The Bottom Line: Yadier Molina started the scoring for the Cards with a solo shot in the fourth and Jhonny Peralta closed it off with a two-run double in the top of the fifth to the right-center field gap. Defense and superb relief pitching held the score at 3-1 the rest of the way to stave off the Dodgers and keep the Cardinals 5.5 games behind the first place Brewers.
Jon Jay: In the bottom of the sixth, Jon Jay might have saved the game for Cardinals with a catch for the ages. After a long fly ball by Juan Uribe that looked to be destined for extra-bases, Jay, shading towards right field, made a diving grab on the warning track to keep the score at 3-1. For all the flack Jay has received from Cardinals fans over the past year and a half, he has certainly earned his keep this season. Jay is hitting .299/.360/.386 and makes defensive plays like this night-in and night-out. Maybe Peter Bourjos will be expendable at the trade deadline.
Carlos Martinez: In just his third start of the season, the hard-throwing reliever turned starter could not make it out of the fifth inning once again. With a two run lead, Martinez gave up a lead-off single to Dee Gordon then walked Yasiel Puig only then to be pulled by Manager Mike Matheny for reliever Seth Maness.
“Carlos got himself into a little bit of a bind again, and you could tell he was about at that limit,” Matheny said of the move. Maness was able to induce a ground ball double-play from the next batter, Adrian Gonzalez. On the brighter side, Martinez did record his first career hit on an infield single to third baseman Juan Uribe.
Jhonny Peralta: The true star of this game, Jhonny Peralta, provided the go-ahead runs for the Cardinals on his key 2-RBI double in the fifth. Peralta has been hot of late, with 7 RBI’s, 4 doubles, and 1 home run in his last seven games, and he has hit safely in 12 of the last 13 games. Matheny moved Peralta to the cleanup spot earlier this week, and the move seems to be paying of so far. If this Cardinals team is looking to go far into October this fall, they need Peralta to continue to produce at this level.
What’s Next: Lance Lynn (8-5, 2.90 ERA) takes the mound against former Cy Young winner Zack Grienke (9-4, 2.89 ERA). Lynn has been nearly flawless in his last three starts while Grienke has struggled of late, but don’t let that fool you, this game should be just as close and competitive as the two before it.