Tight battle vs. Nats ends in loss for Cards

Tight battle vs. Nats ends in loss for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- With a pair of solo homers and a go-ahead RBI double off Jonathan Broxton in the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals salvage a win during their three-game visit to Busch Stadium. Washington's 4-3 victory halted the Cardinals' winning streak at four games.

Zimmerman, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, took fill-in starter Tyler Lyons deep with solo shots in the fourth and sixth. Jayson Werth preceded those blasts with one of his own, a solo homer in the third inning that erased the Cardinals' early lead.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lyons makes good impression in spot start

Lyons makes good impression in spot start

ST. LOUIS -- Tyler Lyons had been sitting in limbo since Sunday, scratched from his start with Triple-A Memphis that day but uncertain of what the Cardinals had planned for him.

He learned on Tuesday that he had been summoned to St. Louis, his role unknown. That assignment was then finalized on Wednesday morning with the Cardinals' decision to bypass Michael Wacha in the rotation and use Lyons in his place. With little advanced warning, Lyons responded with a six-inning no-decision in a 4-3 Cardinals loss to the Nationals that was eventually decided by the bullpens.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny explains pitch to Zimmerman

Matheny explains pitch to Zimmerman

ST. LOUIS -- Having watched Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman tee off against his pitchers for three straight days, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny wanted little to do with him as he stepped to the plate with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position in the eighth inning on Wednesday. And yet the player the Cardinals had no intention of letting beat them still did just that.

A pitch that was supposed to lure Zimmerman out of his comfort zone was instead laced down the right-field line to cap his sensational series and send the Cardinals to a 4-3 loss. It also left Matheny to answer one burning question: Why pitch to Zimmerman at all?

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wacha replaced Wednesday to limit innings

Wacha replaced Wednesday to limit innings

ST. LOUIS -- Seeing an opportunity to rein in Michael Wacha's workload, the Cardinals pulled him from his scheduled start on Wednesday and will instead have him pitch next in the team's Sept. 7-9 series against the Cubs. Lefty Tyler Lyons was recalled from Triple-A to start against Washington in Wacha's place.

Though the swap wasn't announced until about four hours before Wednesday's first pitch, the Cardinals had been considering the move for some time. With Wacha coming off an injury-plagued 2014 season in which he threw just 107 regular-season innings, the Cardinals all along anticipated that they would need to harness him this season.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards make flurry of pitching moves

Cards make flurry of pitching moves

ST. LOUIS -- Taking advantage of the flexibility September roster expansion affords, the Cardinals summoned another three pitchers from Triple-A Memphis before Wednesday's game against the Nationals, which they lost, 4-3.

Lefty Tyler Lyons arrived to start in place of Michael Wacha in the series finale, fanning six in six innings in a no-decision, and right-hander Miguel Socolovich and left-hander Nick Greenwood joined the club to provide coverage in the bullpen. Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the need to use Carlos Villanueva and Mitch Harris for multiple innings on Tuesday led the club to bring three new pitchers up so soon.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martinez tabbed for opener of crucial set vs. Bucs

Martinez tabbed for opener of crucial set vs. Bucs

Seeking to weaken the stranglehold the Cardinals have in the National League Central, the Pirates will open a critical three-game series between the division rivals at Busch Stadium on Friday.

The Cardinals have sat alone atop the division since April 17 and have held off the pursuant Pirates by building a record that puts them 39 games over .500. The Pirates, who crept as close as 3 1/2 games behind the Cardinals a week ago, now find themselves trailing by six. The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11, whereas the Pirates have lost three straight.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Best Cardinals ever? 2015 team making a run

Best Cardinals ever? 2015 team making a run

The Cardinals are due back in the World Series this fall based on their remarkable pattern of alternating every other year with the Giants as National League representatives during this decade. That is a well-known fact proudly espoused by all of Redbird Nation.

But there is perhaps something more important at stake: The title of Best Cardinals Team Ever.

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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.

Moss savors redemption after 2-out magic

Cards utility man delivers after fanning with RISP in first 2 at-bats; Stanley, Pham set stage

Moss savors redemption after 2-out magic

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss had a chance to rewrite the script Tuesday night, and he took full advantage of it.

Moss blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Nationals reliever Casey Janssen to lift the Cardinals to an 8-5 comeback win at Busch Stadium. Moss' fifth career walk-off homer erased what was a frustrating evening.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Villanueva gives Cards opportunity to rally

Righty delivers 3 1/3 scoreless innings after Gonzales' early departure

Villanueva gives Cards opportunity to rally

ST. LOUIS -- Being a long reliever is often a thankless, mentally grinding job. But Cardinals right-hander Carlos Villanueva is thriving in it.

Villanueva didn't factor into the decision Tuesday night, but he was a key reason the Cardinals came back for an 8-5 win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Moss' walk-off HR caps Cards' rally over Nats

Moss' walk-off HR caps Cards' rally over Nats

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss' three-run home run capped a two-out ninth-inning rally as the Cardinals prolonged their home dominance over the Nationals with an 8-5 win Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

The win extended the Cardinals' lead to six games over the Pirates in the National League Central, while the Nationals remained 6 1/2 behind the Mets in the NL East.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals call up Gonzales, Harris, Stanley

After lefty struggles in start, righty earns win after catcher sets up walk-off

Cardinals call up Gonzales, Harris, Stanley

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals called up left-hander Marco Gonzales, right-hander Mitch Harris and catcher Cody Stanley from Triple-A Memphis as rosters expanded Tuesday -- and all made their presence felt immediately in the Cardinals' 8-5 walk-off win over the Nationals later that night.

Gonzales, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, started for Carlos Martinez (back), but he lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After Cardinals tease Moss, slugger hits walk-off HR

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After Cardinals tease Moss, slugger hits walk-off HR

I remember Seth Rogen, on some late night talk show or other, once talking about how his co-star in "Neighbors," Zac Efron, would lift weights in between scenes to keep his muscles looking nice and "swole." Which, sure, that makes sense for "show" muscles. But I never thought they'd work for baseball where you need actual strength.

I guess I was wrong. 

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Cards introduce new scouting director Flores

Former St. Louis reliever, World Series champ, strikes perfect balance for club's vision

Cards introduce new scouting director Flores

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals formally introduced new scouting director Randy Flores to the media Tuesday. The club officially named Flores to the position Friday.

Flores takes over for Chris Correa, who was dismissed after he admitted to accessing the Astros' database without authorization. Flores becomes the fourth Cardinals scouting director in the past five years.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Reyes among 8 Cardinals selected for AFL

Kiekhefer, Rowland, Weaver, Ohlman, Diaz, Wisdom and Tilson also to play for Surprise

Reyes among 8 Cardinals selected for AFL

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals assigned eight players, including top pitching prospect Alex Reyes, to the Arizona Fall League on Tuesday.

Reyes, a 21-year-old righty, is No. 18 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects List. Reyes has a 4-7 record with a 2.53 ERA bouncing between Rookie-level, Class A Advanced and Double-A ball, but he was limited to 96 innings due to shoulder soreness midway through the season.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chemistry fueling Cardinals' big innings

Four straight games scoring more than 3 runs in an inning

Chemistry fueling Cardinals' big innings

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have been scoring runs in bunches lately, and that was no more apparent than in the seventh inning of Monday night's 8-5 win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium.

Trailing, 5-3, Mark Reynolds and Brandon Moss started the seventh with singles, but Moss was erased on a double play by Greg Garcia. While a double play would kill most rallies, the Cardinals were just getting started.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards rally past Nats with 5-run seventh

Cards rally past Nats with 5-run seventh

ST. LOUIS -- Jason Heyward smashed a two-run double off of the left-field wall to highlight a five-run seventh as the Cardinals beat the Nationals, 8-5, on Monday night at Busch Stadium. With the win, the Cards extended their lead in the National League Central to 5 games, while Nats fell to 6 1/2 back in the NL East.

Heyward's double was the only extra-base hit of the night for the Cardinals. All eight position players reached base, and Heyward, Kolten Wong, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss and Jhonny Peralta each had a pair of hits.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Returning leg strength gives Moss confidence

Power coming back after offseason hip surgery

Returning leg strength gives Moss confidence

ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss is finally feeling stronger after hip surgery derailed his offseason preparation, and the results are starting to show.

Moss belted his first two home runs as a Cardinal last week in Arizona and San Francisco. He also hit several balls hard right to opposing defenders.

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Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards muscle their way to win over Giants

Cards muscle their way to win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cardinals' 10-game road trip came to an end Sunday in San Francisco, where they capped it with a 7-5 victory over the Giants that featured the team's sixth three-homer game of the year.

St. Louis ambushed opposing starter Chris Heston, who allowed three runs before retiring his first batter. Matt Carpenter's leadoff homer preceded later solo shots from Brandon Moss and Mark Reynolds as the Cardinals padded their lead. The Cardinals scored in five innings to keep the Giants from pecking away at the deficit.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals surge to end road trip strong

Cardinals surge to end road trip strong

SAN FRANCISCO -- In reeling off seven wins in their last eight games, capped by a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday, the Cardinals rebounded from an ominous start to a 10-game road trip and ensured they headed home in the exact same position they were when the lengthy stay on the West Coast began.

With a 7-3 record on the trip, the Cardinals negated a strong week by the pursuant Pirates. The 4 1/2-game lead the Cardinals held in the National League Central upon opening a series in San Diego on Aug. 21 is the same cushion they'll enjoy when beginning a nine-game homestand Monday. In between, the Cardinals, who are seeking a third straight division title, shaved 10 games off their magic number.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter reaches 'fun' homer milestone

Cardinals third baseman slugs 20th long ball, earns prize from Wainwright

Carpenter reaches 'fun' homer milestone

SAN FRANCISCO -- Adam Wainwright thought Matt Carpenter was getting a little carried away this spring when the Cardinals third baseman started proclaiming his ability to produce a 20-homer season. So Wainwright offered him a bet: Hit 20, Wainwright told Carpenter, and he would buy him a golf cart.

On the second pitch Carpenter saw in the team's 130th game, Carpenter secured himself his first 20-homer campaign and a new mode of transportation to use around his Texas home. His solo shot sparked a three-run first that the Cardinals rode to a 7-5 victory over the Giants on Sunday and left Wainwright, who was watching from the AT&T Park visitor's dugout, to research where he'd buy a purple golf cart for the Texas Christian University graduate.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Bader on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Astros prospect homers thrice, on list for record-tying fourth time in 2015

Bader on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.

A.J. Reed is at it again. The Astros first-base prospect homered three more times and drove in seven more runs last week at Double-A Corpus Christi, earning Prospect Team of the Week honors for the fourth time in 2015. That ties Reed with Kyle Schwarber for the most recognition this year.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn shrugs off ankle injury, plans on next start

Lynn shrugs off ankle injury, plans on next start

SAN FRANCISCO -- A day after being forced out of his start due to a mild right ankle sprain, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, while walking around the AT&T Park visiting clubhouse without issue Sunday, reaffirmed his intentions to make his next scheduled start. That would come Friday, when the Cardinals open a critical three-game home series against the Pirates.

"Everything feels good," Lynn said before Sunday's series finale. "Everything should be fine. John Lackey says it's a long way from your heart, so I should be fine. I'll be good to go on Friday."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards look forward to injured players' returns

September reinforcements will mostly be veterans coming off DL

Cards look forward to injured players' returns

SAN FRANCISCO -- At a time in the season when most clubs look forward to increasing their depth with the addition of several Minor League players, the Cardinals eye September as a chance to fortify their roster simply by getting healthy.

Beginning Tuesday, teams will be permitted to carry more than 25 players on their active roster. Manager Mike Matheny said the team doesn't plan to make a "sizable" number of Minor League additions but rather rely on the return of several rehabbing players.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards support strong Lynn in win over Giants

Cards support strong Lynn in win over Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yadier Molina hit a two-run single in the fifth inning and Lance Lynn cruised through seven shutout innings as the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-0, on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.

The outcome helped St. Louis keep its division lead to 3 1/2 games, and in the process, San Francisco fell 3 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Molina performing perfectly for Cardinals

Molina performing perfectly for Cardinals

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yadier Molina is a great player. Precisely how great, even in this age of advanced analytics, we may never know. There simply is no math -- new or old -- to calculate his value to the St. Louis Cardinals as their field commander, leader and conscience.

Molina, who caught and went the distance on Friday night, strapped on the gear Saturday afternoon and went to work with starter Lance Lynn. The Cardinals subdued the surging Giants, 6-0, to even the series with the club that eliminated them at AT&T Park in the National League Championship Series last October.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cishek carries inspiration with him to mound

Cardinals reliever reads Bible verse on card before each appearance

Cishek carries inspiration with him to mound

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tucked into Cardinals reliever Steve Cishek's pocket every time he takes the mound is a square piece of laminated paper, the edges of which show the wear of time. That card has become as much a part of his in-game routine as his warmup pitches, with Cishek pausing before he faces his first batter to step off the mound to pull out the card and read the words.

On it is a handwritten Bible verse -- Colossians 3:23 -- that Cishek likes to recite as a reminder of how to carry himself on the mound. The New International Version of the Bible cites it as:

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals fall to Giants on walk-off hit

Cardinals fall to Giants on walk-off hit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kelby Tomlinson delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning and Marlon Byrd smacked a grand slam in the third to power the San Francisco Giants to a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night at AT&T Park.

After hitting his first career home run Thursday, Tomlinson one-upped himself Friday, lining a 2-2 fastball to center field off the Cardinals' Kevin Siegrist with the bases loaded to pull the Giants to 4 1/2 games back of the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot and keep them 2 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the NL West.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Miscues haunt Cardinals in loss to Giants

Two errors precede grand slam; walks set up game-deciding hit

Miscues haunt Cardinals in loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- After sweeping a series in Arizona behind reliable defense and all-around execution, the Cardinals gave away too many free bases and extra outs to avoid another crushing ending in a place that haunted them last October.

All five runs in San Francisco's 5-4 victory at AT&T Park came with an assist from the Cardinals, who posted their second three-error game on this road trip and then set up the Giants' walk-off celebration with a pair of free passes.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.