Lance Lynn was once again excellent in five innings of shutout ball en route to his Major League leading sixth win of the season. He had little trouble getting offensive backing from his teammates who launched a total of five home runs in a 9-6 Cardinals victory over the D’backs.
Lynn lasted only five innings as his pitch count was rising due to a few too many walks (4) along with a bunch of strikeouts (7). He only allowed three hits and ended up tossing 91 pitches. I’m guessing he wished he was able to go out for the sixth as the bullpen almost coughed up a 7-0 lead.
Rafael Furcal led off the game with his second home run of the season. Diamondbacks starting pitcher Joe Saunders went on to experience his worst loss of the season from there. He allowed two more runs in the first on a David Freese RBI double and a RBI single from Yadier Molina.
As Lynn was taken out with a comfortable lead, the Cardinals bullpen did everything in their power to make it interesting in the home half of the sixth. J.C. Romero came in and allowed a led off single to Miguel Montero and then Cody Ransom deposited a homer into the left field seats. Romero walked Lyle Overbay, allowed a single to Aaron Hill and then a double to Ryan Roberts scoring both runners. At that point Mike Matheny had seen enough and summoned Fernando Salas into the game. He allowed back-to-back singles to A.J. Pollack and Geraldo Parra scoring Roberts. Salas finally got two outs via strikeout, but then allowed one more hit and run for good measure. He struck out Ransom to end the inning.
With the score now 7-6, the Cardinals offense took charge again as Allen Craig and David Freese took Bryan Shaw deep for a couple of insurance runs. Victor Marte, Marc Rzepczynski and Jason Motte held the D’backs scoreless the rest of the way. Motte earned his fifth save of the season.
- Furcal ended the night 3-for-5 with a double, HR and a SB.
- Craig is hitting .421 with 2 HR and 9 RBI in five games since returning from the DL.
- Craig was removed from the game after banging his knee, for precautionary reasons.
- Matheny said that Craig wasn’t moving that great running out the home run and would know more today.
- According to MLB.com’s Larry Bloom, Lance Berkman will try to return to the lineup on Friday.
Jake Westbrook toes the rubber tonight against Diamondback’s staff ace Ian Kennedy.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, the whole notion that the Cardinals want to be an agressive running team is all well and good, but this is a team with many power options.
This creates a double-edged sword for the Redbirds. No team should feel they are forced to wait for the long ball to score runs. But, at the same point, Matheny will need to be careful of when he uses the running game so he is not taking the bat out of anyone’s hands.
The Cardinals have a National League leading 37 home runs and trail the Atlanta Braves by two runs (163-161) for most in MLB. There is no doubt this team is going to score, not to mention that they have done it with an inconsistent Holliday (who seems to be heating up now) and with Berkman stuck on the DL.
By no means am I suggesting the Cards abandon the running game, I’m just saying that they need to be selective in their use of it. There won’t be anything more frustrating than watching Beltran get pegged at second base with Berkman, Craig or Freese set to hit next. This team can mash, but only if the running game doesn’t take them out of innings.
Tags: Aaron Hill Allen Craig Cardinals Carlos Beltran David Freese Fernando Salas Ian Kennedy J.C. Romero Jake Westbrook Jason Motte Lance Berkman Lance Lynn Matt Holliday Miguel Montero Mike Matheny Rafael Furcal St Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina