Diaz honors Jose's legacy in grand fashion

Cards shortstop hits emotional slam after spending time with Fernandez's family

Diaz honors Jose's legacy in grand fashion

ST. LOUIS -- After spending much of Monday in Miami, where he mourned the loss of Jose Fernandez alongside family and close friends, Aledmys Diaz returned to St. Louis ready to pay tribute to the childhood friend who died early Sunday in a boating accident.

He hung a No. 16 jersey in the Cardinals' dugout as a tangible sign of support for a grieving family and community. And then, carrying with him the weight of personal loss and professional expectation, Diaz produced not only one of the most poignant moments of the Cardinals' season, but also one of its biggest hits. His fourth-inning grand slam, the first of Diaz's career, helped lift the Cardinals to a 12-5 victory over the Reds and, Diaz hoped, also the spirits of so many still hurting.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz's emotional slam lifts Cards' WC hopes

St. Louis hammers 5 homers in pursuit of postseason spot

Diaz's emotional slam lifts Cards' WC hopes

ST. LOUIS -- With one mighty and emotional swing, Aledmys Diaz paid honor to a lost friend and jolted the Cardinals, who rode that spark to a rout of the Reds to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race. Diaz's grand slam, one of five homers the Cardinals hit on Tuesday, and a gutsy performance from Adam Wainwright boosted the club to a 12-5 victory at Busch Stadium.

The win kept the Cardinals one game behind the Giants for the second NL Wild Card spot. The Mets remain 1 1/2 games ahead of St. Louis, which has five games left on its regular-season schedule.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Q&A: Mozeliak reflects on 2016, looks ahead

Cardinals GM addresses Matheny, Moss, team's defense

Q&A: Mozeliak reflects on 2016, looks ahead

ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals entered Tuesday one game out of playoff positioning, an afternoon session that general manager John Mozeliak held with the media took on an end-of-year feel, as many of the questions either elicited reflection on the season or thoughts about how the team will retool for 2017.

Amid the back-and-forth, Mozeliak offered a vote of confidence in manager Mike Matheny, assured that the team's defensive makeup will be a priority this offseason and discussed where things stand regarding a possible extension for Brandon Moss.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Leake faces former team amid Cards' Wild chase

Leake faces former team amid Cards' Wild chase

Free-agent rotation acquisition Mike Leake has not had a sterling second half for the Cardinals. As their postseason hopes hang in the balance, they need that trend to change against his former team, the Reds, on Wednesday night in St. Louis.

Leake is 9-11 with a 4.72 ERA as he enters his 30th start, but his ERA is a run higher in the second half at 5.79. In three starts for the Reds -- whom he pitched for from 2010-15, the right-hander is 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA and 24 hits and 16 earned runs over just 17 1/3 innings.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Tiebreaker scenarios for Wild Card berths

As the 2016 season winds down the six divisions are pretty much decided. However, the two Wild Card races are completely up in the air, and there is a good chance we end up seeing at least one tiebreaker game played on Monday, Oct. 3.

With that in mind, here is a breakdown of the likeliest tiebreaker scenarios for the American and National League Wild Cards.

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals waiting to pick Saturday starter

Cardinals waiting to pick Saturday starter

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals appear likely to wait until the final hours before selecting their starter for Saturday, as that decision will hinge largely upon how much work various pitchers get in the coming days.

The club finds itself with a starting pitching shortage after Monday's 15-2 debacle. Jaime Garcia, who had just moved back into the rotation, lasted one inning. Behind him, former starters Michael Wacha and Luke Weaver combined to allow 12 runs in 3 1/3 innings.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Time short for Holliday's return this season

Cardinals hope to activate outfielder from DL in final week

Time short for Holliday's return this season

ST. LOUIS -- Though Matt Holliday has not given up on the possibility of returning this week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak acknowledged it was difficult to envision a scenario in which the veteran left fielder contributes before the end of the regular season.

Holliday has not hit on the field since his surgically repaired right thumb turned up sore and swollen after he faced reliever Mike Mayers in a 15-minute batting practice session Friday. Since then, Holliday's only swing work has come in the indoor batting cage.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molina couldn't keep from laughing at Adams' catch

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Molina couldn't keep from laughing at Adams' catch

Baseball gloves are made to make catching things easier. But sometimes those gloves act up, behaving more like the basket-like cestas in jai alai.   

Facing the Reds on Monday night, Adam Duvall popped up a ball down the first-base line. Matt Adams came racing in to make the grab. After a brief interlude when gravity appeared to give out, the ball dropped back into Adams' glove and Yadier Molina couldn't keep a straight face. 

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Cards face pitching questions in playoff race

Garcia lasts just 1 inning in loss; Saturday's starter up in air

Cards face pitching questions in playoff race

ST. LOUIS -- Just hours before the opening game of the Cardinals' final homestand went terribly awry, manager Mike Matheny laid out what he hoped would be. In order to see "a great finish here at home," he said, St. Louis, still in the thick of the National League Wild Card race, would need to play "just solid all-out baseball."

That optimism was snuffed out by what followed, as the Cardinals endured arguably their worst performance in this already uneven season. A 15-2 loss to the Reds not only precluded the Cardinals from moving into a tie for the second Wild Card spot, but it foiled an opportunity to generate momentum leading into this final week of the regular season.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' playoff hopes take hit with loss to Reds

Cards' playoff hopes take hit with loss to Reds

ST. LOUIS -- Back at Busch Stadium with a chance to pull even with the Giants and inch closer to a sixth straight playoff berth, the Cardinals instead elicited boos from the typically affable home fans with one of their ugliest performances of the season. They looked little like a team ready for postseason play in a 15-2 loss to the Reds to open a seven-game homestand on Monday night.

The Cardinals fell further back in the National League Wild Card race that the Mets still lead with six days remaining in the regular season. New York, which also lost on Monday, holds a 1 1/2-game lead over the Cardinals. The Giants, who were idle, sit one game ahead of St. Louis.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz attends service for his friend Fernandez

Cardinals shortstop grew up with late Marlins pitcher in Cuba

Diaz attends service for his friend Fernandez

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz traveled to Miami on Monday to attend a private service honoring Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday. Diaz returned and was on St. Louis' bench during a 15-2 loss to the Reds in the series opener.

Diaz and Fernandez grew up doors apart on Eighth Street in Cuba's Santa Clara neighborhood, where Diaz's father and uncle first encouraged Fernandez to play baseball. The two families remained close and eventually both settled in South Florida.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter bothered by soreness in right finger

Holliday looking to continue rehab against live pitching

Carpenter bothered by soreness in right finger

ST. LOUIS -- While struggling to produce since returning from an oblique injury in early August, Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter has acknowledged, at various points, that timing issues and trust in his oblique have held him back. Perhaps, now, there is another contributing factor in play.

Manager Mike Matheny divulged on Monday that Carpenter has been bothered for "a while" by a right middle finger injury. Discomfort in that finger has hurt Carpenter's ability to finish through some of his swings and has sapped him of some grip strength. After noticing Carpenter wiggling his finger to try and get feeling back in it after an eighth-inning single on Sunday, Matheny determined that the infielder needed at least one day off.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards remain 3rd in Wild Card after stalling vs. Lester

Cards remain 3rd in Wild Card after stalling vs. Lester

CHICAGO -- Jon Lester won his National League-leading 19th game and Addison Russell notched his 94th RBI but Sunday night belonged to David Ross, who was greeted by standing ovations every at-bat, and responded with a solo home run, a few tears and a tip of his cap.

Ross and Lester combined to lead the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals to set a franchise record in home wins at Wrigley Field at 57. It also was Chicago's 99th win overall, tops in the Major Leagues.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Clock ticking on struggling Moss and Co.

Clock ticking on struggling Moss and Co.

CHICAGO -- Brandon Moss is done tabulating the moral victories. Rather, the Cardinals' first baseman sees a shrinking schedule offering him limited time to reverse the worst skid in his 10-year career.

Moss, whose hitless night on Sunday leaves him with five hits this month, may be the extreme example within an exasperating offense, but his search is also the Cardinals' collective quest. With their offense stymied by National League Cy Young Award contender Jon Lester, the Cardinals dropped their series finale at Wrigley Field, 3-1, to fall back into third place in the NL Wild Card race. They trail the Giants by a half-game, the Mets by 1 1/2. Seven games remain.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

During dugout interview, Wainwright revealed he is Godzilla

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During dugout interview, Wainwright revealed he is Godzilla

Adam Wainwright gave an in-game interview from the Cardinals' dugout during their 10-4 win over the Cubs in which he talked about his teammate Alex Reyes on the mound and then, nearing the end, revealed that he is not only the Cardinals' ace but also the giant lizard monster Godzilla.

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Hot Cards rout Cubs; 1/2-game back in WC

Hot Cards rout Cubs; 1/2-game back in WC

CHICAGO -- Just when the Cardinals needed a win to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race, it was Alex Reyes' turn to pitch. Stephen Piscotty smacked a solo home run and Yadier Molina drove in four runs to back Reyes and power the Cardinals to a 10-4 victory on Saturday at Wrigley Field over the Cubs and slow their drive for 100 wins.

"They're a really good hitting ballclub," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the Cardinals, who evened the season series at nine wins apiece with one game remaining. "They're very good offensively. They have a lot of veterans on the team. They're very formidable."

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Big first inning sets tone for hot-hitting Cards

Using 140th different lineup, St. Louis opens game with four runs

Big first inning sets tone for hot-hitting Cards

CHICAGO -- Still without a static batting order as the season nears its end, manager Mike Matheny produced his 140th different lineup on Saturday in an effort to jumpstart a recently unreliable offense. And that alignment struck a sweet spot.

After dropping seven of their past 12 games and totaling seven runs in those losses, the Cardinals broke out in a 10-4 victory over the Cubs to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race. Later on Saturday, San Francisco won and New York lost; the two are now tied for the top spots.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sloppy start downs Leake, Cardinals in opener

Bullpen tosses 4 2/3 scoreless innings, but Cubs score four in first

Sloppy start downs Leake, Cardinals in opener

CHICAGO -- The sort of lapses that have constrained the Cardinals this season surfaced again in a 5-0 loss to the Cubs that left the Cards to spend another day stuck where they started it -- lagging behind the Giants and Mets in the National League Wild Card standings.

Friday's series opener at Wrigley Field unraveled in a first inning that saw Mike Leake throw 31 pitches and closed with the Cardinals down by four. There were mishandled plays in the field, key pitches not executed and two wild pitches. It was a sloppy start from which the Cards never recovered, despite the bullpen's scoreless performance.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz mourns death of childhood friend Fernandez

Diaz mourns death of childhood friend Fernandez

CHICAGO -- They grew up just doors apart in the Cuban neighborhood of Santa Clara, where, there on Eighth Street or at the sandlot field two miles away, Aledmys Diaz and Jose Fernandez cultivated their love of baseball. The boys were childhood buddies, both taught the game by Diaz's father, Rigoberto, and uncle, Nelson, long before they defected with Major League dreams or shared a clubhouse as National League All-Stars.

On Sunday, Diaz awoke to the jarring news that they'd never play this game together again. Fernandez was killed in a tragic Miami boating accident that also took the lives of two others. He was 24.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards shut out, remain behind in Wild Card race

Cards shut out, remain behind in Wild Card race

CHICAGO -- One week after clinching the National League Central title, the Cubs are focused on fine-tuning some things in preparation for the postseason. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have to beat their division rival if they hope to secure an NL Wild Card berth, and they were unable to do so on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Jake Arrieta struck out 10 over seven innings in the Cubs' 5-0 victory over the Cardinals, their 15th shutout of the season. It was Chicago's 98th win, the most in a single season since winning 98 in 1945, which was the last time the Cubs played in the World Series. Though they lost, the Cardinals remained a half-game behind the Giants, who lost to the Padres, for the second NL Wild Card spot.

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Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who would start in Wild Card Game?

Beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers questions from St. Louis fans

Inbox: Who would start in Wild Card Game?

ST. LOUIS -- Ten games. Three teams. Two spots. All even. That's the National League Wild Card race in a nutshell, a race that the Cardinals climbed back into with a pair of crucial victories in San Francisco and a series win in Colorado. Thursday is the club's last off-day of the regular season before beginning its final push toward what the organization hope ends with a sixth straight postseason berth.

Let's dig into another set of mailbag questions to pass the time.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards overpowered, can't gain Wild Card edge

Cards overpowered, can't gain Wild Card edge

DENVER -- German Marquez was exceptional in his first Major League start, and Nolan Arenado's grand slam powered the Rockies past the Cardinals, 11-1, at Coors Field on Wednesday. The loss kept the Cardinals tied with the Giants and Mets for the two National League Wild Card spots.

Marquez baffled the Cardinals over five frames, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out three and walked one, with the only damage coming on Kolten Wong's second-inning sacrifice fly. Marquez was especially effective when he kept the ball low; he recorded six groundouts and two flyouts.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Wednesday.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Cardinals on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Waino aiming at strong finish, postseason run

Waino aiming at strong finish, postseason run

DENVER -- Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright was smiling. He's feeling good, finally.

How good? So good that in the aftermath of picking up the victory in the Cards' win at Coors Field on Tuesday night, Wainwright began a campaign.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals, Rockies battle it out in the form of a pregame standoff

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Cardinals, Rockies battle it out in the form of a pregame standoff

Before Wednesday's Cardinals-Rockies game had even begun, St. Louis had already tallied a win. Well, when it comes to anthem standoffs, anyway. Perhaps inspired by the Brewers and Reds last week, or, you know, any anthem standoff in the past decade, the Rockies' Carlos Estevez and the Cardinals' Jose Martinez heard the song end … and then they just kept standing there. 

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Waino's 4 RBIs help Cardinals tie for top WC

Waino's 4 RBIs help Cardinals tie for top WC

DENVER -- Behind a career-high four RBIs from Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals moved into a three-way tie for the top National League Wild Card spot with a 10-4 victory over the Rockies on Tuesday night at Coors Field. St. Louis, San Francisco and the New York Mets are all 80-71 with 11 games left in the regular season.

"I've been saving my RBIs up for this year," Wainwright said. "I'm doing whatever it takes to help this team win. In a park like this, in a place that no lead is safe, if a pitcher can go up there and push something across and help the team get a run, get four runs, whatever, you're doing your job."

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Tuesday.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Cardinals on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards see the best of Waino against Rockies

Righty's all-around performance helps club tie for top Wild Card

Cards see the best of Waino against Rockies

DENVER -- Leave it to the high-altitude hitters' paradise of Coors Field to help Adam Wainwright find himself on top of his game. Making use of the best curveball he's thrown all season, Wainwright earned his 12th victory on a career night offensively in a 10-5 win over the Rockies on Tuesday.

St. Louis also has a three-way share of the lead in the National League Wild Card standings.

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals want Diaz to rest his throwing arm

Rookie shortstop still working back from right thumb injury

Cardinals want Diaz to rest his throwing arm

DENVER -- Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz's stellar rookie season hit a bit of a speed bump in his return from the disabled list prior to Monday's series opener against the Rockies. Manager Mike Matheny noticed something was off with Diaz's throws from short and figured he could use a day off as Diaz continues to recover from a fractured right thumb.

"When you have surgery on your throwing hand, you can do arm strengthening exercises, but you can't replicate the throwing itself," Matheny said. "It takes time, just like a pitcher -- you got to build up. The same thing goes with being a position player, having to have your arm in throwing shape. To do it day in, day out, that's really [what the trainers] are keeping their eye on more than anything else, much more so than the hand."

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Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bottom of order comes up big for Cards

Gyorko, Grichuk and Martinez produce four runs, score five

Bottom of order comes up big for Cards

DENVER -- Sometimes runs can come from unexpected places, but for the Cardinals, the bottom of their order is still potent.

The Nos. 7-8-9 hitters -- second baseman Jedd Gyorko, center fielder Randal Grichuk and starter Carlos Martinez -- led the way offensively in the Cards' 5-3 win over the Rockies on Monday, scoring all five runs.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards hold off Rox, tie for 2nd Wild Card

Cards hold off Rox, tie for 2nd Wild Card

DENVER -- Carlos Martinez powered himself to his career-high 15th win with a fourth-inning double, as the Cardinals topped the Rockies, 5-3, at Coors Field on Monday and moved into a tie for the second National League Wild Card spot.

The Cards joined the Giants -- who lost to the Dodgers -- top the second Wild Card, while the Mets lead the first Wild Card by one game.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.