Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 8/3/13
After nearly a week's worth of offensive futility, all finally seems right with the St. Louis Cardinals. They face a stern test trying to pile up runs for a third straight game Saturday night against Tony Cingrani and the Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals (64-44) fell out of first place in the NL Central during a season-worst seven-game losing streak in which they totaled 10 runs while batting .183 with 59 strikeouts in 235 at-bats. St. Louis avoided a five-game sweep to Pittsburgh - which overtook it atop the division - with a 13-0 whitewashing on Thursday before continuing its rampage Friday at Great American Ball Park with a 13-3 rout of the Reds. "Our guys put so much pressure on themselves," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said after his team pulled within one-half game of the Pirates. "They're perfectionists. It was frustrating for a quite a few days. It was good to see some energy. I hope we can keep riding it." Far and away the majors' best team hitting with runners in scoring position (.337), St. Louis has gone 13 for 28 in such situations in its back-to-back wins after going 10 for 47 during its skid. Allen Craig went 2 for 2 in those instances Friday, boosting his major league-leading average to .476 (50 for 105), and also added a two-run homer. Cingrani (4-1, 2.90 ERA) will try to hold down Craig and the Cardinals and continue his solid run. The rookie is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA in five starts since rejoining the rotation last month, striking out 33 in 30 1-3 innings while holding opponents to a .163 batting average. The left-hander, though, had nothing to show for the best start of his career Sunday at Chavez Ravine, holding the Dodgers to one hit and one walk over seven innings while matching a season high with 11 strikeouts in Cincinnati's 1-0, 11-inning defeat. "I don't really care about my win-loss record. I'd rather just get a win," he told the team's official website. "I had my fastball working. I was just moving it, basically, up and in the whole time. I threw some good sliders. It was a good day." Cingrani's only appearance versus St. Louis came in a relief role to close out last year as he gave up two hits and one walk in two-thirds of an inning. Cincinnati (60-50) knows all about offensive struggles, having scored only 12 runs and hit .178 while losing six of seven. Joey Votto accounted for the offense Friday night with a three-run homer, and he has driven in five of the Reds' seven runs the past two games. Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook (7-5, 3.18) wouldn't object to another offensive outburst as he seeks his third win in four starts. The right-hander's career-long struggles in Pittsburgh continued Monday, when he gave up a three-run homer to Pedro Alvarez and four first-inning runs in his first 10 pitches of a five-inning stint in a 9-2 loss that dropped him to 0-6 there. Westbrook threw a five-hitter against the Reds on April 10 for his fourth career shutout in a 10-0 romp. Chris Heisey is 6 for 16 with three solo homers against Westbrook, while Votto is 5 for 15 with two doubles.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker