The St. Louis Cardinals began their important 10-game road trip in positive form by taking two of three from the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals won the rubber game of the series Sunday, cranking out 17 hits in an 8-2 win.
Though failing to make it out of the 6th inning, Adam Wainwright got his 13th win on the season. It was the 5th straight winning start for Wainwright. He was pulled with two outs in the 6th. The Reds had just scored two runs and were threatening more. Lefty Marc Rzepczynski, maligned at times this season for his inconsistent pitching, was brought in to face the potential tying run in hitter Brandon Phillips.
Rzepczynski coaxed a fly ball out from Phillips to end the inning. Though he faced only one batter Sunday, Rzepczynski made it count. As it turned out, that was just the start dominance by Cardinals bullpen. Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas all followed Rzepczynski with a scoreless inning each.
What continues to excite Cardinals fans, though, is the offensive production of the lineup. The Cardinals' 2-3-4 hitters combined for 10 hits on the day, with Matt Holliday contributing four to go with his four RBIs. Holliday took the National League lead in RBIs from teammate Carlos Beltran. Holliday now has knocked in 89 runs on the season.
Matt Carpenter, playing 3rd base Sunday in place of David Freese, also continued his terrific hitting. Carpenter, who has become a very useful jack-of-all-trades for manager Mike Matheny, had three hits to raise his average to .310.
The Cardinals next opponent on this trip will be the Pittsburgh. The Pirates dropped two of three from the Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend. They managed just five hits Sunday as the Brewers shut them out. The Cardinals, now a season-best 13 games over .500 at 70-57, are still in control of the National League's final playoff spot. They lead the Los Angeles Dodgers by a game and the Pirates by two games.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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