MILWAUKEE -- Win or lose, the Cardinals have kept things interesting as of late.Entering Wednesday, each of St. Louis' last eight games -- dating back to before the All-Star break -- had been decided by two runs or fewer. Five of those contests were one-run games, with the Cards going 3-5 in that stretch. In the losses, the problem has largely been the offense, which has sputtered since the start of the second half of the season. St. Louis hadn't scored more than three runs in any of its last five games heading into Wednesday, going 8-for-45 with runners in scoring position since the break. Manager Mike Matheny has been left frustrated with the recent offensive woes, but he said Wednesday that it could be worse. "If we could put a finger on it and fix it, we would have done it a long time ago, after the first game," Matheny said. "But I think if you look at it another way, we're playing hard and in every game. It's just a matter of something happening." St. Louis made something happen in its only win since the break on Monday, scoring three runs in the top of the ninth to beat the Brewers. On Tuesday, the Cardinals had two similar chances in the seventh and ninth innings but couldn't come through. Matheny said he can see that some of his hitters are "trying to do too much" to make things happen at the plate, especially in pressure situations. Allen Craig, who started in right field on Wednesday, shared the same feelings after he delivered the game-winning hit on Monday. But he said he's confident he and his teammates can turn a corner soon. "I think sometimes, things just aren't going to go your way," Craig said. "You're not always going to drive that run in that's in scoring position. We're always going to be fighting to, and we're going to make adjustments to get it done." Matheny also remained optimistic, saying that he's seen enough good from his team to believe its struggles can't last forever. "There's plenty to be positive about," he said. "Unfortunately, just not a lot of wins, which that's what our job is; that's what we're here to do. We're here to win games."
Thigh contusion keeps Holliday out of Cards' lineup
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Holliday was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Brewers with a left thigh contusion he suffered when hit by a pitch on Tuesday.Holliday was called on to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Cards' 4-3 loss, striking out against Francisco Rodriguez to see his hit streak snapped at 15 games.
Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf hit Holliday just above the left knee in the first inning. Holliday stayed in the game, slowly making his way to first base before playing the bottom of the first in left field. He did not return for the second, though.After Tuesday's game, Holliday said he didn't think the injury was serious. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Holliday was sore Wednesday morning, and although he ran through some tests to try and play, it wasn't worth pushing him. "He's had some days where he's been banged up, and he just keeps going back out there," Matheny said. "When you have a day like today, when he's really fighting to make it happen and not getting a lot of relief, you got to help him out. He deserves that." Matheny said Holliday, who had played in 88 of the Cardinals' 92 games this season entering Wednesday, would be available as a pinch-hitter if needed.
With the Cardinals offense sputtering, Matheny also said it was a tough time to not have his hottest hitter. The 32-year-old outfielder's 15-game hit streak remained intact Tuesday night because he didn't register an at-bat, and overall, he was batting .317 with 59 RBIs and 14 home runs entering Wednesday.
Carlos Beltran was given most of the day off Wednesday before lacing a pinch-hit double and scoring a run in the ninth inning of the Cards' 4-3 loss. Matheny said Beltran's rest was planned, much like his respite in the series opener, to give him a break after playing in the All-Star Game. Matheny talks to the veteran outfielder every day to get a read on how he is feeling. When the two spoke after the break, Matheny said Beltran told him, "Hey, I'm struggling right now.""There have been times where we've done this in the past, too, had a plan and his body just responds way better than he thought, and he just says, 'Hey, listen, I really feel good today," Matheny said. "Today wasn't one of those days. He's doing everything he can." After not appearing in either of the first two games against the Brewers after his inaugural callup, Trevor Rosenthal made his big league debut on Wednesday, firing a scoreless eighth and stranding the bases loaded. "Take the baseball side out and put the human side back in, and this guy's been looking for this day for a long time," Matheny said before the game. "I'm excited for him to experience that." Major League Baseball's first Competitive Balance Lottery came and went on Wednesday, and St. Louis was one of two eligible teams to not receive an extra selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. In all, 14 teams were hoping for one of 12 selections -- six after the first round and six more after the second round. The Cardinals and Rays were the only teams to not acquire a pick, while the Royals won the lottery to receive the first pick after the first round. The Pirates were awarded the second bonus selection.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.