NEW YORK -- Catcher Tony Cruz has found a measure of rapport with Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn, and he received the start behind the plate for Thursday afternoon's series finale against the Mets as a result.
Backing up the consistent Yadier Molina can make for light work for a reserve backstop, but Cruz has found a temporary niche working Lynn's past two outings. Lynn entered Thursday 4-0 with a 3.42 ERA and has tallied 16 strikeouts with just one earned run in his last 12 2/3 innings working with Cruz.
"Tony's done a nice job," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think there's a sense of comfort, too, when you've had some success. They've really been working well together, on the same page, had a good tempo going. The added bonus is being able to give [Molina] a day, especially after a night game."
For his part, Cruz has produced at the plate in his limited opportunities, going 4-for-8 with two RBIs in each of his two starts working with Lynn.
"There's going to be periods where this isn't necessarily going to be the case," Matheny said. "Even though they are doing well together, we're still going to be able to throw Yadier in there with any pitcher we have. I'm sure any pitcher in all of baseball would like to have Yadi back there, but right now, it's working well, and we're getting Yadi a little bit of rest on a very long road trip and a very long stretch of games consecutively."
Eric Single is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.