After five pitiful losses in a row, the Cardinals finally managed to crawl out of the National League quicksand tonight, and carve out a 13-4 victory over the Florida Marlins. For the increasingly disgruntled fans of the St. Louis baseball team, this game was the equivalent of a perfect storm occurring after a drought.
The resounding victory in a mostly empty Landshark Stadium was made even more remarkable by the fact that their star player, Albert Pujols, only played a minimal supporting role. Instead, the Cardinals were carried by the bats of unlikely heroes like Rick Ankiel, Colby Rasmus and Brendan Ryan. Rasmus, in only his second game as a clean-up hitter, started up the offense with a three run homer. Ankiel had a double, a triple, and a two run ninth inning home-run, and Ryan had an uncharacteristically impressive game, going 4 for 5, with an RBI.
The Cards, who have struggled offensively in recent weeks, came up with 18 hits for 13 runs. The team's pitching also sizzled. Adam Wainwright threw a few sloppy wild pitches, he allowed a few base-runners too many, and was probably left in an inning too long, giving up a home-run to Jeremy Hermida in the 7th. Overall, though, he impressed, especially, in what had to be one of the highlights in his already steallar career, when he struck out Marlins all-star shortstop Hanley Ramirez with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 6th inning. Wainwright garnered four strikeouts and a well-deserved win.
The usually flawed St. Louis bullpen also looked better in this game than it has in a while, with nice lights-out performances by Chris Perez and Anthony Reyes.
After this game, the Cardinals are still going to be a couple of games behind in their division, and the team still could use some fundamental reconstruction. Still, it was difficult to watch this game and not feel a little bit more optimistic about the state of Cardinal nation.