Thanks to their tremendous lineup, the St. Louis Cardinals are the first team in the majors to reach 80 wins.
Fresh off a doubleheader sweep on Friday, the Cardinals will try to crank up their offense yet again when they continue their five-game series with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
Scott Rolen hit his 30th homer of the season in Friday’s nightcap to lead the Cardinals to a 5-3 win, which followed a 5-4 win in the opener.
“It’s the best power lineup the Cardinals have ever had,” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. “I shook all three guys’ hands. It’s a big day with Scott doing that. With the history the Cardinals have, to have our three guys have their place in that history, that’s very significant.”
Rolen is one homer shy of his career high, set with Philadelphia in 1998.
“It’s too bad the other two guys had to wait about a month for me to get there,” Rolen said of the 30-homer mark.
The Cardinals now hope to get another strong pitching performance for starter from Jeff Suppan. A winner of two straight starts, the 29-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 10-5 victory over Cincinnati on Monday.
“That was a clutch performance to get that deep into the game, also the first game of the series,” La Russa said. “That was outstanding.”
The Pirates, who won Thursday’s series opener 3-2, had won four straight against the Cardinals before getting swept Friday. They were playing the sixth of at least seven doubleheaders this year—the most for the team since they had eight in 1984.
“A couple of tough losses today,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’ll bounce back tomorrow.”
Pittsburgh has won nine of its last 14.