consistent the last couple of games, scoring 21 runs on 30 hits in dismantling the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. Manager Tony La Russa said that new hitting coach Mark McGwire's wife, Stephanie, had gone to the hospital Monday preparing to deliver triplets and joked, "Maybe (the players) were all wishing him well the last couple of days. They gave him a round of applause afterward in the clubhouse."
McGwire certainly had been under some fire for the Cardinals' inability to maximize their offense, but things seem to be changing. Matt Holliday, who had been hitting well under .200 with men in scoring position, delivered a go-ahead, two-run double with the bases loaded in the fourth after Albert Pujols had been walked intentionally in front of him for the 12th time this season. That was Holliday's 11th hit in the last five games.
Pujols, over those same five games, has knocked in 10 runs and hit four homers. And Ryan Ludwick, who bats second ahead of Pujols and Holliday, is batting a National League-high .447 with men in scoring position after knocking in two runs on Monday.
"If you look at it, it's a nice-looking lineup," said La Russa.
No fewer than five Cardinals drove in two runs on Monday, including rookie Jon Jay, whose first hit with men in scoring position in 11 at-bats accounted for his first two runs batted in of his big-league career.
The Cardinals basically
CARDINALS 12, REDS 4: A 16-hit attack, including six doubles, was an unusual piece of largesse for LHP Jaime Garcia, who hadn't received even a run of support as he spun 11 scoreless innings over his previous two starts and had received only an average of three runs per game all season. Garcia, pitching three more strong innings after the game had been stopped by rain in the fourth, raised his record to 5-2.
NOTES AND QUOTES
INF Felipe Lopez has established himself as the Cardinals' leadoff man. He went 2-for-4 on Monday. Manager Tony La Russa said that he had fielded some questions as to why slick-fielding SS Brendan Ryan didn't start Monday because Ryan had started all three wins on the Cardinals' recent six-game trip. But La Russa said, "There's something to be said for Lopez leading off for our club. He really does a good job."
CF Colby Rasmus, who had fanned 14 times over his last seven starts and had played unevenly in the field, made a bad play in the first inning when he didn't charge a single hard enough and then belatedly threw wide to third, allowing the hitter to reach second. But, later, Rasmus singled and doubled, scored three times and drove in a run. "What I like about him is that he didn't dig a hole and bury himself," said La Russa. "He came out and did some really good things."
OF Allen Craig, hitting
.275 with two homers and 20 RBI at
RHP Adam Ottavino,
thought to be perhaps a one-game call-up, probably will get another start on
Saturday after his reasonably good performance Saturday in
The Cardinals tied the Reds for first place in the National League Central at 30-22. The Cardinals had been out of first place for the previous five days after leading nearly every day from the opening of the season.
The two runs allowed by LHP Jaime Garcia in the first inning were the first he had given up at home all year after working 19 scoreless innings.
By the Numbers:
34-Consecutive games (he played every inning) before rookie 3B David Freese was rested May 28.
Quote to Note:
"That's why those guys scout and I'm playing."
-1B Albert Pujols, referring to those baseball people who had sounded off on what had happened to Pujols' extra-base pop. Pujols hit three homers in a game for the fourth time in his career May 30.
RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return is uncertain.
RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He might return mid June.