Say what you will about Ty Wigginton. (Most of you have said plenty.)
But for the second time in three games, Wigginton was directly involved in what ended up the game-winning play as the St. Louis Cardinals again beat the New York Mets by a score of 4-2.
And this time he did nothing but stand there.
A wild pitch by Mets reliever Scott Rice while Wigginton was pinch-hitting for Matt Adams, who’d been announced as the pinch-hitter for Seth Maness, allowed Daniel Descalso to race home from third to put the Cardinals up 3-2. Wigginton was then intentionally walked to bring Matt Carpenter to the plate.
Maybe Lance Berkman left a little bit of magic behind in that No. 12 jersey.
Or maybe the Cardinals are just on such a roll right now that everything is going their way.
And things are definitely working — the Cardinals have won 12 of their last 14 games, are 11-2 this month and have the best record in the majors.
Perhaps that is all because of Ty Wigginton’s mere presence …
Moving on, Shelby Miller wasn’t necessarily terrific in his follow-up performance to last Friday’s one-hit masterpiece yet he certainly was decent enough. He turned in a shutout performance of 5 2/3 innings that lowered his ERA to 1.40, tying him for the National League lead with Clayton Kershaw. He allowed four hits, walked one, hit Mets catcher John Buck and struck out six. In addition, he gave up Rick Ankiel’s first Mets hit: a second-inning single.
Miller left in the sixth with a 2-0 lead, thanks to Jon Jay doubling home Matt Holliday and then Tony Cruz — yes, Tony Cruz — singling home Jay in the fourth inning. It was just Cruz’s second start of the season, although Yadier Molina still didn’t get an entire game off.
Following Miller, Randy Choate threw one pitch to get the final out of the sixth inning and then two pitches to get the first out of the seventh. In came the usual master of efficiency, Seth Maness. And, unfortunately, that amazingly efficient streak came to an end.
John Buck, the first batter Maness faced, singled. But instead of a double play like we’ve gotten used to when Maness is pitching, Rick Ankiel instead launched a home run to center.
Ouch. Tie game. Which, as Matthew Leach pointed out, brought about mixed feelings for many of us. (Since the Cards ended up winning, though, good for Rick.)
The homer merely set the stage for the Wigginton heroics in the seventh, though. (Right?)
And it allowed that always weird situation where a reliever blows a lead yet ends up as the winning pitcher. Seth Maness now has three wins. (Cue the “pitcher’s wins are such a stupid stat” discussion.)
Things got a little more comfortable in the eighth when Yadi came on to pinch-hit for Cruz. He received an enthusiastic hand just when announced as the batter, which turned to even more cheers when he singled to drive in Matt Holliday and put the Cards up 4-2.
That set the stage for Edward Mujica to be Edward Mujica, which meant a one-two-three (with Ankiel as the final out) top of the ninth for save no. 11 in 11 chances.
As mentioned above, the win was the 11th of the month for the Cardinals and their 26th overall. Take a look at the National League Central standings this morning, though — very interesting indeed.
The Reds also have won eight of their last 10, five in a row and currently have the second-best record in the National League. The Pirates are tied with the NL West-leading Giants for the third-best NL record. And look how things are playing out below the Pirates — the Cubs have someone below them today — without the Astros even being in the National League anymore. Hey, Brewers! See you tomorrow!
In the meantime, and speaking of the Brewers, the Cardinals will try for their second four-game sweep of the season. Adam Wainwright takes on Jon Niese starting at 12:45 p.m.
Christine Coleman is the lead 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.