After a strong performance on Saturday by both Shelby Miller and the Cardinals’ offense, they looked to win the series against the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays.
On Sunday, the team looked more sharp than they had in quite awhile.
Not to be outdone by the pitching performance the day before, Jaime Garcia pitching over seven strong innings, only allowing three hits and no runs, and the bullpen did their part on the mound as well, shutting down the powerhouse Blue Jays.
St. Louis provided their own spark of power with home runs from Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta (becoming the first Cardinal this year to reach 10 home runs), and added to the fact every hitter in the lineup garnered at least one hit, every player contributed to the Cardinals’ 5-0 win against Toronto.
All the scoring damage was done in the 2nd and third innings, as St. Louis also outhit the Blue Jays 11 to four. Peter Bourjos started off the scoring by a sacrifice fly, scoring Jon Jay. Next, Tony Cruz, an underrated catcher and hitter, doubled to score veteran Mark Ellis. Carpenter followed by launching a two run shot to make it 4-0 Cardinals.
The following inning, Peralta hit his 10th homer to increase the lead to 5-0. From there, it was all Garcia, Pat Neshek, and Trevor Rosenthal. They helped increase the Cardinals’ pitching shutout streak to 18 innings as St. Louis moves two games over .500.
While the offense did little after the third, it was the second and third innings that showed the consistency and potential the Cardinals’ hitters possesses. Yadier Molina, while going 1-3 on Sunday, has still been in a slump on offense as of late. But he is still the best at his position, and will find his offensive groove again in the near future.
It’s the Cardinals first series win since May 23-25, and their first set of back-to-back wins since May 24-25 as well.
Toronto dropped to 38-26 on the season, yet still remain in first in the AL East division. The team known for their lineup of power hitters were held in check the past two games, as the Cardinals’ pitching staff increased their shutout record to 12 (leading MLB).
With the blend of young stars and veteran leaders, St. Louis is a team built for success. Their bottom half of the lineup played very well also, going 4 for 14 with RISP this series, and 13 for 44 overall, which is an improvement over how they had performed in the past.
After an off day tomorrow, St. Louis will take on the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Florida. The ace, Adam Wainwright, will get the start.
All in all, it was another key series win for the Cardinals, as they move a step closer while climbing the NL Central ladder to pass the Milwaukee Brewers.
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)