Cardinals' magic number shrank to six for securing a wild-card spot when they
beat Houston 6-1 on Monday night. That they are in
this position is largely because they have beaten the lowly Astros four straight
times in the last week and nine times in a row overall.
Right-hander Lance Lynn, looking like
the All-Star he was in the first half of the season before he was dispatched to
the bullpen for nearly three weeks, pitched around some early trouble and posted
his third straight win. After going seven innings and giving up just one run,
Lynn is tied for
the staff lead in wins at 17 and has given up only two runs in his last 19 1/3
In the second inning, Lynn allowed two of the five hits he permitted and also saw
Jason Castro reach base after a strikeout and wild pitch. Castro ultimately
scored the Astros' only run.
"It was a little tough that one
inning," said catcher Yadier Molina. "But he found his way."
Molina again displayed his toughness.
After suffering back spasms when trying to avoid a pitch on Saturday and sitting
out Sunday's game in Chicago, Molina returned to the lineup and
cracked his 21st home run.
"He amazes me," said manager Mike
Matheny. "He heals good."
Then, Matheny smiled and said, "He
lies really good about what he's really feeling like. He has a pain tolerance
that's pretty impressive."
Left fielder Matt Holliday, who had to
come out of Sunday's game because of back issues, fanned three times as he
appeared to be jabbing at the ball but then delivered a two-run single in the
seventh inning. Oddly, Holliday's hit was the only one in 19 at-bats from the
top four hitters in the lineup -- Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran, Holliday and Allen Craig.
The Nos. 5 through 8 hitters --
Molina, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma -- were 8 for 13. Kozma
hit his second homer in two days in the second inning and Descalso hit his
club-high sixth triple and scored in the same inning.
3B David Freese was out
of Monday's game basically before he was in it. Freese's name was on the lineup
card handed to the umpires, but manager Mike Matheny did not know yet that
Freese had suffered a sprained right ankle while exercising in the indoor
batting cage. Freese, who has had surgeries on both ankles, felt enough pain for
him to have X-rays, but results were negative. Still, he will be out a few days.
Matheny said, "Anytime missed is not good for him."
INF/OF Matt Carpenter
stepped in for injured 3B David Freese (right ankle sprain) and had two singles
and a walk. The versatile Carpenter had had two hits as the right fielder the
CF Jon Jay made another
highlight-reel catch. He froze for a moment on Houston C Jason Castro's liner in
the fourth inning before leaping to make a play. The ball glanced on his glove,
but as Jay tumbled to the ground, he kept the ball alive in his bare hand, lost
his grip and then snatched it back with his bare hand as he fell onto his back.
"The catches he makes continue to make you notice him," said manager Mike
RHP Lance Lynn's 6-1 win
over Houston on
Monday raised the Cardinals' record to 20-8 in his starts. He is
0 - Errors this season by
CF Jon Jay, a Gold Glove candidate.
Quote to Note:
"I see him with a whole
- Manager Mike Matheny on
RHP Lance Lynn, who has won three straight starts, giving up only two runs in 19
1/3 innings since he was sent to the bullpen for nearly three weeks.
RHP Jake Westbrook
(strained right oblique) was injured Sept. 8, and he probably is out for the
rest of the regular season. He encountered discomfort in a bullpen session Sept.
22 in Chicago
and had to stop throwing.
LF Matt Holliday (back)
came out of the Sept. 23 game in the ninth inning, but was back in the lineup
the next day.
C Yadier Molina (back
spasms) did not play Sept. 23 but was back in the lineup the next
1B Lance Berkman (sore
right knee) underwent additional surgery Sept. 14 and was thought to be out for
the season, but he said he still wants to try to play.
SS Rafael Furcal (torn
ligament in right elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 31 and is
out for the season. He might need Tommy John surgery, but he got a platelet-rich
plasma injection on Sept. 4 in the hopes of avoiding having to go under the
knife, but as of Sept. 19 he still hadn't been able to do any baseball
RHP Kyle McClellan (torn
labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 18 due to a
strained right elbow, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 30. He
threw on flat ground for the first time July 3, but he subsequently felt
shoulder pain. He had season-ending shoulder surgery July
Link to boxscore: St. Louis 6 at Houston 1