The Sweet Relief of a Cardinals Victory

Ah … that Cardinals win felt good, especially going into today’s much-needed off day.

smileyThe Cards wrapped up a 21-games-in-20-straight-days stretch with a 8-4 win over the Cubs — doing what was necessary to get back on track: win one game at a time.

It wasn’t necessarily easy, it wasn’t always pretty and Darwin Barney continued to impersonate Babe Ruth despite the fact his batting average is .215 but the end result was just what the Cardinals needed. Plus Edward Mujica finally got save no. 31 — more than two weeks after getting save 30 on July 25. And he even got to bat!

Several other Cardinals had at-bats that were better and more productive, thankfully. And it all began in the first inning. Three singles, a walk, a sacrifice fly and a stolen base added up to three runs. Offense!

One of those singles, an RBI and a stolen base (which manufactured the third run) all belonged to Matt Holliday, who went 2 for 3 on the day, extended his hitting streak to nine games and is now hitting .432/.543/.676 this month. (We’ll just ignore the GIDP.) Since coming off the disabled list July 27, he’s hit in every game but two of the 17 he’s played. (One of the games when he did not get a hit: Aug. 2 in Cincinnati, that 13-3 Cardinals win that I was at. Thanks a lot, Matt.)

Matt Carpenter also had another productive day, as he went 3 for 5 with an eighth inning RBI that gave the Cards a little breathing room. That’s two straight games with two hits for Marp, as he finally looks to be back on track.

The statement also can be applied to Allen Craig, who reached base every time up — he was 3 for 3 with an RBI, two walks and two runs scored.

More good news on offense? Jon Jay had one of those first inning singles and RBI, plus had another RBI via sacrifice fly in the seventh. David Freese also had a sac fly RBI and another via a ground-out — pretty productive for a guy with no hits for the game.

Then there’s Pete Kozma. He’s received some time off recently, as he too was among those not hitting very well. In fact, his last hit was in the Cards’ last win — before he put the Cards on top in the sixth with a single up the middle to score Tony Cruz.

Very nice to see, from all.

Also nice to see: another good outing from Joe Kelly. In his seventh start of the season, he once again pitched into the sixth inning. He allowed four runs, though only three were earned, and gave up five hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Two of those hits were singles in the sixth and he left the game with those two on and only one out.

Seth Maness relieved him, and it was once again a situation tailor-made for his trademark double play. But it wasn’t to be this time, thanks to Starlin Castro (who had three hits on the day) and — of course — Babe Ruth Barney. Tie game.

Yet that also allowed for Pete to be the hero, so it all worked out just fine in the end. (Or something like that.)

The victory combined with the Rockies sweep over the Pirates puts the Cardinals three games behind Pittsburgh — with The Biggest Series In The History Of The World – Part II commencing tomorrow night as they come to St. Louis.

It’s the first of three series between the two in the next four weeks, with one series left in Pittsburgh and one in St. Louis after this. We know the Pirates have had success against the Cards this season, but there are still nine games left to be played. Anything can happen. And after a little extra break, Adam Wainwright faces Charlie Morton tomorrow night starting at 7:15 p.m.

Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.

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