Despite spending nearly three weeks in the bullpen, where he was sent after struggling for the better part of a month, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn moved into the top five in the National League in wins at 16 Wednesday night by blanking Houston for 6 1/3 innings in a 5-0 victory.
Lynn allowed just three hits and two walks and only once allowed the Astros two runners in the same inning. Since emerging from the bullpen, Lynn (16-7) has given up only one run in 12 1/3 innings.
"There was a major overhaul," said manager Mike Matheny, who wasn't all that enamored for a while with Lynn's performance or demeanor.
"He spent a lot of time with Chris Carpenter, talking about the finer points of your demeanor, of your tempo, how you hold yourself on the mound. He didn't go down to the bullpen and sulk. He tried to figure out how to make himself better."
Lynn, who admitted paying attention to his pitching elders about his mound comportment, said, "That's part of the learning process. You're going to have your times where you have bad outings. You've just got not to let everyone know that you're not feeling good. They see that and they're going to keep coming after you."
On the mechanical side, Lynn shortened his windup, not unnecessarily going over his head before continuing his delivery.
Both third baseman David Freese and catcher Yadier Molina belted his 20th home run, making this the first Cardinals team to have five players with 20 or more homers in a season. Carlos Beltran (29), Matt Holliday (27) and Allen Craig (21) already had reached that figure.
Matheny said, "That is a stat I didn't know. It's a pretty impressive statistic, with the long, rich history here."
In the big picture, Matheny said the presence of that many boppers didn't allow the opposition "a lot of room to relax and take a breath. We've put in people's minds that if you back off at any second, we've got quite a few guys who can put the ball over the fence."
Molina, further cementing his candidacy for National League Most Valuable Player, became the first Cardinals catcher to hit 20 or more homers in a season since Ted Simmons had 21 in 1980.
"What a jump he's made," said Matheny. "He's got everybody's attention all throughout the league now."