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With limited playing time, Jay hoping to stay hot

ST. LOUIS -- Jon Jay hopes he can build on Saturday's performance in the Cardinals' 10-4 win over the Cubs.

Jay, whose playing time has been cut so far in 2014 with the arrival of Peter Bourjos, was 1-for-4 at the plate, but his two-run single with the bases loaded in the fourth helped break the game open. Jay is now a .345 career hitter with the bases loaded.

His day could have been even better, but Jay was robbed of a single thanks to a strong play by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. Jay was originally called safe at first, but the call was reversed after the Cubs challenged it.

Jay said he's just focused on being ready, even with the changing playing time.

"I think I've always shown up in shape and I've always had a strong work ethic, but every year I think you learn a little bit more," Jay said. "I'm comfortable with where I'm at right now and just trying to build on it."

Jay also made an impact defensively, hauling in a Luis Valbuena line drive in the third that seemed destined for the left-center field gap.

"I take a lot of pride in all facets of the game because you never know what facet of the game is going to be that impact play," Jay said. "Baserunning, defense even if it is giving a tip to someone else on the team, I take pride in it."

Manager Mike Matheny likes how Jay has prepared this season.

"We continue to talk to him and tell him not to over think anything except for the fact to take advantage of the opportunities that you get and you never know how this stuff plays out," Matheny said. "We're trying to really stay away from the emphasis of whatever role everybody sees. We don't know how that role plays out. His role yesterday was our starting center fielder and today it's going to be a guy coming off the bench. Just take your daily role and do the most that you can without getting too distracted by the stuff you can't control like how often you are going to be in that particular spot."

Joe Harris is a contributor to
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