Beltran launches the first of two. (AP photo)
Okay, I admit it – I thought signing Carlos Beltran, three years older than the departed Albert Pujols with less impressive stats, was foolish, particularly since he had been hurt and since one of the reasons the Cardinal management gave for not signing Pujols was his age. True, Beltran came cheaper, but to Cardinal fans, he was the guy Adam Wainwright froze with a hard curve for strike 3 with the bases loaded in the 7th game of the NLCS in 2006. Not the stuff of heroes.
But so far, this is paying dividends. Beltran may not be channeling Willie Mays, but he’s solid. He is hitting .279 with a .398 OBP and a .535 slugging percentage. He’s hit 7 home runs, has 18 RBIs and has scored 20 runs. On the downside, in 86 at-bats, he’s struck out 25 times. Pujols, with far better career stats, is off to a very slow start, hitting only .212. He hasn’t homered yet, and he has only 5 RBIs and 8 runs scored. But for those who think he’s getting sloppy at the plate, he’s struck out 14 times in 99 at-bats.
Tonight, Beltran lit it up at Busch Stadium. he went 4 for 5 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs.
Furcal went 2 for 3 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. Matt Carpenter was 3 for 5 with a run scored. John Jay was 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored. Matt Holliday was 2 for 2 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored.
A heavy lumber night. The Redbirds staked starter Lance Lynn to a 12-1 lead by the end of the 3rd inning, but didn’t score after that.
Lynn became baseball’s first 5-game winner, but he had to throw 100 pitches in 6 2/3 innings to do it. He allowed 3 hits, 2 earned runs, and he struck out 6. Not particularly efficient, but certainly not shabby.