It was a night to remember for the Cardinals, as they absolutely destroyed the Atlanta Braves on Monday. With a final score of 12-3, the Redbirds had everything going right for them.
You could easily make a case that the player of the game could have been Albert Pujols. However, I vote for another player: Joe Mather.
A small background on the young slugger should prove necessary at this point.
Nicknamed "Joey Bombs" during his stint in AA Springfield, he certainly was a talent that had promise of becoming a triple crown winner. In only 38 minor league games, he managed a .315 average with 12 home runs and 24 RBI coupled with a .671 slugging percentage.
He was called up on May 30th of this year to replace Chris Duncan on the roster. The day he was called up he managed to get his first major league hit with a game-winning RBI.
In tonight's game (which I personally attended) Mather hit the Atlanta skyline like a thunderstorm, with a two-run homer in his first at-bat followed up by a double. He ended the night going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a triple away from the cycle.
Obviously, the offense did not just include this young Idaho native.
Albert Pujols hit 1-for-2 with two runs scored, two walks, and three RBI. Ryan Ludwick, Yadier Molina, and Cesar Izturis all managed multi-hit games, going a combined 7-for-19 with four runs scored and six RBI.
With Cardinals nation reaching to every part of the country, Atlanta was no exception. An overwhelming majority of the fans were pro-Cardinals. One play, in particular, had them on their feet.
With runners on the corners, Yadier Molina hit a high fly ball to center field. The ball soared over the head of Mark Kotsay and in an attempt to throw out Troy Glaus at home, his relay throw from Yunel Escobar got away from the catcher.
All of this allowed the runners, including Molina, to score while expanding the lead to 6-0 to nearly put the game in the bag.
It was an offensive explosion to say the least. St. Louis needed this huge output of runs, as they had a problem producing them during the Brewers series, which resulted in a sweep.
Seeing the offense first hand was an exhilarating experience. Trumped only by the pointless and annoying "Tomahawk Chop" after a cyanide single by a Braves player, the Redbirds drowned any chance of a comeback.
Braden Looper proved he was worthy of a starting rotation spot as he held Atlanta to only two earned runs while pitching a strong seven innings. Despite giving up seven hits, Looper was on his game for most of the contest until the sixth inning.
Ron Villone was only black eye the Redbirds suffered as he allowed a pair of hits and walks with an earned run to give the waning Atlanta faithful something to cheer about.
However, it was all in vain as the short lived antics proved to be too little, too late.
With Jason Isringhausen officially announced as the Cardinals closer, the bullpen needs solid pitching performances now more than ever as they contend for the NL Central.