Peralta sets Cards shortstop homer mark

Peralta sets Cards shortstop homer mark

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals were bold in their pursuit of Jhonny Peralta last offseason, believing the veteran shortstop would offer the club a substantial offensive boost at a position where there had been below-average production in 2013.

Peralta, in the first year of a four-year contract, has not disappointed.

With a 438-foot shot into the second deck of the left-field stands on Tuesday night, Peralta assumed sole possession as the franchise's single-season home run leader at the shortstop position. The homer was Peralta's 17th of the season, seventh at Busch Stadium and, using data compiled by ESPN's home run tracker, his longest of the year.

"I think a lot of talk has been had about our offense and the lack of power and he's a guy who has obviously stood out," manager Mike Matheny said after the Cardinals' 5-4 win. "Every time he steps up there, he has the ability to hit it out of just about any park. He takes good at-bats, too.

"The entire package, he's been a great asset to this team, a great asset all the way around -- as a veteran player, a defender and just an overall baseball player. Those numbers speak for themselves. There have been some real good shortstops come through here, and to be in a classification of all-time anything is a great honor."

The sixth-inning home run was also the first of four unanswered runs the Cardinals would score to pull out the win.

Peralta, who was unavailable to speak about the feat afterward, already set a record for most home runs in April after hitting six in that opening month. His 17 blasts lead the club and rank third among all shortstops in the Majors, trailing only the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki and the Nationals' Ian Desmond.

Peralta broke the previous mark of 16 for Cardinal shortstops, shared by Daryl Spencer (1960) and Edgar Renteria (2000).

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for 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.