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Cards not pressing with low home run count

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals entered Friday ranked third in the Majors with 222 doubles, yet hit just five in this week's four-game series against the Dodgers and have been without an extra-base hit in their last two games, both losses.

Excluding a four-game stretch in which they scored 44 runs on 54 hits, the Cardinals have just 19 extra-base hits since July 25 and have manufactured much of this year's offensive production without the aid of the home run, ranking fourth lowest in the Majors with 91 this season.

"Those will come but it's something that you don't teach; you don't preach a philosophy of going out and trying to hit a home run," manager Mike Matheny said. "Just like we don't try and necessarily preach the extra-base hit. You just practice a good swing and hopefully extra-base hits, home runs are a natural by-product."

Of the Cardinals' 91 homers, 52 have come in opposing ballparks. Last season, St. Louis knocked 83 out of Busch Stadium compared to 76 on the road.

"This park's always played very fair in my opinion. You've got to get it to get it out of here, but if you get it, most of the times it will go," Matheny said. "But there's a number of times this season I've seen balls hit that I was certain would be multiple rows up, but they end up being caught on the warning track. What the reason is, I'm not sure, but it is playing a little different this season."

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for
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