Matt Holliday and Adam Wainwright led the way for the Cardinals, as they took the rubber match and the series in Chicago. The two longest tenured Cardinals on the active roster combined for the 1-0 victory and moved the Redbirds back to just two games behind the Brewers.
Holliday gave his pitcher all the run support he would need in the top of the first. Holliday deposited a Kyle Hendricks pitch just over the ivey in center field for his 10th home run of the year. Holliday got the game-winning RBI for the 15th time this season, the major league lead, and leads the Cardinals with 53 RBIs.
There was no doubt that people were going to have to step up after the Molina injury to try and replace his production. Holliday has answered the call. The month of July has been his most productive thus far. Holliday’s .290 average is his best for a month since April and his .388 on-base and .565 slugging are his best of 2014. He has hit as many home runs this month, 5, as he hit the first three months of the season combined.
On the mound, Wainwright successfully rebounded from a horrendous start against the Rays on Tuesday. The Cardinal ace picked up his major-league-leading 13th win by throwing seven scoreless innings while scattering five hits and striking out three. This was Wainwrights 11th time in 21 starts in which he went at least seven innings and did not relinquish a run. After his rebound start, Wainwright’s ERA is once again back under two at 1.92.
The newest Cardinal on the roster, A.J. Pierzynski, got the start behind the plate for the second straight game. Despite the trepidation of many fans and his decision to wear black catcher’s gear, Pierzynski has not blown up the Cardinal clubhouse. He has never been revered as a defensive catcher but has looked capable behind the plate thus far. In his brief stint as the Card’s backstop, Pierzynski caught Shelby Miller’s best start in a month and a staff shutout. At the plate he has looked even more impressive. In his Cardinal debut, Pierzynski went 3-4 with an RBI. He followed it up with his first extra base hit as a Card on Sunday.
Also of note, Trevor Rosenthal picked up his major league best 32nd save of the season. Rosenthal was efficient on Sunday,setting down the Cubs with little resistance in the ninth and picking up his second save in as many days.
The Cardinals will wrap up the six-game road trip with a three-game set in San Diego. Lance Lynn will get things started on Tuesday against Tyson Ross. Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly are the other scheduled starters for the Redbirds.
Meanwhile, the Brewers will travel to Tampa Bay for a three-game series with the red-hot Rays.
The two division rivals will then continue their battle for first place in the Central with a three-game series at Busch beginning Friday.
(Photo Credit: Brian Kersey/ Getty Images)
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