Hitting with authority, Craig shedding slump

Hitting with authority, Craig shedding slump

ST. LOUIS -- Progress can often be masked by an average still stuck below the Mendoza Line, but Allen Craig has begun to show tangible signs of emerging from an April funk.

Craig entered Wednesday having hit safely in four consecutive games, and with his third-inning double -- the right fielder's first of two on Wednesday -- Craig now has a hit in 15 of his last 18, and he added his third homer of the year in the sixth inning on Wednesday. It's not that just that balls are falling in, either. Craig has been driving more balls on this homestand.

"Yeah, it feels pretty good," Craig said. "I've been feeling pretty good for a couple of weeks now. It's just a matter of getting things rolling."

Craig went 5-for-16 through the first five games of this homestand to push his season average to .192. It wasn't until Wednesday that he enjoyed a day this season with his average north of .200. Manager Mike Matheny has worked to jump-start Craig by moving him all throughout the lineup based. Craig, projected to be the team's cleanup hitter, has hit in five places in the batting order already.

"It's looking more like Allen Craig for sure, which we felt was going to happen sooner rather than later," Matheny said. "The at-bats he's taking are looking much more consistent."

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.