Cards' hot streak coincides with Furcal's play

Cards' hot streak coincides with Furcal's play

MIAMI -- Rafael Furcal has started to turn things around at the plate, and so too has the Cardinals' offense.

After a hot start to the season and hitting .333 through the first two months of the schedule, Furcal cooled off considerably to start June. Through the first 19 days of the month, Furcal hit just .134 (9-for-67) with three walks and five runs scored.

In his last five games, though, the shortstop is 7-for-19 (.368) with six walks and six runs scored.

"Sometimes you ... just fight to get the feel," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "But he's doing a nice job now."

It's no coincidence that as Furcal, who has started 67 of the Cardinals' first 73 games in the leadoff spot, has gotten back into a groove at the plate, St. Louis' offensive production has picked up considerably, too.

During the same five-game span, the Cardinals scored 35 runs and registered 59 hits, including 30 runs on 41 hits during a three-game sweep of the Royals in Kansas City. In the club's previous 17 games to start the month, it averaged just 3.65 runs per game.

"I don't want to put pressure on him to say the offense only goes when he goes," Matheny said, "but when he gets things going, it seems like they keep coming."