Sep 8, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha (52) hits for a two-run RBI single in the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals sweep Pirates, take first place in NL Central

The St. Louis Cardinals swept the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend series.

It could not have come at a better time. The Cardinals did so behind the pitching of Joe Kelly, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha.

Kelly has been one of the stars of this season after joining the rotation. Dating back to July 12th, Kelly is 8-0 with two no-decisions and a 1.70 ERA. How about that?

The Cardinals needed Wainwright back in proper form after dismal starts against the Reds in the last two weeks. Without Wainwright showing up in classic form, it would be harder to win down the stretch. In Saturday’s shutout against the Pirates, Wainwright pitched seven solid innings and struck out eight batters. Because of the two games against the Reds, he has likely taken himself out of the Cy Young Award discussion given his 3.03 ERA.

Wacha took to the mound on Sunday and pitched seven scoreless innings. The rookie is now 3-0 with a 2.72 ERA this season. He’s going to be a fixture in the rotation for years to come.

Pete Kozma had his first hit Friday night since August 11th and now has a 3-game hitting streak. Maybe he only hits during the month of September?

With Jake Westbrook now back, he will likely take a spot in the bullpen or make a spot start down the stretch.

What is impressive is that the Cardinals are hitting .328 with runners in scoring position this season. The all-time record is .311 for hitting with RISP. Even without Allen Craig, the Cardinals can still set a new record.

The Cardinals face teams with losing records from here on out, except for the Washington Nationals. The division is the Cards to lose at this point.

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