Chemistry fueling Cardinals' big innings
Four straight games scoring more than 3 runs in an inning
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have been scoring runs in bunches lately, and that was no more apparent than in the seventh inning of Monday night's 8-5 win over the Nationals at Busch Stadium.
Trailing, 5-3, Mark Reynolds and Brandon Moss started the seventh with singles, but Moss was erased on a double play by Greg Garcia. While a double play would kill most rallies, the Cardinals were just getting started.
The next six Cardinals reached as St. Louis sent 10 batters to the plate during the two-out, five-run rally. Jhonny Peralta's single tied the game and Jason Heyward's opposite-field two-run double off the left-field wall gave the Cardinals the lead for good in a back-and-forth game.
"You know it's not always going to happen that way, you're not going to get that many hits in a row or score that many runs with two [outs], but you always believe you can," Heyward said.
The Cardinals also had a three-run rally to erase a 1-0 deficit in the fourth.
It is the fourth consecutive game that the Cardinals have scored three or more runs in one inning. It's a turnaround for a club that was averaging 3.9 runs a game before the streak.
"We've had guys that we've had to replace," Heyward said. "The guys that have stepped in and have played a lot more for them, I feel like they have gotten more comfortable. But, as a group, we're all just gelling and trying to feed off that."
Monday's rallies came almost entirely without the benefit of an extra-base hit. Aside from Heyward's double, the other 12 Cardinals hits were singles.
"I think today was a great indication of what kind of club we have," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "They just keep coming. They have faith in the next guy. Do my part and pass it on."
Matheny said the hitters are feeding off each other. That vibe was palpable during the seventh-inning rally.
"The majority of that damage happened with two outs and guys not giving in," Matheny said. "They want that opportunity to pick up our club. We've seen a lot of that lately, even verbally, after somebody makes a mistake or somebody doesn't get it done, you can hear, 'Pick this guy up,' 'I'm going to pick him up' and that's pretty rare in this game."
That chemistry came into play with the Cardinals coming off a 10-game West Coast trip.
"You should see us in the dugout when we get amped up over just the biggest at-bat, whether it's a walk or a single, a broken-bat hit or a big hit like we got right there," Heyward said. "We don't take it for granted and we keep grinding it out."
The Cardinals hope to keep the offense rolling through September and beyond.
"I think we still got more in the tank offensively, and I know our guys believe that, too," Matheny said.