NEW YORK -- The overwhelming emotion as David Freese spoke to the media following the Cardinals' 7-6 win on May 17 was relief. He had hit a grand slam that night, snapping a season-long homerless streak. It was his largest -- and one of only a few -- contribution to date in 2013.
Freese emphasized how trying his season had been, adding that he wasn't sure one home run was all he needed to turn a corner on offense. Hindsight, however, would suggest that it did.
Freese also hit safely in the next 19 games he played, amassing a 20-game hitting streak that didn't end until he went 0-for-4 against the Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday. No one in the Majors had a longer streak this season. His season average climbed from .209, the day before the streak started, to .281 after Wednesday's contest.
He drove in 16 runs during the 20-game stretch after collecting just four RBIs in his first 27 games.
"I'm relaxed and real comfortable out there and confident," Freese said. "I feel like my approach is adjusting [at-bat] to [at-bat] real well right now. Obviously, it's a results-based game, but it's just about the process. Right now, balls are falling in."
Pitch selection -- in particular, not swinging at pitches outside the strike zone -- has been particularly noticeable during this uptick in success.
"That's the bottom line," he said. "I think I'm doing a better job of taking walks, waiting for that one pitch to try and hit hard and just simplify it that way."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less