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Cardinals take opener of series versus Dodgers

Sep 14, 2012, 1:45 AM EDT

Shane Robinson AP

In a lineup with Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, it’s Allen Craig who has been chosen to hit cleanup of late. He showed why yet again Thursday, singling home the go-ahead run in the seventh as the Cardinals took the opener of a four-game series against the Dodgers 2-1.

Both the Cardinals and Dodgers had lost three straight entering the night, leaving St. Louis with the one-game edge as they battle for what will likely be one wild card spot. The Cardinals jumped further ahead in the competition thanks in part to a strong effort from All-Star Lance Lynn, who was filling in for the injured Jake Westbrook and making his first start since being bounced from the rotation last month.

Lynn allowed one run in six innings and struck out seven on the night. He and Josh Beckett pitched to a draw after Beckett allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings.

Beckett’s night will be better remembered for the single that wasn’t, as he was thrown out at first by Carlos Beltran on his hard shot into right field in the third inning.

The Dodgers got their only run on an Adrian Gonzalez single in the first. The Cards came right back and tied it in the top of the second on a Skip Schumaker single.

The Cardinals, who racked up 10 hits and five walks (two intentional), wasted several opportunities after that. They had 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position, yet only twice converted (though they had four hits; two of them didn’t score runs). Before Craig’s single in the seventh, the Cards got leadoff hitter Shane Robinson on via a walk from Paco Rodriguez in his third major league appearance. Instead of remaining patient, Jon Jay decided to sacrifice him along, only to pop up the bunt. Fortunately, Matt Carpenter singled afterwards and Craig delivered his hit with two outs.

For Craig, it was his 77th RBI in 102 games this season. He’s driven 37 runs in 47 games as a cleanup hitter. Obviously, that’s less than one-third of a season worth of action. However, it’s a better rate of driving in runs than Albert Pujols maintained in either of his last two seasons with St. Louis.

  1. paperlions - Sep 14, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    Are we sure the story here isn’t Jon Jay choking in the 7th? Tied game, runner on first, one of the best hitters in the NL this year in terms of Avg. or OBP…and in the 7th, with a man on 1st and no outs, not only does this elite hitter bunt, he popped it up, failing to advance the runner. Choking choker.

    • AlohaMrHand - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      they still won didn’t they?

      • blues1988 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:21 AM

        you obviously weren’t on here yesterday, he’s being sarcastic.

        http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/13/sorry-i-still-think-yadier-molina-choked/

      • paperlions - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        Yes, yes I was.

      • paperlions - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        I was also pointing out the inconsistency of narrative. If a hitter that is essentially Yadi’s equivalent (better OBP, less power) does the same thing (but is unsuccessful), and does it in a similar situation, how are the narratives so vastly divergent (biggest choke job of 2012 vs. totally ignored)?

      • stex52 - Sep 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        You Cards guys are just going to have to get used to it. MP has decided that it is fun to troll you. No different from Craig and the Phils.

        Just don’t rise to the bait.

    • chumthumper - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:20 AM

      The so-called “choking” was two games ago. Get off it.

  2. watchfullhose - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Jeez man…what a whiny little punk.

  3. AlohaMrHand - Sep 14, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    all those big bats and no production?Dodger season is about finished

  4. stex52 - Sep 14, 2012 at 8:59 AM

    Okay Cards. The Astros jumped on that hand grenade for you against Philly. Now you guys go and do your job.

    St. Louis is always my second choice after Houston. Go get some playoff action.

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