And what’s better than winning that ball game?
The St. Louis Cardinals did just that last night, sparking a 4-1 Holliday victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Oh, and of course Matt Holliday played a role. He’s been as hot as the weather lately. He was 3 for 4 in the game, driving in the Cardinals first run with a first inning double. In his last 16 games, he’s 33 for 64 with four home runs and 19 RBI.
Also hot? The bullpen. Seriously. The problems of last week are so … well, last week.
Maikel Cleto? Perfect seventh inning. Marc Rzepczynzki? Perfect eighth inning. (Honestly! And hurray!) Jason Motte? Not perfect — he gave up two singles with two outs — but no damage done and save No. 18.
The bullpen’s performance was definitely a sigh of relief for anyone worried when Adam Wainwright left after six innings with a 2-1 lead (which, of course, was everyone). Adam gave up a lot of hits, eight, but struck out seven and walked only one. Like his previous start last Friday night, he ran into trouble in the fifth inning. But, with the bases loaded and the one run in and Tyler Colvin up, he got out of the jam.
Speaking of jam, strawberry is the secret to Adam’s success on game days:
Normally, Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright spreads grape jelly on his PB & J sandwiches. Not on days that he takes the mound, however.
“Always strawberry on game day,” he said. “Like Tiger (Woods wearing) red on Sunday — jelly red on start day.”
Before his 17th start of the season Wednesday, Wainwright ate half his sandwich. On a night when the temperature was 103 degrees for the first pitch, he went back into the locker room during the game to polish off the other half.
Some other good Waino numbers from the Post-Dispatch:
After starting the season 0-4, Wainwright is now within a game of .500 at 7-8. He has allowed two or less runs and registered quality starts in four of his last five outings, excluding a 14-5 loss to Pittsburgh on June 29 when he gave up seven runs on 11 hits.
Wednesday’s collective performance capped a five-game transformation that follows the option of two relievers in the wake of last Friday’s grisly 14-5 loss to Pittsburgh. The relievers since have allowed nine hits and two earned runs in 14 2/3 innings while striking out 19 against only one walk.
A bullpen that flexed in April got overexposed in May and timid in June. It now appears to have rediscovered its aggression.
David Freese made the score a little more comfortable in the eighth when he hit a bases-loaded single to score the final two runs for the Cards.
Speaking of the Freeser, today is the last day to cast your ballots for the All-Star Final Vote — you only have until 3 p.m. Central Time. You can vote online here, text N2 to 89269 or, if you’re on Twitter, you can simply send a tweet with the #FreesePlease hashtag starting at 11 a.m. Central. (And #TakeJake if you’re hopping on the White Sox bandwagon as well.) Since Chipper Jones was already added to the All-Star team, Freeser was in first place yesterday. Do you part to make sure he stays there!
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email email@example.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.