Welcome Back, Cardinals Offense! You’ve Been Missed!

More runs that the last four games combined. Same number of hits as the combined total for those previous games.

Yes, the 12-run and 19-hit performance by the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday was incredibly welcome. As was the 12-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners to not just win the series, but finish a very successful 7-2 home stand.


Yadi, we are just as happy as you are over yesterday’s game! (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Leading the charge on offense: Yadier Molina, who broke out of his 0-15 slump in a rather Yadi-is-such-a-BAMF manner: by launching a no-doubter home run into the Mariners bullpen in the second inning to put the Cards up 1-0. Yet his contributions for the day were only beginning.

He singled and scored in the fourth, singled and scored in the fifth and singled in the sixth. He did fly out to right field in the seventh. Oh — since Yadi is Yadi — he also threw out Dustin Ackley trying to steal to end the top of the fifth inning. Make that Dustin “the man who obviously learned nothing when he also was thrown out Friday night” Ackley.

Besides Yadi’s big day, it was a great one for Matt as well — all three of them.

Mr. Carpenter had a two-RBI single plus two other singles; Mr. Holliday had an RBI single, an RBI double and another single; and Mr. Adams had this two-run homer in the fifth (which is what had Yadi looking so delighted in the photo above) and a single plus a nice defensive play in the fourth.

It’s been a good September thus far for all three Matthews. Carpenter is hitting .393/.469/.589 with 22 hits, seven doubles, two triples and is being mentioned more and more often in the National League MVP conversations. Holliday has 13 RBI to go along with his offensive production that’s .300/.393/.440. And Adams, who’s playing regularly with Allen Craig out, has five home runs for the month along with eight RBI.

Yesterday was a painful day for David Freese, though only because he was twice hit by pitches but he did have a double to make him feel better. So did Daniel Descalso, which drove in Freese in the fifth, along with an RBI single the inning before. Jon Jay had an RBI single in the fifth to score Descalso, plus another single. Carlos Beltran also got into the RBI-single fun, driving in Matts Carpenter and Holliday for the 11th and 12th runs of the game.

Kolten Wong at last got his first Busch Stadium hit when he pinch-hit in the seventh. Speaking of firsts, Audry Perez made his major league debut by taking over for Yadi behind the plate in the eighth inning to become the 20th rookie to make his debut for the Cardinals this season. (Can you name the other 19?)

And even Ryan Jackson got into the game …

One thing not yet mentioned — the pitching. Shelby Miller had an interesting day, as Chad Thornburg detailed at Cardinals.com:

Miller limited Seattle to two runs — one earned — on three hits and two walks, but fell victim to a high pitch count, leaving the game with 97 pitches in the fifth.

The right-hander opened with a leadoff walk, then retired the next nine batters before the Mariners tied the game at 1-1 on two hits and a walk in the fourth. Seattle reached home safely once more in the fifth, but Daniel Descalso’s fielding error made it an unearned run for Miller.

“I thought me and [catcher Yadier Molina] did a really good job of getting ahead early in the counts the first three innings and then we kind of fell behind,” Miller said. “My fastball command slipped away a little bit and [I was] getting a lot of foul balls as well. It kind of raised my pitch count up, but at the same time I felt strong enough to go in the sixth.”

It all was good enough for his 14th win of the season, though, and it’s the highest win total by a Cardinals rookie since Dick Hughes had 16 wins in 1967.

Following Shelby were scoreless innings each from Randy Choate, John Axford, Sam Freeman and Trevor Rosenthal. Only Choate and Axford allowed hits — one each — and Choate struck out two while Rosenthal struck out one.

The win was the Cardinals 87th of the season, just one behind their regular season total for last year, and it put them on pace to finish at 95 wins with 13 games remaining. The Pirates also won yesterday and have an identical 87-62 record so things remain tied atop the NL Central. The Reds lost after being up 5-1 in the sixth inning to the Brewers, thanks to a 10th inning walk-off homer by Sean Halton, so they are 3 1/2 back.

Now the Cardinals begin their final road trip of the season, a seven-game trip that starts with four games in Colorado. They are 39-35 on the road this year, compared to 48-27 at Busch, but hopefully can do well at the high altitude of Coors Field tonight through Thursday before heading to the friendlier Miller Park next weekend.

If you had to pick your least favorite choice to start the first game at Coors, chances are it would be tonight’s starter: Lance Lynn. But he did improve much in his previous start last Wednesday, and he does have really good numbers in his career against Colorado: two earned runs allowed in 12 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts. We’ll just ignore his record on the road so far this season and hope for the best … right?

Game time is 7:40 p.m. Central Time, with Collin McHugh starting for the Rockies. And, to make you feel better about Lance Lynn, here’s what Yahoo has to say about him  (presumably for fantasy baseball purposes) as he starts in place of Jorge De La Rosa:

The 26-year-old has made one other start for the Rockies with disastrous results, surrendering six runs on nine hits over his five innings of work. Welcoming in the hard-hitting Cardinals offense to Coors Field seems like a recipe for disaster on Monday, so he should be avoided at all costs.

Maybe it will end up a 1-0 game — with Lance Lynn having a solo homer for the Cards. You never know …

Christine Coleman is the lead writer 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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