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Molina, Carpenter named first-time Silver Sluggers

MVP hopeful pairs Gold Glove with offensive honor; second baseman rewarded

ST. LOUIS -- Individual honors continue to come the Cardinals' way this offseason, with Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter the latest from the National League champion club to win awards. Molina and Carpenter both became first-time Silver Slugger Award winners on Wednesday, ending a two-year run in which the Cards were shut out in the award voting.

The Silver Slugger Award, which has been given annually since 1980, recognizes the player whom managers and coaches vote as the best offensively at each position in each league. Managers/coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Winners receive a three-foot tall bat-shaped, silver trophy.

Carpenter is the first second baseman in franchise history to be a Silver Slugger Award winner. Molina joins Ted Simmons (1980) as the only Cardinals catchers to earn the offensive honor.

Of all NL catchers with at least 250 plate appearances, Molina ranked first in batting average (.319), slugging percentage (.476), OPS (.836), doubles (44), runs scored (67) and RBIs (76). No catcher since Ivan Rodriguez in 1996 had tallied more doubles than Molina did in 2013.

The hardware is just the latest in a growing offseason collection for Molina. He recently won his sixth straight Gold Glove, and he is a favorite to take home a third Platinum Glove later this month. Molina is one of four players -- along with Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy -- to win both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger this season.

Molina was also named a finalist for the Baseball Writers' Association of America Most Valuable Player Award. That distinction ensures Molina of the highest MVP finish in his 10-year career. The winner will be announced next Thursday.

Carpenter had a breakout season in his first year as the Cardinals' second baseman. With 55 doubles, Carpenter broke Rogers Hornsby's franchise record for doubles by a second baseman and Stan Musial's franchise record for doubles by a left-handed hitter.

The first-time All-Star led the Majors in runs (126), hits (199), doubles, multi-hit games (63) and three-hit games (18). He was clearly the top of the NL's second-base class and also led that group in extra-base hits (73), triples (seven), slugging percentage (.489), on-base percentage (.392) and OPS (.879).

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina