Cardinals cool off Pirates and Brewers, winning six of seven games

St. Louis shook off its slow start to the season with two straight series wins.
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After starting the season 3-9, their worst start since 1988, the St. Louis Cardinals have bounced back and won six of their last seven games. Their record now sits at 9-10, and the Cardinals are only a game and a half out of first place in the NL Central as May approaches.

The team swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in three games to start last week, winning each by a score of 2-1. Pitching played a key role in each win. Lance Lynn tossed 7.0 shutout innings in game one of the series, capped by a go-ahead home run from second baseman Kolten Wong. Much was the same in game two of the series, as Mike Leake held Pittsburgh to a single run over 6 1/3 innings pitched. Outfielder Dexter Fowler’s bat finally came alive when he smacked an RBI triple and later scored what would be the game-winning run.

Fowler was hot in game 3 as well, providing the offense in the final 2-1 victory with two home runs backed by 6 ⅔ innings of one-run ball from Michael Wacha, and the Cardinals traveled to Milwaukee riding a three-game winning streak.

But the Redbirds couldn’t carry the momentum over and lost game 1 against the Brewers, 7-5.

In game two, Adam Wainwright provided the spark, both on the mound and at the plate, as he homered and drove in four runs in a 6-3 victory. Wainwright also struck out nine batters through five innings en route to his first win of the season.

After being left out of the starting lineup due to a sore back and shoulder, shortstop Aledmys Diaz hit a go-ahead pinch hit homer in the seventh inning of game three. A Jedd Gyorko triple and run scored helped the Cardinals take the game 4-1.

Leake followed up Wainwright’s act well, throwing 6.0 solid innings and hitting a two-run single in the team’s 6-4 victory in game four of the series.

Despite stellar starts from the rest of the staff, ace Carlos Martinez has yet to find his form. Martinez is currently 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA. However, it is still early, and the former All-Star has shown the ability to recover in the past.

Much like the rest of the team, closer Seung-hwan Oh has turned it around after a rough start. Oh moved his save total to five over the weekend by closing out each win in the Milwaukee series, which lowered his ERA to 5.59.

Mike Leake has been a surprise for the pitching staff thus far. Leake leads the team and is tied for the league lead with three wins, along with an ERA of 1.32, good enough for second in the National League.

Moving forward, the Cardinals start a homestand on Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Michael Wacha will take the hill against a Toronto team in the midst of a horrendous 5-13 start, the worst in baseball.

The start of the season didn’t go as planned for St. Louis, but after two straight series wins, the team looks ready to get back to its winning ways.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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