ST. LOUIS -- Each day since the All-Star break the Cardinals have been struggling to score and were desperately searching for clutch hits. They'd won just two of their last seven games while averaging fewer than three runs per game over that span. But on Saturday, St. Louis collected nearly a week's worth of runs in one historic inning.
The Cardinals scored 12 runs in the seventh inning against the Cubs -- matching an 85-year-old franchise record for most runs in an inning set back on Sept. 15, 1926, in the third against Philadelphia -- en route to a 12-0 win before a crowd of 43,424 at Busch Stadium.
"You look at this offense and it's the kind of offense we have," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. "They come in bundles. It's nice to see the guys, too, just keep putting up good at-bats no matter how many runs we have or maybe how many hits we've had already."
St. Louis collected 10 hits in the inning while nearly batting around twice. The Cards also tied a Major League record with seven doubles in the inning. The Boston Bees had that many in an Aug. 26, 1936, game against the Cardinals in St. Louis' Sportsman Park.
And the Cardinals won two consecutive games for the first time since the All-Star break.
Cubs starter Matt Garza and reliever Justin Germano had limited the Cardinals to five hits through the first six innings. Garza exited the game with cramping in his right triceps after pitching three scoreless innings, and Germano stranded three runners in scoring position through the sixth.
David Freese started off the seventh inning with an infield single. And after Jon Jay was unable to get a sacrifice bunt down, it appeared as if the Cardinals' woes with runners on might continue. That was, until Allen Craig doubled down the left-field line and Rafael Furcal hit an RBI single to start the rally.
"We talk a lot about how hitting is contagious, and it starts with just taking good at-bats," said Craig, who pinch-hit in the seventh and doubled twice in the inning. "We're not out there trying to hit all those doubles or anything like that. We're just trying to have a good at-bat and pass it along to the next guy. When we do that, that's when we're at our best. It all came together that inning."
Skip Schumaker had a pair of RBI extra-base hits in the inning, including a triple to put St. Louis ahead, 3-0. Seven players had RBIs, and at one point, the Cardinals had doubled in five out of six at-bats.
St. Louis finished the game 8-for-18 with runners in scoring position. The Cards collected seven hits with runners in scoring position in their previous six games combined.
"You look at their lineup and something like that, not that extreme, but that's a tough lineup to get through with the switch-hitters and the quality hitters they've got," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum. "If you don't keep the ball down and keep the ball inside, they'll eat you up."
The Cards also gave starter Jake Westbrook more run support than he's had in awhile.
Westbrook allowed just two baserunners after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and gave up three hits over seven shutout innings. It was the least amount of hits Westbrook had allowed since he gave up three in his first outing of the season on April 9 against the Reds.
"It was a good time to [score] because it helped him get the win," Freese said. "What he has done this whole season is he's fought. And it showed tonight what he helped us do."
The Cubs collected a pair of singles in the first, and Westbrook walked Bryan LaHair to load the bases. Westbrook struggled with his command as Geovany Soto worked a 3-0 count, but the righty battled back and got Soto to ground out to end the threat.
"First couple innings, I was a little erratic, might have been a little geeked up," Westbrook said. "But [I] was able to get out of that jam. After that, I felt really strong, and my pitches were a lot better and I was able to do what I wanted with the baseball."
Westbrook said for whatever reason he was a little too amped up early in the game, and it took him some time to fall into a rhythm. From the dugout, Matheny said it appeared as if Westbrook was struggling to get on top of his sinker, which caused problems with his location.
"He just mixed it up," Matheny said. "He always had the good sink. There's no doubt that's who he is. That's his bread and butter. But after that, he had to get a little creative with his cutter and his changeup."
Westbrook said he expected to come out of the game while walking off the field in the seventh with his spot in the order coming up. What he did not expect was for his club to put a 12-spot on the scoreboard.
Entering Saturday's game, the Cardinals' ERA (2.73) was tied for third best in the National League since the All-Star break. If the St. Louis pitching staff can keep the momentum rolling while also getting more innings like the seventh on Saturday, Westbrook believes good things are in store.
"Like I've always said, with the offense that we've had, if you hold them down, eventually we're going to come through, and that's what we did tonight in a big way," Westbrook said. "The way those guys swung the bat there in that inning was good to see. Hopefully, we can use that as a catapult to score runs more frequently and continue to pitch the way we have."
Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.