September 24, 2015

Lynn back on track, Carpenter twice long in Cards rout of Reds

ST. LOUIS--BUSCH STADIUM--A whole bunch of things went right for the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night in a 10-2 rout of the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium in front of 43,729.

Foremost for the Cardinals was the hope starter Lance Lynn (12-10) could get back on track. Lynn hadn't won in Busch Stadium in his last four starts there. Wednesday night was different, Lynn tossing six innings of scoreless baseball, allowing three hits, walking none, and striking out four.

Lynn had boatloads of support, starting in the Cardinals' second when recently returned Randall Grichuk blasted a solo home run to left-center field to put the home team on the scoreboard first at 1-0.

The Cardinals would add three runs in the next set of at-bats, the third inning, when Matt Carpenter clouted the first of two home runs on the night, both two-run shots, this first homer to right field with Tony Cruz on base to increase the Cardinals' lead to 3-0. St. Louis would tack on one more run on an RBI double to right field by Matt Holliday, his first game back after and extended absence due to a leg injury. Tommy Pham scored from first base on Holliday's double, sliding in safely at home plate to push the Cardinals ahead 4-0.

Lynn helped himself with the bat in the bottom of the fifth with a single, allowing him to trot home ahead of Carpenter, who blasted his second home run of the night, this time to right-center field, St. Louis building a 6-0 lead Lynn would take back to the mound.

The Cardinals' onslaught of power would end Reds' starting pitcher, Brandon Finnegan's night, having given up all six of the St. Louis runs as earned. Finnegan allowed seven hits, three of those home runs, even though he walked only one and struck out seven.

The scoring would continue for St. Louis in the bottom of the sixth off Reds' reliever, Collin Balester, starting with a two-RBI double to left field off the bat of Mark Reynolds, scoring both Stephen Piscotty and Grichuk, making it 8-0. Matt Adams would then single home Reynolds to push the Cardinals ahead 9-0.

The Reds' finally spoiled a Cardinals' shutout in the top of the seventh with a Joey Votto solo blast to center field off of St. Louis reliever, Tyler Lyons, denting the Cardinals' lead at 9-1.

St. Louis answered in the bottom of the seventh a longball off of Reds' reliever, Jumbo Diaz, when the Cards' Peter Borjous blasted a solo homer to center field, making it 10-1.

Cincinnati tallied the last run of the game in the top of the ninth when Ivan De Jesus tripled home Skip Schumaker to create the game's final score of 10-2.

St. Louis maintains their four-game lead in the National League Central over the Pittsburgh Pirates while posting a new magic number of seven.

The Chicago Cubs fell to the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-1, losing a game to both Pittsburgh and St. Louis, now seven back in the division and three games behind Pittsburgh in the race for the N. L. Wild Card.

Pittsburgh overcame the Colorado Rockies Wednesday night with a football score of 13-7, clinching a playoff berth that yet leaves a lot of race left. The Bucs could end up anywhere from winning the Central to holding on to become the second Wild Card with no home field advantage from that point on. Either way, and including taking the top Wild Card spot, Pittsburgh is in the post-season. It's worth noting that only the Cubs can catch Pittsburgh at this point.

Yet with hope for that last Wild Card spot are the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals.

As far as the Cardinals are concerned, their eye is on the prize of taking the Central with the best record in baseball, giving them home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.