So should we be surprised that his first trip back to St. Louis resulted in him helping out his old team?
The Cardinals’ offense finally had a big night, scoring 12 runs on 11 hits with two home runs. It was the first time they reached double-digits in wins since Sept. 1, when they scored 10 — also off the Nationals. And it all began with Jon Jay singling to start the bottom of the first.
At that point, the Cards actually trailed 1-0 since Adam Wainwright allowed a Bryce Harper double and Adam LaRoche single in the top of the inning. But it didn’t take long to do away with that deficit.
The first out in the bottom of the first didn’t come until No. 7 hitter Daniel Descalso drove in the fourth run with a sacrifice fly. Following Jay’s lead-off hit were a walk to Matt Carpenter, singles by Matt Holliday and Allen Craig, Yadier Molina reaching on and driving in a run on a Ryan Zimmerman error and a bases-loaded walk to Carlos Beltran.
Once Descalso made the score 4-1, Pete Kozma — of course — drove in the fifth run of the inning before Waino ended the fun by grounding into a double play.
Yet Jay picked things right up again in the second, doubling and then advancing on a wild pitch by Jackson. Matty Carp walked for the second time and moved up to second on Edwin’s second wild pitch. Holliday drove in Jay on a ground-out, Craig scored Carp on a single and Yadi — well, Yadi was his usual BAMF self. He did this and made the score 9-1.
And still E-Jax remained in the game … until he then walked Beltran.
Nine runs, six hits, four walks, four outs from 15 batters faced. Yet Jackson said being in St. Louis made no difference in his approach:
“That didn’t have any effect at all,” Jackson said. “No pressure, no added emotions or anything like that.”
Sure it didn’t … until he started thinking about the Rally Squirrel, the World Series, the parades …
And though things settled in once Jackson left the game, the Cardinals did get back to hitting later in the game. In the bottom of the eighth, Tony Cruz led off with a double and scored on a double by Matty Carp. Then Shane Robinson, who replaced Matt Holliday after he was hit on the elbow while batting (and for some reason still in a blow-out game in the sixth inning), even got into the home run fun.
Know what else happens when the Cardinals have a 10-run lead? Even Ryan Jackson gets to play!
Back to the pitching side of things, Waino had a good evening with just the one run allowed in six innings. He allowed five hits and struck out five, lowering his ERA to 3.94 and earning his 14th win to push his record above .500 (14-13).
Joe Kelly allowed the other run on a homer, while Trevor Rosenthal and Fernando Salas finished up with an inning each.
The Cardinals win reduced their magic number for the second wild card spot to three. The Dodgers beat the Rockies 8-0, so they kept pace with the Cards with five games left to play. The Brewers, however, lost to the Astros 7-6 to reduce their wild card elimination number to one.
So the Cardinals will try to decrease the magic number again tonight, with Kyle Lohse facing Jordan Zimmermann. Game time is at 6:15 p.m. Houston and Milwaukee play at the same time, while the Rockies and Dodgers start at 8:10 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.