PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Piscotty's go-ahead two-run double that sparked a seven-run 11th inning and an 8-1 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night was the latest proof that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has found his three-hole hitter."It was just nice to see Stephen in that situation. ... He took a
PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Piscotty's go-ahead two-run double that sparked a seven-run 11th inning and an 8-1 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night was the latest proof that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has found his three-hole hitter.
"It was just nice to see Stephen in that situation. ... He took a great approach, ended up driving it to right-center. Just a nice swing from him," Matheny said.
The spot in the batting order was left vacant when Matthew Holliday departed St. Louis after the 2016 season. For the first two months of the year, the Cardinals did not have a replacement producing.
The Cardinals have shuffled the batting order a few times this season in search of that magic spark. Now it looks like they've found it. After starting in the three-hole, Matt Carpenter is back leading off, as he did so well last season, and William Fowler is hitting second, leaving Piscotty as the de facto No. 3 hitter. He's started 16 games in June, 15 of which he's hit third.
On Piscotty's eventual game-winning double, Carpenter and Fowler set the table with back-to-back walks. The one-two-three combination is working, and the Cards have nearly doubled their run production.
"You don't want it to be a tryout every day when we walk out here, but Stephen is a guy that can hit in that spot, once again build off a little confidence he had leaving Baltimore," Matheny said after Piscotty hit two home runs Sunday in Baltimore.
Since becoming the primary third hitter, Piscotty is slashing .267/.361/.517 and serving as a vital piece of the Cardinals' recent offensive surge.
"He has the ability to be a little bit of everything: a guy that can drive runs in, he can get on base but also has power. It's just nice to see that coming along," Matheny said.
For now, Matheny won't have Piscotty doing everything. He'll just have him hitting third.
In the Cards
Seven Cardinals Draft picks signed deals, the team announced Tuesday -- including the club's highest-drafted player signed thus far in fifth-round pick Zach Kirtley, a second baseman from St. Mary's College in California.
• Cardinals' 2017 Draft Tracker
Others signed were left-handed pitcher Jacob Patterson (13th round), right-handers Kevin Hamann (22nd round), Kodi Whitley (27th round), Cameron "C.J." Saylor (28th round) and Christopher Hunt (39th round) and catcher Cameron Knight (32nd round).
In addition, St. Louis signed undrafted free agent Joe Gomez, a senior switch-hitting catcher from the University of Miami (Fla.).
Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.