Unusual suspects lead Cards' 5th straight win

Unusual suspects lead Cards' 5th straight win

PHOENIX -- The Cardinals completed a season sweep of the D-backs on Thursday night with a 5-3 victory punctuated by home runs from backup catcher Tony Cruz and fill-in outfielder Brandon Moss.

After sweeping a three-game home series against the D-backs in May, the Cardinals interrupted Arizona's attempt to keep climbing up the National League West standings by winning four straight at Chase Field. In doing so, the Cardinals, who have won five in a row on this road trip, maintained their 4 1/2-game lead in the NL Central.

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Jenifer Langosch and Jesse Sanchez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay set to rehab at Triple-A this weekend

Jay set to rehab at Triple-A this weekend

PHOENIX -- Of the Cardinals' seven players rehabbing an injury, outfielder Jon Jay will be the first to begin a rehab assignment with one of the organization's Minor League affiliates.

Jay, who has missed the team's last 51 games while strengthening his left wrist, is scheduled to meet up with the Triple-A Memphis club on Friday as it continues a road series in Reno, Nev. The Cardinals have not determined whether Jay will be in Friday's lineup or wait until the weekend to play. The team has also not projected how long the rehab assignment will last. With rosters set to expand on Tuesday, the Cardinals would not activate the center fielder before then.

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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, Wacha ready for playoff flavor in SF

Cardinals, Wacha ready for playoff flavor in SF

When the Giants and Cardinals met last week in St. Louis, the three-game series evoked a playoff atmosphere. The teams scored six runs apiece as the best team in baseball took two of three from the second-place Giants.

As the two teams open a three-game series at AT&T Park on Friday, the stakes are even higher for San Francisco. The Giants are fighting for their playoff lives as they attempt to catch the Chicago Cubs for the second Wild Card spot and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League West lead.

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Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosenthal to miss Cards' trip to San Francisco

Rosenthal to miss Cards' trip to San Francisco

PHOENIX -- The Cardinals will be without their All-Star closer for the final leg of this three-city road trip, as Trevor Rosenthal has a flight booked back to St. Louis on Friday to attend the birth of his second daughter.

Rosenthal said his wife, Lindsey, is scheduled to be induced into labor on Friday, shortly after her husband's flight from Phoenix is supposed to land. Rosenthal will remain with his family while the club is in San Francisco this weekend, then he'll rejoin the team for the start of a homestand on Monday.

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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 follow Lackey to fourth straight win

Cards follow Lackey to fourth straight win

PHOENIX -- Needing a win to maintain their 4 1/2-game lead over the Pirates in the National League Central, the Cardinals extended their winning streak to four with a 3-1 win over the D-backs in front of 17,572 at Chase Field on Wednesday night.

After the two teams traded home runs, St. Louis buried Arizona with a two-run seventh, capped by run-scoring hits from Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter. With Stephen Piscotty in motion on a hit-and-run, Wong laced an RBI double off David Hernandez into the left-field corner to give the Cardinals their first lead of the night. Carpenter, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, padded the lead with a two-out RBI single to right off Andrew Chafin.

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Steve Gilbert and Jenifer Langosch are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosenthal has 2nd straight 40-save season

Cards' closer on pace to break Lee Smith's franchise record of 47

Rosenthal has 2nd straight 40-save season

PHOENIX -- A year after becoming the fifth Cardinals pitcher to complete a 40-save season, Trevor Rosenthal moved into even rarer company by joining Lee Smith as the only closers in franchise history with two.

Rosenthal pitched a scoreless ninth on Wednesday to put a bow on the Cardinals' 3-1 win over the D-backs and notch his 40th save. He reached that number in just 42 opportunities, with his only two blown saves through the team's first 126 games coming against division-rival Pittsburgh.

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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.

Double plays proving to be Cards' desert friends

Double plays proving to be Cards' desert friends

PHOENIX -- The Cardinals arrived in Arizona having turned 111 double plays through their first 123 games, a total that ranked 15th in the Majors. In just three days, they have added another eight twin killings to that list.

The latest three came on Wednesday night, all to benefit starter John Lackey and help buy time for the offense to do some late-inning scoring. Those double plays, as well as a web gem from center fielder Tommy Pham, loomed large as the Cardinals pushed their winning streak to four games with a 3-1 win over the D-backs.

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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.

Bourjos hopes to deliver when Cards call

Bourjos hopes to deliver when Cards call

PHOENIX -- With a seventh-inning home run in Tuesday's 9-1 win over Arizona, Peter Bourjos snapped a hitless skid that extended 21 at-bats over 35 days. Bourjos understood, though, that while a relief, that sort of result is unlikely to buy him much playing time on a team that has bypassed him several times while sifting through various center-field options.

Randal Grichuk took over the position when Jon Jay went down with a thumb injury. Since Grichuk's injury, the Cardinals have used Jason Heyward and, most recently, Tommy Pham to fill the vacancy. As for Bourjos, he continues to await late-game opportunities to pinch-hit, pinch-run or offer his above-average defensive skills.

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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' aggressiveness pays dividends

Cards' aggressiveness pays dividends

PHOENIX -- In all those postgame news conferences during which Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has had to defend aggressively running into outs, he has remained consistent in his insistence that pushing the envelope on the bases will offer a long-term payoff. And indeed, in Tuesday night's runaway 9-1 win over Arizona, the Cardinals generated much of their early offense by aggressively taking extra bases.

It started from the top with Matt Carpenter, who, after drawing a nine-pitch leadoff walk, sprinted first-to-third on Tommy Pham's single to right. Pham took the extra 90 feet, too, as Carpenter's hustle drew a throw from right fielder Yasmany Tomas. Both Carpenter and Pham would score on Jason Heyward's two-run single.

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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 ride 4-run first in rout of D-backs

Cards ride 4-run first in rout of D-backs

PHOENIX -- Buoyed by a four-run first inning, the Cardinals cruised to a 9-1 win over the D-backs on Tuesday to further fortify their National League Central lead.

With a second victory in as many nights at Chase Field, the Cardinals capitalized on Pittsburgh's loss in Miami to increase their division lead to 4 1/2 games. Arizona falls 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. The Cardinals also became the Majors' first team to 80 wins.

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Steve Gilbert and Jenifer Langosch are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wong's days off bear fruit with pair of hits

Wong's days off bear fruit with pair of hits

PHOENIX -- Rejuvenated and refocused after a pair of off-days, Kolten Wong returned to the Cardinals' starting lineup on Tuesday zeroed in on achieving proper process regardless the result. He came away from the Cards' 9-1 win over the D-backs having enjoyed the bonus of both.

Stuck in his first substantial skid of the season, Wong showed signs of breaking out with his second multi-hit game of the month. He continued the offense's first-inning assault on starter Robbie Ray by contributing an RBI single. Wong later doubled in a fifth-inning at-bat.

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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

Roger Schlueter

Stats of the Day: Yadi at his best in the clutch

Cardinals catcher has .301 career mark with runners in scoring position

Stats of the Day: Yadi at his best in the clutch

Here are five interesting items from around the big leagues Tuesday …

• In the Cardinals' 9-1 win over the D-backs, Yadier Molina went 1-for-1 with runners in scoring position and drove in a pair of runs by doing so (one of the RBIs came on a sacrifice fly). In 1,507 career plate appearances with runners in scoring position, Molina owns a .301 average. He is one of 14 Cards since 1973 to have at least 1,000 trips to plate in the split, and among them, his .301 is bested by only Albert Pujols (.342) and Matt Holliday (.319).

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

Broxton, Cishek giving Cards just what they need

Broxton, Cishek giving Cards just what they need

PHOENIX -- It's been nearly four weeks since the Cardinals finished reinforcing their bullpen by acquiring Jonathan Broxton to follow the arrival of Steve Cishek, and the club continues to enjoy the benefits, both direct and indirect, of the additions.

The Cardinals' two newest relievers have made strong first impressions after enduring rough patches with their previous clubs. Cishek, who posted a 4.50 ERA with the Marlins, has allowed one run on seven hits in 11 appearances. Broxton, too, has allowed just one run in his 10 outings. He arrived in St. Louis after putting up a 5.89 ERA with the Brewers.

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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.

Belisle cleared to amp up rehab program

Belisle cleared to amp up rehab program

PHOENIX -- Back from a quick jaunt to Florida to seek the opinion of orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, Cardinals pitcher Matt Belisle amplified the intensity of his throwing program on Tuesday.

Belisle, sidelined by an unusual right elbow injury since June 26, was given clearance by Andrews to make this next push, which includes a targeted resumption of throwing off the mound before the end of the team's road trip. Andrews reviewed the medical information Belisle had gathered during visits to other orthopedists before offering his recommendations.

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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.

Lynn stymies D-backs with quartet of twin killings

Lynn stymies D-backs with quartet of twin killings

PHOENIX -- Often one to rely more on power than placement, Cardinals starter Lance Lynn on Monday night became the first Cardinals pitcher in more than four years to record four double plays in an outing.

Lynn made his bundle of twin killings timely, too, as three ended innings and two rescued him from bases-loaded jams in a game the Cardinals would eventually win, 5-3, over Arizona. Lynn pitched the first six innings and picked up his 10th victory.

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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 rally to halt D-backs' winning streak

Cards rally to halt D-backs' winning streak

PHOENIX -- A three-run seventh inning, highlighted by run-scoring hits from Tommy Pham and Yadier Molina, helped the Cardinals to a 5-3 win as they opened a four-game series against the D-backs on Monday night at Chase Field.

The victory ensured St. Louis would maintain its 3 1/2-game lead in the National League Central over the surging Pirates, winners in eight of their last 10 games. Arizona's rapid climb up the NL West standings hit a halt as the team's four-game winning streak was snapped. The D-backs trail the first-place Dodgers by 5 1/2 games.

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Steve Gilbert and Jenifer Langosch are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Garcia atones for errors in game-winning rally

Garcia atones for errors in game-winning rally

PHOENIX -- Having already committed a pair of uncharacteristic throwing errors while subbing in at second base for a struggling Kolten Wong, Greg Garcia had big plans as he stepped to the plate in the seventh inning of a 2-2 game.

"Lance was picking me up, time after time," Garcia said, referring to starting pitcher Lance Lynn after the team's eventual 5-3 win over Arizona. "I knew he was coming out of the game [after six innings], and I wanted to do something to get him the win. In my head I'm like, 'I'm going to hit a home run.'"

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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.

Matt Carpenter homers into the camera well

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Matt Carpenter homers into the camera well

What's the best part about Matt Carpenter's solo home run in the third inning of Monday's Cardinals-D-backs matchup at Chase Field?

Continue Reading on Cut4

Waino's fantasy football initiative a charity success

PHOENIX -- Pairing his love of fantasy football with his mission to service basic needs across the world, Adam Wainwright introduced a unique charity initiative two years ago that continues to grow in its reach.

Two years after first inviting fans to play fantasy football against him and his Cardinals teammates, Wainwright has spread his Big League Impact fantasy football event into eight Major League cities this year. Each has a big league player championing the cause and rallying teammates and local celebrities to be a part of an initiative that, in two years, has raised an estimated $670,000.

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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.

Jay moves closer to returning to Cards

Jay moves closer to returning to Cards

PHOENIX -- For the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a left wrist stress reaction, center fielder Jon Jay joined the Cardinals for on-field batting practice on Monday.

It was the latest tangible piece of progress for Jay, who has already missed 47 games during this second season stint on the DL. Jay wore a soft sleeve on his wrist while he hit and spent the rest of batting practice tracking balls in the outfield as he prepares to head out on a Minor League rehab assignment.

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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 start fast to help Wacha win No. 15

Cards start fast to help Wacha win No. 15

SAN DIEGO -- Michael Wacha allowed one run in six innings Sunday and Stephen Piscotty hit two home runs and knocked in five runs as the Cardinals snapped the Padres' five-game winning streak with a 10-3 victory at Petco Park.

Wacha, now tied for the Major League lead with 15 victories, yielded five hits, walked two and struck out three. Piscotty had a two-run triple as part of a four-run first inning, had a solo home run in the seventh inning and a two-run home run in the ninth inning.

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Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Piscotty powers up for career-best day

Piscotty powers up for career-best day

SAN DIEGO -- Rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty recorded the first multiple-homer game of his career, along with a career-high five RBIs, as the Cardinals spoiled the Padres' chance at a sweep, winning 10-3 at Petco Park on Sunday.

When asked if he would call Sunday his best performance as a professional so far, Piscotty said, "Probably," while smiling and laughing.

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards recall infielder Garcia; option Lyons

Cards recall infielder Garcia; option Lyons

SAN DIEGO -- Despite the grueling travel day, Greg Garcia was happy to be back in his hometown on Sunday, as the Cardinals faced San Diego for the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park.

Garcia, who has been up and down from the Minors this season, went to Valhalla High School in El Cajon, a suburb 15 miles east of Petco Park. He was looking forward to having nine family members in the crowd on Sunday.

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Beth Maiman 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

Jonathan Mayo

Kelly, Gomber on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Team of the Week

Houston phenoms on list 20 times thus far, most of any team

Kelly, Gomber 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.

The Houston Astros might be the feel-good surprise story in the big leagues, but let's not forget much of that has been built from within, taking advantage of one of the best farm systems in baseball.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayo on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny: Pham has been boost for offense

Matheny: Pham has been boost for offense

SAN DIEGO -- Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham entered play Sunday hitting .353 in the last seven days, going 6-for-17 and scoring two runs.

Pham, the Cards' No. 23 prospect, according to MLB.com, credits getting his body into a more consistent position, keeping his bat at the right angle and, of course, swinging at better pitches as the reasons for his recent success at the plate.

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' loss hinges on fateful 7th vs. Padres

Cards' loss hinges on fateful 7th vs. Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Stellar work by the Padres' bullpen in the top of the 7th, and a seven-run outburst by San Diego's bats in the bottom of the inning, helped the Padres defeat the Cardinals, 8-0, on Saturday night at Petco Park, inching one game closer to a sweep of St. Louis.

Padres starter Ian Kennedy, who entered the game with a 2.63 ERA since the All-Star break, allowed no runs and seven hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters in six-plus innings.

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nothing goes Cards' way in seventh inning

Nothing goes Cards' way in seventh inning

SAN DIEGO -- Saturday night's seventh inning was one to forget for the Cardinals, as missed scoring chances and the Padres' offense taking advantage of its own opportunities would result to a 8-0 St. Louis loss at Petco Park.

"Neither are things that we have in our game plan to help us win," manager Mike Matheny said. "Both are working against us, and once again, just one of those innings that just kind of blew up on us."

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter tossed for arguing strike-three call

Carpenter tossed for arguing strike-three call

SAN DIEGO -- Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter was ejected by home-plate umpire Chris Segal after he was unhappy with the third-strike call in the fifth inning of Saturday night's 8-0 St. Louis loss to the Padres.

Immediately after Ian Kennedy's pitch was called a strike, Carpenter yelled, turned around and got in the umpire's face.

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.