Cardinals' streak at 4 with win over Twins
ST. LOUIS -- Hosting the Twins for just the second time at Busch Stadium III, the Cardinals opened the Interleague series by extending their winning streak to four with a 3-2 win on Monday. The Cardinals, who boast a Major League-most 42 wins, now have six winning streaks of at least four games this season.
Starter John Lackey finished eight innings for the first time in 23 starts with the Cardinals. He scattered five hits and struck out six. Kurt Suzuki spoiled his shutout bid with a two-out RBI single in the seventh. A sacrifice fly by Brian Dozier pulled the Twins to within one an inning later after center fielder Byron Buxton tripled for his first Major League hit.
"I felt pretty good, threw a lot of strikes and located my fastball pretty good," said Lackey, who lowered his home ERA to 1.81. "I was doing a pretty good job of getting ahead of guys. Unfortunately, I gave up a couple of two-strike hits to guys that I'd like not to give up. But for the most part, I'll take it."
After taking a lead in the third when Randal Grichuk tripled and scored on Jon Jay's single, the Cardinals padded it against Twins starter Trevor May with consecutive homers from Mark Reynolds and Yadier Molina in the fourth. May lasted just five innings, throwing 75 pitches.
"It's a different game over here in the National League as far as maybe getting pulled a little earlier than your stuff indicates," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of May, who threw fewer pitches than he had in any start since April 25.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Yadi bomb: Homerless in 342 at-bats dating back to June 27, 2014, Molina snapped that streak with a blast to follow Reynolds' solo shot in the fifth. Molina, just three years removed from posting a 22-homer season, had logged 206 at-bats this season before finally going deep. The Cardinals had not hit back-to-back homers since Sept. 19, 2014, against the Reds.
"Am I a home run hitter?" Molina said in response to a question about his drought. "No. So I'm not worried about home runs." More >
Buxton crashes: In just his second Major League game, MLB.com's No. 1 prospect gave the Twins a scare when he ranged to his right in pursuit of a Grichuk fly and collided with the wall as the ball ricocheted off his glove. He stayed down for a moment but popped up to continue a solid defensive night that included his first Major League hit.
"His body, he abuses it when he plays this game," Molitor said. "It's not a physical sport like football or anything like that, but when you watch him play, his body takes a punishment from the way he plays the game offensively and defensively."
Jay makes the save: Lackey faced little trouble en route to his fifth win, but he did get help from center fielder Jay to minimize the damage in the seventh inning. After a double by Trevor Plouffe, Torii Hunter lined a pitch to left-center that Jay nabbed with a sliding catch. The out was the second of the inning and helped limit the Twins to one run in the frame.
"I'm all for it, for sure. I actually kind of missed the first one. I was in the bathroom. But the replay was nice." -- Lackey, on the back-to-back home runs
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny disclosed after the game that closer Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable due to tightness in his throwing arm. The Cardinals do not anticipate the issue lingering, and were able to get a save from Kevin Siegrist -- his second of the season -- in Rosenthal's place.
"Just one of those days where his arm didn't feel right and we needed to give him a day," Matheny said of Rosenthal, who leads the Majors with 21 saves. More >
Twins: Kyle Gibson will make his first road start since May 24 and his first career start against the Cardinals on Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. CT before the Twins head back to Minneapolis for eight straight home games.
Cardinals: The Cardinals will close out their five-game homestand with Tuesday's matinee game. Michael Wacha, who entered the week as one of eight National League pitchers with eight wins, will make the start as the Cardinals seek their fourth winning streak of at least five games.
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