ST. LOUIS Slumping outfielder Carlos Beltran walked off the field after batting practice Wednesday and stopped to tell reporters how he felt lost at the plate.
He also had a prediction.
"Sooner or later it will change," Beltran said. "There's nothing to worry about."
About four hours later, Beltran proved himself to be right. The veteran went 4-for-5, slugged two home runs and had a career-high seven RBI to lead an offensive onslaught in the Cardinals 12-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Beltran launched a three-run homer in the first inning, singled home a run in the second inning and belted another three-run homer in the third inning.
Not a bad way to bust out of a 3-for-32 slump.
"This is a funny game," Beltran said. "Yesterday I came with the mentality of being able to have good at-bats and I struck out three times. Today I came with the same mentality and I had good results. That's how this game works.
"Days like this don't come every day so I'm just glad to be able to go out there and have a day like today. That's always positive. I'm just glad that we were able to score a lot of runs early and get that win."
Beltran burst out of the gate to start the year after signing a two-year, 26 million deal with the Cardinals in the offseason. He hit .347 and had five home runs in his first 13 games. But beginning April 21 in Pittsburgh, things began to go downhill. And fast.
The switch-hitter had just three hits in nine games entering Wednesday and struck out an eye-popping 13 times during that span. He had three strikeouts Tuesday night, dropping his batting average to a season low .247.
But things quickly changed Wednesday when it took him just three innings to hit more home runs and have more RBI than former Cardinal Albert Pujols has for the season.
"It's kind of ironic that we spent so much time talking about you guys having questions about Carlos and his swing so it was nice," said manager Mike Matheny. "I think the one person that wouldn't even begin to panic was Carlos. He just knows what he's doing and he goes about it a great way. It was nice to see him have a huge day like that."
After a no-doubt bomb to right in his first at-bat, his third-inning home run was a little less obvious. It was originally ruled a double before replays confirmed the ball hit a railing just beyond the wall the opposite way in left.
Beltran tied a career-high with four hits, a feat he achieved 20 times previously in his 15-year big league career. But in 1,790 games he had never drove home seven runs in one game until Wednesday.
"That's what your looking for as a hitter, being able to go out there and feel like you have a chance to hit the ball hard and put the ball in play and get good results," Beltran said. "Today I was able to feel like that. I was able to stay inside the ball and drive it."
Matheny said he planed to rest Beltran Thursday with the Cardinals playing a 12:45 p.m. afternoon game. But with the way he woke up Wednesday, he might have to reconsider.