Yadi! Allen! Koz? Yes! And Cards Win!

It appears Yadier Molina likes being 31.

He also likes breaking out of a hitting slump in a big way, as he went 4 for 6 with 4 RBI, 3 runs scored and a home run on the day after his birthday.

Oh, and there’s no doubt he likes winning games. Pretty sure he doesn’t mind leading the National League in hitting either.

collage-ASBHe did all of those things on Sunday night, as the Cardinals entered the All-Star break with a 10-6 win over the Cubs and the best record in the major leagues as well as a 1-game lead over the Pirates in the NL Central. Yadi increased his NL-leading batting average to .341.

Of course, given that the Cards had 21 hits to go along with those 10 runs, Yadi was hardly alone in having a big night at the plate. Allen Craig increased his second-best-in-the-NL batting average to .333 by going 4 for 5 with a tie-breaking RBI in the top of the ninth inning. He’s also tied for second in the NL in RBI with 74.

Plus, there’s this: Pete Kozma — yes, Pete Kozma! — had 3 hits and 2 RBI.

Crazy, right? Just like the game itself.

It definitely was one for those who like offense, as the pitchers’ duel between All-Stars Adam Wainwright and Travis Wood didn’t exactly live up to the billing. Wood threw 100 pitches but only lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up 10 hits and 3 earned runs while Wainwright got one more out than that, threw 11 more pitches and gave up 4 earned runs on 8 hits.

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50 Things After 76 Cardinals Games

With 2 1/2 months and 76 games complete for the St. Louis Cardinals, there’s been plenty of good so far — and also some bad and ugly, especially in June.

So here are 50 things about the 2013 Cardinals, following yesterday’s (perhaps much needed) day off.

June 251. The Cardinals are 47-29 and have the best record in the major leagues.

2. They have a 1 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central. The two teams play 14 more times, including 5 games in 4 days from July 29-Aug. 1 at PNC Park.

3. So far the Cards are 2-3 against the Pirates. (I was there for two of the losses — sorry. It hopefully won’t be bad news that I’m also going to the 3-game Labor Day weekend series in Pittsburgh.)

4. The Cards have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and still have 10 games left against them.

5. They’ve won 6 and lost 3 against the Reds so far.

6. In June, the Cardinals are 12-11.

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Cardinals Fans, Doggies Make Everything Better

How to feel better when this 2013 Rangers-Cardinals match-up has been nothing like all those 2011 World Series clips we’ve seen? Puppies!

Well, doggies anyway — pictures of them, anyway, made all the more soothing because these are photos of the Cardinals with their doggies.

Yesterday was the annual Pooches in the Ballpark game, which prompted these photos from the Cardinals on their Facebook page yesterday.

Enjoy!

freeseYes, we’ve seen plenty of 2011 highlights of David Freese this weekend — and will see even more tonight with the game on ESPN. Not that anyone is complaining … or complaining about this picture, right?

 

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Yadi, Yadi, Yadi Leads The Cardinals Yet Again

Anyone tired of watching Yadier Molina do his thing?

Yeah, didn’t think so.

Yadi slide

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Yadi had two hits, two RBI and a very interesting run scored to help the St. Louis Cardinals win 5-2 over the Chicago Cubs. Oh, those hits also raised his National League-leading batting average to .355. And he is (thankfully) gaining ground on Buster Posey in the NL All-Star voting.

It was another good night for Yadi — actually, a good night for all of the Cardinals once the rain ended and the game actually began.

Shelby Miller was terrific yet again, although his start was cut short by cramping in his right leg. He left after 5 scoreless innings in which he gave up 2 hits, struck out 5 and walked 2. He also lowered his ERA to 2.08, which is third-best in the NL.

And Shelby joins Adam Wainwright with 10 wins and Lance Lynn with 9 to make this the first time since 2005 the Cards have had three pitchers with 8 or more wins in their first 70 games, according to Tom Orf.

Kevin Siegrist took over in the 6th inning and continued what he’s done since his debut: held the opponent scoreless. He retired four Cubs, including Anthony Rizzo on a great called third strike, and walked one. Siegrist has pitched 6 2/3 big league innings now and allowed just 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out 10.

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In Case You Missed It: Wacha, Whacker, Winner

As much as I wish my days always revolved around watching and covering the best team in baseball (I just love being able to say that legitimately!), some times it doesn’t.

Last night was one of those nights. I couldn’t rearrange my schedule for Wacha night 3.0, and it turns out, I missed a good one. So, if you’re like me and didn’t have a chance to catch the Cardinals beating up on the Mets live, here are the things you’ll want to know.

michael-wacha1. Wacha With The Win

Finally! (We all said collectively.)

It was only a matter of time before the hot new thing got his first Big League “W,” but it’s been more of a struggle than most thought it would be. Twice before, the Cardinals came close to winning on Wacha night in St. Louis. Instead, though, it was a road game that earned Mr. Wacha a win.

Yes, he struggled in the first inning, giving up two runs, three walks,  and throwing a third of his total pitch count before finally inducing a inning-ending ground out from Kirk Nieuwenhuis. But, the kid recovered and stymied the Mets offense after that.

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Fifteen Runs In Two Games? Yeah, A Good Cardinals Day

Whether you prefer watching the St. Louis Cardinals score a lot of runs or continuing more of this year’s stellar pitching, you were happy with Saturday’s doubleheader.

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In fact, with scoring 15 runs and giving up only 1 in the day’s sweep of the San Francisco Giants, every Cardinals fan should be plenty pleased.

Come on — even Ty Wigginton went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI in the second game.

Thankfully, that was far from the day’s highlight.

In game one, the Cardinals had a third inning that was very reminiscent of April 7 against the Giants in San Francisco — except this time the Cards only scored 7 runs in the inning off Matt Cain instead of 9. However, 16 runs in 2 of the innings he’s pitched against them this season? Pretty productive.

Twelve batters came to the plate in the third inning, with the dynamic duo of Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma getting things started with a double and a single. Shelby Miller then sacrificed Koz to second before Matt Carpenter got the scoring started. It continued when Jon Jay singled, Allen Craig singled and Matt Adams singled with three more runs scoring.

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