Found May 22, 2012 on
Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS Cardinals infielder Tyler Greene spent numerous hours in the batting cage the past few weeks, working on an adjustment to his swing that he thought would get his struggles turned around.
And he felt much better at the plate, but the results just didn't add up. That is, until Monday.
Greene went 3-for-4 and launched a game-winning two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Cardinals a much needed 4-3 win over the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium.
"It's great," Greene said. "It's a great feeling to come through for the team like that and get a big win for us right there. I felt great up there. I'm just going to continue to work, continue to get better."
There may not be a more debated player among fans on the Cardinals roster than Greene, who was a former first round draft pick by the club but has yet to show his full potential.
Greene had three nearly identical seasons with the Cardinals as mostly a reserve player from 2009-2011. He hit .222 in 108 at-bats in 2009, .221 in 104 at-bats in 2010 and .212 in 104 at-bats last season.
When new manager Mike Matheny arrived, a fresh start figured to be what Greene needed to get going offensively. But he hit just .200 (7-for-35) in April and struggled before a breakout day on May 6 in Houston when he went 3-for-3 with two home runs, scored three runs and had four RBI.
Thinking that might be the start of something, Greene instead had just one hit in his next 19 at-bats and was in an 0-for-16 skid before another breakout game last Tuesday against the Cubs. He went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple and run scored in that game.
After a couple hits on the recently completed road trip, Greene returned home Monday and again provided the Cardinals with a spark. He doubled in the fourth and singled and scored in the seventh before providing the heroics in the eighth.
Greene launched the first pitch he saw from Padres reliever Andrew Cashner, a 101 MPH fastball, into the seats in right-center for a huge home run. Waiting for him in the Cardinals dugout was a huge hug from hitting coach Mark McGwire.
"McGwire and (assistant hitting coach John) Mabry, we've all been working hard and we're just all excited," Greene said. "I'm sure they are just as excited as I am to see the results and the hard work pay off.
"I feel great. I've felt great since that day in Houston. I think it's starting to show here in this little stretch that the adjustments we made are paying off and coming through."
It was the third three-hit game for Greene in his last 11 games since May 6. He's hitting .308 during that span with three home runs, four doubles, a triple, six RBI and eight runs scored.
He's the first Cardinals second baseman since Mark Grudzielanek in 2006 to have two separate games with three hits, a home run and a double. He's just the fifth different second baseman to do it since 1940.
And it's mostly because of an adjustment to his swing, deciding to lower his elbow to try and get a quicker path to the ball. He's felt good about the change the past few weeks, but only now are the results starting to show.
"Since that one game in Houston, it's been great," Greene said. "I think the results are starting to show through the long run here. I'm just continuing to work every day on it and get better and better.
"It's a long season. You understand that you have a good week or a good couple weeks and its really going to flip-flop because it's so early. Just continue to work, stay positive and it will come out in the end."
Greene's average is up to .253 following Monday's performance. He's 6-for-7 with four extra-base hits in his past two home games. His three hits tied a career high and the home run accounted for the first game-winning RBI of his career.
He's not where he wants to be just yet. But the Cardinals think he's well on his way.
"You see a game that absolutely blows your doors off and we see what's in there," said manager Mike Matheny. "That's what excites you about what he can do on a consistent basis so we as a coaching staff and Tyler himself are trying to figure out how to bring that out and keep it around.
"It's pretty exciting."
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