Posted September 15, 2013 on AP on Fox
The St. Louis Cardinals' offense is back in one of those rough patches. They need to be out of this rut soon. ''There's nothing wrong with us getting a couple of hits early,'' manager Mike Matheny said after the Seattle Mariners snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory Saturday night. ''There's nothing wrong with getting a couple of runs.'' Rookie James Paxton gave up two hits in six shutout innings, quieting a near-sellout crowd of 41,374, and the Cardinals dropped into a first-place tie in the NL Central. ''I was really just kind of locked in on the catcher, I didn't really hear the crowd much,'' Paxton said. ''I kind of noticed how many people were there after they took me out of the game. ''I said to somebody, `Wow, there's a lot of people here.''' The Cardinals totaled 26 runs while sweeping the Pirates to regain the Central lead at the start of a nine-game homestand. They've scored three runs in two games against the Mariners and leadoff man Matt Carpenter thought the unfamiliarity has definitely been a factor. ''We've faced the Pirates 100 times and we know exactly what A.J. Burnett has, we know what Francisco Liriano has, and those kinds of guys,'' Carpenter said. ''Then we come in here and we've got these guys, and nobody knows anything about anybody.'' Now, St. Louis and Pittsburgh share the division lead once again. The Pirates topped the Cubs, 2-1. ''We've got a chance to kind of control our own destiny,'' Carpenter said. ''Hopefully at the end of this thing, we'll be happy where we are.'' The Cardinals mustered only three hits, including Carpenter's league-leading 50th double in the eighth. He later scored on a wild pitch by Charlie Furbush. Franklin Gutierrez hit a two-run double in the fifth inning that ended St. Louis rookie Michael Wacha's scoreless streak at 23 2/3 innings. Kendrys Morales hit his 22nd homer in eighth off Tyler Lyons to make it 3-0. The St. Louis hitters have been struggling all week, and they never got going against the 24-year-old Paxton (2-0), who limited them to a pair of singles. The first was by Wacha (3-1) in the third when Paxton came off the bag to field a tapper and then slipped and fell, losing his grip. Paxton struck out five and walked two. He won his major league debut a week ago against Tampa Bay, allowing an earned run in six innings. Danny Farquhar finished for his 14th save in 16 chances. Wacha struck out five in his seventh career start, but also walked four in five innings. Mariners pitchers were 0 for 20 with 13 strikeouts this year before Wacha walked Paxton on four pitches in the fifth to put runners on first and second with none out, setting up Gutierrez's double. ''He's trying to give me a free out, bunting the ball,'' Wacha said. ''It's not acceptable, walking the pitcher. Anybody really. I wasn't really too excited about that.'' Paxton said it was his first at-bat in more than a decade. ''I didn't really know what to do with the bat after I got walked,'' Paxton said. ''I just kind of dropped it and then told the umpire when I was at second base I hadn't run the bases in about 11 years, gave him a little chuckle. ''It was fun to be out there and do that. It was pretty cool.'' Seattle leadoff man Brad Miller was removed with a mild left hamstring strain after running out a sacrifice bunt in the fifth. Replacement Carlos Triunfel had a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Fernando Salas. NOTES: Yadier Molina, who threw out two runners attempting to steal in the same inning Friday, was the first Cardinals C to do that since manager Mike Matheny on May 1, 2001, at Florida. Matheny said he didn't remember the occasion, but added, ''You don't normally get that many opportunities unless you're stinking, or else your pitcher's just giving you no chance.'' ... Morales has five homers in the last 10 games after going 28 games without a long ball.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Paxton stays hot in second start as Mariners beat Cardinals 4-1

Anyone expecting James Paxton to be intimidated by a huge crowd and playoff-type environment would have been sorely disappointed. It turns out Paxton in only his second career start Saturday night didn’t even realize how big the Busch Stadium crowd actually was. Not that anyone heard much cheering from the 41374 fans during a 4-1 win by Paxton and a Mariners squad that held the...

Mariners end 5-game skid, beat Cardinals 4-1

Rookie James Paxton gave up two hits in six shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners ended a five-game losing streak, beating St. Louis 4-1 Saturday night and dropping the Cardinals into a first-place tie in the NL Central. St. Louis and Pittsburgh share the division lead once again. The Pirates topped the Cubs 2-1. The Cardinals mustered only three hits, including Matt Carpenter...

Axford feeling at home with Cardinals, in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- When the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passed and John Axford had not been moved, he thought he would remain with the Brewers for the rest of the season. "I was expecting (a trade) around the All-Star break or the deadline," Axford said. "A lot of people around baseball thought it was going to happen. When it didn't, I went OK, I guess I&...

Mariners' Brad Miller expected to miss several days with strained hamstring

Seattle Mariners shortstop Brad Miller was out of the lineup on Sunday and is likely to miss at least at least a couple of more games with a strained hamstring, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. Miller had apparently been suffering from soreness for several games prior to Saturday night's contest against the St Louis Cardinals, when he was pulled in the fifth inning with a...

Molina's 4-hit effort leads Cards

Yadier Molina never got down during his recent rut. So the All-Star catcher wasn't about to celebrate after breaking out of the skid on Sunday. Molina had a home run and three singles as Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals remained tied for first place in the NL Central with a 12-2 win over the Seattle Mariners. Molina's second-inning homer off Erasmo Ramirez (5-2...

Molina's HR, 4 hits lead Cardinals past Mariners

Yadier Molina broke out of a slump with a home run and three singles as Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals remained tied for first place in the NL Central with a 12-2 win Sunday over the Seattle Mariners. Matt Adams also homered as St. Louis won for the seventh time in nine games and kept pace with Pittsburgh. Both teams are 87-62 with 13 games remaining. Miller (14-9) gave...

Recap: Molina's HR, 4 hits lead Cardinals past Mariners

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) Yadier Molina broke out of a slump with a home run and three singles as Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals remained tied for first place in the NL Central with a 12-2 win Sunday over the Seattle Mariners.Matt Adams also homered as St. Louis won for the seventh time in nine games and kept pace with Pittsburgh. Both teams are 87-62 with 13 games remaining...

i70baseball.com: Home-field advantage could be vital for St. Louis Cardinals

Although the St. Louis Cardinals did not have full possession of first place in their own division heading into play Sunday, they were just three games away from having the best record in the National League, which could be a vital advantage come October. The Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates had identical 86-62 records as of Sunday and both trailed the Atlanta Braves by three...

Digital Diamond Baseball Game Simulates Above The Competition

With the baseball season winding down look no further than Digital Diamond Baseball to satisfy your baseball needs. The Java baseball simulator runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and puts you in the driver’s seat of your very own major league team managing from the comfort of your home. Digital Diamond allows you to play individual games or an entire baseball season calling all the...

When striking out might not be a good thing

Strikeout rates have steadily risen in Major League Baseball, which just about everybody knows. And there has been much written about whether the increase is bad or not. But when you consider that the MLB strikeout rate is now at 7.51 per nine innings and compare that to 6.52 per nine just seven years ago, you have a significant culture change. I have had people tell me that an out...

Recap: Cards retake NL Central lead, win on passed ball

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (AP) Pete Kozma scored on catcher Mike Zunino's passed ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the 10th inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals retook the NL Central lead with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.The Cardinals lead the division by a game after Pittsburgh lost. They're 6-1 on a nine-game homestand.Kozma entered in the eighth inning...

Vote now for your 2014 Cards top prospects

Join in reader voting of top St. Louis Cardinals prospects on The Cardinal Nation message board. Will it be Oscar at number one again, or a dark-horse this year?

Cardinals overwhelm Mariners 12-2

The Cardinals finished a 7-2 home stand with a robust offensive display and a 12-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners Sunday at Busch Stadium. Rookie starter Shelby Miller went five solid innings allowing three hits and one earned run to pick up his 14th victory. The last time a rookie won 14 games for the Cardinals was Dick Hughes in 1967. The Cardinals won the World Series that...

Stadium Addition Cements St Louis Status As Sports Capital

The St Louis Cardinals are the second most successful sides of all the Major League Baseball franchises. The Cardinals have competed eighteen times in the World Series Final, triumphing on eleven occasions. Their most recent success came in 2011 when they defeated the Texas Rangers 4-3 having entered the playoff series as a wildcard team. The first World Series victory for the Cardinals...

Looking Back: Mariners vs. Cardinals series rewind

Coming to a Close Don’t be fooled by the Seattle Mariners dropping two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals, they actually played pretty well for  team who was just swept by the Houston Astros. Making the trek across the nation, the Mariners could have easily tuned out for the rest of the season, slunk their heads and shoulders, and taken a beating from a team looking to win it’s...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.