Kelly coming into his own in Double-A

Catcher is hitting a career-high .294

Kelly coming into his own in Double-A

For the first time since he switched positions two seasons ago, current Double-A Springfield catcher Carson Kelly is finding himself again in the batter's box. He attributes a better mental approach at the plate to his improved hitting numbers this season, which were enough for a spot on the Texas League North Division All-Star team.

He had his worst hitting season of his Minor League career at Class A Advanced last year in the Florida State League with a career-low .219 average and a career-high 64 strikeouts in 108 games.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fans must start voting now to get in all 35 ballots

Final-week stretch crucial to deciding who will be in starting lineups

Fans must start voting now to get in all 35 ballots

The 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot is down to its final week, and here are 10 important things to know as you continue deciding starters for the 87th All-Star Game presented by MasterCard on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.

1. Simple All-Star math: 7 x 5 = 35 ballots cast. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET next Thursday. Fans can submit up to five ballots per any 24-hour period, so Friday is the start of an important window to make sure you use 'em and don't lose 'em.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards ride 5-run 6th to sweep of Cubs

Cards ride 5-run 6th to sweep of Cubs

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals made sure the Cubs know they're not going to hand over the National League Central without a fight. Matt Carpenter hit a two-run double and Aledmys Diaz smacked a two-run homer to back Michael Wacha in St. Louis' 7-2 victory over Chicago on Wednesday and complete a sweep in front of 41,058.

The Cubs now have lost three in a row, matching their longest losing streak of the year, and the Cardinals pulled within 9 1/2 games in the standings. This is the first time St. Louis has swept a three-game series at Wrigley Field since May 1988.

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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.

Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Cardinals on Wednesday.

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

Wacha bests Cubs for long-awaited win

Righty snaps 7-game losing streak with solid outing in finale

Wacha bests Cubs for long-awaited win

CHICAGO -- Michael Wacha snapped the longest active losing streak in the Majors against a team he has struggled against.

Wacha allowed two runs and three hits, struck out five and walked two in 6 2/3 innings as the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 7-2, Wednesday to complete their first three-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 1988.

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Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals' bats solve ace Arrieta

Offense runs Cubs righty's pitch count up on way to victory

Cardinals' bats solve ace Arrieta

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals solved Cubs ace Jake Arrieta by driving up his pitch count and getting into the bullpen to beat baseball's top team, 7-2, on Wednesday.

Arrieta departed after throwing 106 pitches and allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits in five innings, tying his shortest outing of the season.

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Sarah Trotto is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Littrell among top prospect performers Thursday

Top Twins prospect dominant over eight scoreless; Yankees' No. 2 continues to show off power

Littrell among top prospect performers Thursday

Jose Berrios was absolutely dominant in Triple-A Rochester's 2-0 win over Columbus. Berrios (Twins' No. 1) is the No. 15 overall prospect, and after his electric outing, it's very clear why he's so highly regarded.

The 22-year-old needed just 88 pitches, 60 strikes, to throw eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out nine.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yadi stays on track to start in All-Star Game

Catcher maintains lead over Giants' Posey in latest update

Yadi stays on track to start in All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS -- Yadier Molina continues to hang on as the leading vote-getter at catcher for the National League in the race to start at the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard. The update of NL vote totals for the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot released Wednesday had Buster Posey second again behind Molina.

Molina's lead narrowed to 75,413 votes over Posey since last week. The Cardinals catcher hit .211 over the past week.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tilson, Bader among top prospect performers Wednesday

Nationals' No. 2 fills out stat sheet in win; top Pirates prospect unhittable once again

Tilson, Bader among top prospect performers Wednesday

Trea Turner can do it all, and he put the bulk of his skill set on display in Triple-A Syracuse's 6-4 win over Pawtucket on Wednesday. Turner, hitting .292 in 67 games, drew two walks and went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs.

The Nationals' No. 2 prospect (No. 9 overall) brought in a run when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the second inning, then later delivered the game's decisive blast, a two-run double in the top of the ninth.

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William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wainwright keeps Cards' rotation rolling

Ace earns win over Cubs with quality start of 6 2/3 innings

Wainwright keeps Cards' rotation rolling

CHICAGO -- They had strong starting pitching last week, too, but the Cardinals had nothing to show for it. After dropping all five games of the last homestand to set a season high for consecutive losses, St. Louis came into Wrigley Field this week wondering when those solid pitching performances would pay off.

As it turned out, it didn't take very long. The Cardinals have gotten two more solid starts against the Cubs and won both games by a run. A day after Jaime Garcia earned a win in the opener, Adam Wainwright did the same with a quality start of his own Tuesday night, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings in the Cardinals' 4-3 victory.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Waino wins in Wrigley as Cards hammer HRs

Waino wins in Wrigley as Cards hammer HRs

CHICAGO -- It was payback time for the Cardinals. After losing four of six games at Busch Stadium to the Cubs, the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright spoiled the party in front of 41,616 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night with a 4-3 victory.

It evened the season series against the division rivals at 4-4 and moved St. Louis to 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs.

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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.

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Cardinals on Tuesday.

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

Rosenthal battles for back-to-back saves

Cardinals closer enduring rocky June but holds off Cubs

Rosenthal battles for back-to-back saves

CHICAGO -- Each one had moments that could've been troublesome, but Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal still earned saves in back-to-back games against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

After getting out of a jam with some help from catcher Yadier Molina in the Cardinals' series-opening win Monday, Rosenthal wiggled out of another tough spot in the ninth inning of St. Louis' 4-3 win Tuesday, getting a strikeout and game-ending groundout after allowing a one-out single to Addison Russell.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wrigley's confines prove friendly for Cards

Cubs drop second 1-run game in a row to division rival

Wrigley's confines prove friendly for Cards

CHICAGO -- There were 41,000-plus at Wrigley Field for the second straight game Tuesday, and, for the second night in a row, they were entertained with a well-played game. And, for the second night in a row, the Cardinals edged the Cubs by one run.

Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday each hit home runs to back Adam Wainwright and lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win on Tuesday night. The Cubs also lost, 3-2, on Monday, and it's the first time they've dropped home games on consecutive days this season. Chicago had previously lost two in a row at home during a doubleheader May 11 against the Padres.

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

Wong moves to center to help Cardinals

Returns to college position, has heart set on second base

Wong moves to center to help Cardinals

CHICAGO -- Kolten Wong still sees himself as a second baseman, but understands why the Cardinals are giving him a look as a center fielder.

His speed and athleticism make him more valuable to the Cardinals, who'd like to give him a chance to play more often with Matt Carpenter making the bulk of starts at second. Wong, who played center field in college, made his second start in center for St. Louis on Tuesday against the Cubs. It's an idea that was hatched a couple games into Wong's recent stint with Triple-A Memphis.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards halt skid with power, perseverance

Moss, Peralta homer off Lackey; Molina's assist helps Rosenthal close out Cubs

Cards halt skid with power, perseverance

CHICAGO -- It was the kind of game the Cardinals had lost too often the past week, when multiple opportunities to win slipped through their fingers and morphed into a season-high losing streak of five games.

The skid came to a halt Monday night at Wrigley Field thanks to some good fortune and fortitude in a 3-2 win to open a series against the Cubs, who are 11 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Cardinals in the National League Central.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Garcia trumps Lackey as Cards edge Cubs

Garcia trumps Lackey as Cards edge Cubs

CHICAGO -- After losing five in a row at home, the Cardinals got back on track on the road against the division-rival Cubs. Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta hit solo home runs to back Jaime Garcia and lift St. Louis to a 3-2 victory over Chicago on Monday night in front of 41,166 at Wrigley Field.

Garcia struck out six over 6 2/3 innings and outlasted John Lackey, who took the loss in his third meeting this season against his former team.

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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.

Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago and covered the Cardinals on Monday.

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

Harris out for season after elbow surgery

Naval Academy grad made 26 relief appearances last year

Harris out for season after elbow surgery

CHICAGO -- Mitch Harris will not throw a pitch for the Cardinals this season, after undergoing a procedure similar to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

The 30-year-old Harris, a right-hander who posted a 3.67 ERA in 26 appearances for the Cardinals last season, had been having elbow issues since Spring Training and hasn't pitched this season.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yadi grabs carom to cut down Almora

Cubs rookie laments aggressive move on ball that bumps off ump

Yadi grabs carom to cut down Almora

CHICAGO -- Joe Maddon likes aggressive play, and the Cubs manager backed Albert Almora Jr.'s decision to try to advance in the ninth inning on Monday, although the rookie outfielder felt as if he'd cost the team the game in the Cardinals' 3-2 victory at Wrigley Field.

Chicago trailed 3-2 in the ninth against St. Louis and closer Trevor Rosenthal, who had given up four runs in his two previous outings. With one out, Almora doubled and pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan was hit by a pitch. On the first pitch to Ben Zobrist, the ball caromed off home plate umpire Pat Hoberg's foot and Almora tried to advance to third. But veteran catcher Yadier Molina retrieved it in time to throw Almora out at third.

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

Cards, 2nd-rounder Jones agree to deal

Contract valued at $1.1M, above slot for 70th overall pick

Cards, 2nd-rounder Jones agree to deal

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals are moving quickly to sign their top Draft picks, including 2016 second-rounder Connor Jones, a right-handed pitcher selected No. 70 overall.

The Cardinals signed Jones on Monday, according to MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis, who reports the signing is for $1.1 million; the slot value for the 70th pick is $920,100.

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Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com based in Chicago. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals' bullpen gets healthy Maness back

Cardinals' bullpen gets healthy Maness back

ST.LOUIS -- The Cardinals activated relief pitcher Seth Maness from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Dean Kiekhefer to Triple-A Memphis prior to Sunday's series finale with the Rangers.

Maness went on the DL on May 14 when he was diagnosed with elbow inflammation by the team doctor. He had been optioned to Triple-A the day prior, but the injury allowed him to go on the DL instead and stay on the 40-man roster. Maness gave up 10 runs (nine earned) in 12 2/3 innings before the injury. During his rehab stint in Triple-A, Maness pitched five innings and posted a 1.80 ERA.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fernandez among top prospect performers Sunday

Fernandez among top prospect performers Sunday

Phil Bickford's bat-missing ability was on full display Sunday during his California League debut as he recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts over six innings to lead Class A Advanced San Jose past Rancho Cucamonga, 5-3.

The Giants' No. 3 prospect allowed two runs on two hits and did not issue a walk, throwing 61 of his 83 pitches for strikes in the outing.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals drop back-and-forth Father's Day tilt

Cardinals drop back-and-forth Father's Day tilt

ST. LOUIS -- Jurickson Profar lined a pinch-hit two-run single with two out in the top of the eighth to put the Rangers ahead, and they held on for a 5-4 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium.

Texas' eighth-inning rally was helped by an overturned call off a replay review. The Rangers, who have now won six in a row, finished 8-2 on their 10-day road trip to Seattle, Oakland and St. Louis. The Cardinals have lost five straight after getting swept in the three-game series against the Rangers.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

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

Routine grounder changes complexion of inning, game

Routine grounder changes complexion of inning, game

ST. LOUIS -- If not for an overturned call, Cardinals reliever Matt Bowman executed his job perfectly in Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Rangers.

St. Louis led, 4-3, after six innings, and with Seung-Hwan Oh and Kevin Siegrist unavailable after pitching Saturday, Bowman was to act as the bridge between starter Mike Leake and closer Trevor Rosenthal.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Diaz's journey to Cardinals fostered by father

Dad shows support through son's childhood, defection from Cuba, breakthrough into Majors

Diaz's journey to Cardinals fostered by father

ST. LOUIS -- For 15 days, Rigoberto Diaz clutched his phone, anxious for the moment when he could hear his son's voice again.

He had been assured by an intermediary that his 21-year-old boy, Aledmys, had been safely routed to Mexico following his defection from the Cuban national baseball team. Aledmys had sneaked away while the team was playing a tournament in the Netherlands and was now hidden away in a home. Details beyond that were scarce.

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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 dealt stunning loss after Martinez's gem

Cards dealt stunning loss after Martinez's gem

ST. LOUIS -- The Rangers rallied with two runs in both the eighth and ninth innings for a 4-3 victory over the Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at Busch Stadium. Texas has won five in a row and recorded its ninth straight series win, a club record. The Cards have lost four straight.

The loss went to Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal, his second of the year, and Kevin Siegrist was charged with his third blown save after Carlos Martinez held the Rangers scoreless over seven splendid innings. The Rangers won by manufacturing four runs despite being 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

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

Cardinals recall Pham, option Grichuk

Opening Day OF gets Minors at-bats after oblique strain; slumping OF disappointed, but determined to fix issues

Cardinals recall Pham, option Grichuk

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals recalled outfielder Tommy Pham and optioned outfielder Randal Grichuk to Triple-A Memphis in a corresponding move. Grichuk got the news Saturday morning.

Grichuk struggled at the plate in 62 games this year with the Cardinals, batting .206 with eight homers and 27 RBIs. He hit .114 wth four hits over 39 plate appearances in his last 11 games.

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Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.