Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 6/2/13
ST. LOUIS -- It looked like Matt Cain might escape. After the Cardinals scored twice on the Giants ace in the bottom of the third inning, he stepped from the mound to chat with a coach, regained his composure, then went after Matt Holliday. When the three-time All-Star threw a four-seam fastball that struck Holliday out looking, it appeared Cain had poured cold water on the Cardinals' party. Into the dugout walked St. Louis' No. 3 hitter. Two outs. Just one more out to go. But the Cardinals have been pretty good in this scenario so far this year. "We are going to battle," Daniel Descalso said after the Cardinals scored five more runs between Holliday's strikeout and the end of that inning. "Battle to get a good pitch to hit. Fight off some tough pitches. That's the key to it." St. Louis is one of the best at battling. When the sun came up Saturday, the Cardinals had scored 109 runs with two outs a total that matched the Detroit Tigers' in a tie for third-best in the MLB. The Cardinals added to their total during Saturday's San Francisco-themed doubleheader, scoring seven two-out runs in two games to bring their season total to 116. That means 43.7 percent of the Cardinals' runs have now come with two outs on the board. "There's nothing that we are in there preaching, specifically, about two-out at bats," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after his team won the first game 8-0. "I think these guys have done a nice job with runners in scoring position, in general." They have ... especially with two outs. St. Louis entered Saturday's doubleheader with a two-out batting average of .265, which was tied for second-best in the National League and sixth-best in the MLB. The club's on-base percentage with two outs (.345) ranked second and fifth, respectively. And with with two outs and runners in scoring position, St. Louis now has MLB-bests in batting average (.333), on-base percentage (.434), hits (75) and RBIs (97). "Right now, that's the way it's been working out," Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran said after his team won the second game 7-1. "I have no explanation for it. It happens right now that we are getting the key hits with two outs, and we are adding runs. Those are difficult to get, no doubt about that." It didn't look difficult Saturday. After Holliday struck out in the third inning of the first game, Allen Craig singled to left field to score Matt Carpenter. Then, Matt Adams singled to right field to score Jon Jay. Tony Cruz doubled, scoring Craig and Adams, before Descalso singled to score Cruz. In the nightcap, Beltran hit a Madison Bumgarner pitch on the ground through the infield to center field, scoring two runs with two outs in the bottom of the third. "We don't talk about this in the meetings, like 'Guys, we've got to be aggressive,'" Beltran said of the two-out offense. "It's just like right now, it seems like it's working for us, you know?" Cain and Bumgarner know. The San Francisco pitchers figured out the hard way that, when it comes to this hot-hitting Cardinals team, a second out doesn't foreshadow a third. Follow Ben Frederickson on Twitter (@Ben_Fred), or contact him at frederickson.ben@gmail.com
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