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Offensive explosion leads Cards to 9-3 victory

June 15, 2010

A lineup change was all that was needed to fix the Cardinals’ slumping offense Monday night.

Matt Holliday moved up two slots in the order to the two-hole and collected two hits, walked once and scored two runs, while Ryan Ludwick batted cleanup for only the second time this season and drove in four runners, three with a first-inning home run, his 11th of the year.

“With Ludwick, we moved him to fifth in L.A., and he had a big series,” La Russa said. “When he is swinging good, he is proven to hit in the middle.”

Adam Wainwright (9-4) shook off a rough first inning, one in which he allowed a leadoff home run to Ichiro Suzuki and another run on a Jose Lopez groundout, and went another six-plus innings only allowing three hits and one run. Wainwright’s quality start was his 21st-straight at home – the longest streak EVER in Major League history.

 

“He [Wainwright] is really good at bearing down in situations like that,” Ludwick said. “He was phenomenal after that first inning.”

The one constant in the Cardinals lineup, Albert Pujols, reached base in all five plate appearances, hitting three singles, walking twice and scoring once, while driving in one run. Pujols has now reached base in seven straight plate appearances.

Moving Holliday to second in the order should’ve been an easy decision to make. Holliday is reaching base at a .370 clip but, while batting a respectable .292 on the season, his production in the cleanup spot was subpar – for himself, the team and the fans. Holliday only has 25 RBIs on the year and is only batting .200 with runners in scoring position – an area where Ludwick is excelling.

Ludwick is batting .414 with runners on base, .460 with runners in scoring position, and a blistering .500 with RISP and two outs.

The nine runs were the most the Cardinals had scored in 10 days, and they improved their home record to 20-10 on the season.

Manager Tony LaRussa likes what he saw from his team in the opener of a three game series: “I think the way everyone was competing and making things happen, we could have ridden that group anyway you wanted to and we would have had some runs,” La Russa said. “When you are sticking your nose in and creating a lot of tough at-bats, we do have a good chance to be productive.”

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