Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 5/14/12
The Cardinals hadn't been swept in a three-game series since last August, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it. The next day, they began their 32-game charge (23-9) to the National League wild-card berth, stepping over the faltering Atlanta Braves in the process. Atlanta got its revenge over the weekend in St. Louis, sweeping the Cardinals by winning the finale 7-4 and using up much of the St. Louis bullpen in the process. The Cardinals' bullpen had to come up with 14 innings in three days, including one 12-inning game, and the club seems ready to make a move to bring up RH reliever Eduardo Sanchez from Class AAA Memphis. Sanchez, a valuable contributor last year before he hurt his shoulder, hasn't allowed a hit in his last five minor league outings, covering five innings. RHP Lance Lynn suffered his first loss after six wins. The Braves, fouling off 26 pitches in the first three innings as Lynn's pitch count skied to 81 (he wound up with 121 for six innings), scored three runs off him in the third on RF Jason Heyward's bases-loaded double. The Braves loaded the bases on two of Lynn's three walks with two outs in the third and Heyward, fouling off six pitches, finally connected for a three-run double on Lynn's 79th pitch of the game to break a scoreless tie. "One pitch cost you the day," said Lynn. "To walk the two guys in front of him... you can't do that to give a guy like (Heyward) a chance and he beat me. "If you look back on it, I probably would have thrown him something different. But I stuck with what got me here. It was a fastball and he made a good swing on it. It was a great at-bat on his part. I was making pitches and he was spoiling them. And then he got something he could do something with." NOTES, QUOTES -- RF Carlos Beltran certified himself as a strong candidate for Player of the Week honors by connecting for his sixth home run in the six games the Cardinals played during the week. Beltran has 13 homers for the season and has a .653 slugging percentage and .406 on-base percentage. -- 1B-LF Allen Craig took his first tour in the outfield after his November knee surgery. He played all nine innings, felt no pain, smacked his fifth homer in the last seven games and boosted his RBI total to 16 for the 10 games he's played since coming off the disabled list. "I've always believed in myself and that I can play," he said. "I've always thought of myself as the guy who would knock in the big run. When guys are on base, I like to come through for the team." -- LF Matt Holliday got his first game off after starting the first 33. But he got an early call as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning with two on and one out and the Cardinals down two runs. He struck out. C Yadier Molina also got a day off as the Cardinals are three games into a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. -- To make room for 1B Lance Berkman, who came off the disabled list (strained left calf), the club had to option OF Shane Robinson to Class AAA Memphis even though Robinson was hitting .311 in 45 at-bats and playing well in the field. "I've been in that spot," said manager Mike Matheny. "You know a guy's coming off (the DL) and you start looking around and hoping it's not you. It's just a tough message to give Shane." -- 1B Lance Berkman extended his hitting streak to eight games -- separated by 20 games missed -- with one hit in five at-bats, although he struck out three times. His left leg felt "all right," he said. "I hadn't played in a month but I was pretty pleased with the at-bats for not having been in there. It's just going to take some time." -- SS Rafael Furcal extended his hitting streak to a club-high 12 games with three hits. He is 25-for-49 (.510) in that span. BY THE NUMBERS: 8 -- Number of games in which SS Rafael Furcal has had at last three hits, as he did on Sunday. That total leads the National League. QUOTE TO NOTE: "It does make me the Scrooge." -- Manager Mike Matheny, on having to tell OF Shane Robinson, who had played well, that he was going to the minors on Mother's Day. Robinson and his wife just had their first child.
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