Cardinals Make Winning Look Easy

Photo by Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Some nights, wins are easy.

As opposed to Tuesday night, the St. Louis Cardinals made things look very easy in rolling to an 11-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. In the first inning alone, and before there were even two outs, the Cards surpassed their run total from the previous game.

Plus you know it’s a good night when your starting pitcher has a nine-pitch at-bat that results in a two-run triple in the sixth inning. And Tyler Greene — yes, TG himself — hits a home run.

There was plenty of honkin’ for Jaime Garcia when he was both on the mound and at the plate. He allowed one run in seven innings pitched, striking out three. He also gave up seven hits and walked three — but the four double plays turned by the infielders stopped any potential damage.

Garcia raised his record to 2-0. And while the stat-heads declare that pitcher wins are pointless, they are still counted as a statistic — and four of the Cardinals five starters now have 2-0 records. (Adam Wainwright is the only exception.)

Back to the first inning, the Cards jumped all over Mat Latos right away. Rafael Furcal led off with a double, which was followed by a walk to Carlos Beltran. Matt Holliday (one of the rare Redbirds struggling at the plate) flied out to right, which allowed Furcal to advance to third. After a Lance Berkman single to score Furcal, LB and Beltran executed a double steal (of which there is unfortunately no video on MLB.com — what’s the deal?) And both scored on a David Freese double to make it 3-0.

The next inning, the Cards continued the scoring. With Tyler Greene on third base, Beltran did this for his fifth home run of the young season. (And, as we all know and keep getting reminded over and over, That Guy Who Used to Play First Base has none yet.) My friend Roger, who was at the game, pointed out that Beltran is crushing the ball the way he did in the 2004 NLCS. Thankfully, though, for the right team this time.

Latos settled down for a while, until the sixth inning. Freese led off that inning with a single and, after a Yadi line-out, Jon Jay singled as well. Greene struck out, which brought up Jaime. Of the nine pitches Latos threw, Jaime fouled six of them off. And he did this on the last one — which was also the final pitch Latos made in the game.

That wasn’t the end of the Cards scoring, though. Greene hit a two-run homer, which you can see here and listen to Ricky Horton’s confusion over just where the ball went. (So, if you’re keeping track, TG HRs: 1. TGWUTPFB HRs: still 0.)

After a Shane Robinson double, Furcal had his fourth hit of the night — his second RBI single for the game.

Yes, some nights it is really easy.

But not everything on the night was good. Lance Berkman left the game in the fifth inning after reaggravating the torn calf muscle that kept him out of the lineup last weekend. This time he might be out a while longer, according to Jenifer Langosch:

“I think the DL is a possibility, for sure,” said Berkman, who reinjured his leg while trying to lunge for a fifth-inning popup in right-field foul territory

Berkman took a bad step during his pursuit, and the ball fell foul. He finished the inning in the field, but was pinch-hit for in the bottom half of the frame.

“I’m not saying they need to throw me on [the DL] immediately,” Berkman said. “But we waited a week, essentially, and it has kind of reared up again. The bottom line is that whatever you do, you want to make sure that once you do it that it is behind you, so it’s not something that you have to battle all year.”

The recurrence of this injury is not new territory for Berkman, who already knew the consequence of trying to rush back. He suffered a similar injury in July 2009, came back briefly and then aggravated his calf again. That second setback put him on the DL for 21 days.

So expect to see Matt Carpenter back at first base during today’s game.

Speaking of, the Cardinals will go for the sweep starting at 12:45 p.m. Central Time. Adam Wainwright will definitely be looking to bounce back from Friday’s start as he faces off against Bronson Arroyo.

Finally, perhaps you’ve noticed the absence of Aroldis Chapman pitching for the Reds this series. Tara Franey at C-ing Red has as well and is wondering just what the team’s strategy is for Chapman — read her post here.


Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.

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