While Matt Holliday labors through a stretch in which he's had just three hits with 30 men in scoring position and five hits in 34 at-bats at home, third baseman David Freese, who had an uneven start to his season both offensively and defensively, is on the upswing.
Freese started his day Thursday with his first homer of the season, a three-run drive off the right-field foul pole, and then doubled home three more runs. He became the first rookie to drive in as many as six runs in a game since 1957, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Freese hasn't yet displayed the power he exhibited in the minor leagues, but he is 9-for-17 (.529) with men in scoring position this year.
Manager Tony La Russa has been in Freese's corner since the 27-year-old won the third base job in the spring.
"I think he's got the necessary toughness to play in this league," La Russa said. "And I don't think he gets carried away, which is another good sign of a consistent player. I don't think he's in (the clubhouse) celebrating right now. He's got the eye of the tiger. He's ready to keep going.
"He's got a nice strike zone for a young hitter. And he really turns (the bat) loose. He's out there to make things happen. I'm not saying he's going to hit .300 ... but he's got all the makings of a winning player. That's the best definition there is."
The Cardinals' four-game sweep of
CARDINALS 10, BRAVES 4: RHP Adam Wainwright, originally signed by
--RHP Adam Wainwright (4-1) wasn't as sharp Thursday as he has been recently, giving up three runs in six innings before being removed after just 78 pitches. "It wasn't an easy day for him," manager Tony La Russa said. "He found a way because he's a competitor, but it was one of those days when he wasn't quite right."
--1B Albert Pujols, the three-time Most Valuable Player in the National League, got a complete day off. "It's like winning a doubleheader, right?" manager Tony La Russa said. "That's a nice lineup we put out there. Obviously, without Albert it's different."
--CF Colby Rasmus hit fourth and 3B David Freese hit fifth for the first time with 1B Albert Pujols out and LF Matt Holliday moved up to third. Both Rasmus, who leads the league in on-base-plus slugging percentage, and Freese reached base in all four of their plate appearances. Rasmus scored four runs and Freese drove in six. "Neither one of those guys acted like they were bothered by hitting in the RBI spots in a big-league game," manager Tony La Russa said.
--CF Colby Rasmus established a career best by scoring four runs. When he scores at least once, the Cardinals are 11-0 this year.
--3B David Freese's home run was
the second of his career and his first in St. Louis, where he went to high
school and college. He is the second player with that last name to homer for the
Cardinals. Gene Freese, also a third baseman, hit six homers in 1958 for
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Home run differential (24-9) for the Cardinals after the first three weeks of the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was
unbelievable. You're talking to a lot of people who seem perfectly normal but
who obviously have done some really bad things." -- 2B Skip Schumaker, after
visiting San Quentin State Prison near
--INF Felipe Lopez (strained right elbow) went on the 15-day disabled list April 26.