8/20/2013 1:55 A.M. ET
Jay surging at the plate in August
By Kevin Massoth / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- Jon Jay entered Monday hitting .377 in August and leading the National League with 26 hits in the month, many of them important ones for the Cardinals.
His 27th hit on Monday was a big one, too.
Jay launched a tiebreaking two-run home run -- his seventh of the year -- to left-center field in the sixth inning to help the Cardinals to a 4-2 lead in their eventual 8-5 win over the Brewers at Miller Park.
"That's two big ones for us, opposite field like that," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, referring to Jay's three-run homer on Sunday in the Cardinal's 6-1 win over the Cubs. "He's got something really good going. Just like to see it continue for a couple months."
Jay has a .273 batting average, 20 points above the .253 mark he entered August with. He said recent mechanical changes with hitting coach John Mabry have contributed to his success.
"Just playing one day at a time," Jay said. "Just figure out a way to put the barrel on the ball more consistently. Working hard every day and trying to win some guys."
Jay entered August with 14 doubles and 39 RBIs in 409 plate appearances, but he has eight doubles and 17 RBIs in 73 at-bats this month. His on-base percentage was up from .331 to .346 and his slugging percentage rose from .346 to .382.
But Matheny said you would never be able to tell how well its going for the 28-year-old center fielder just by looking at him.
"You go up and you talk to Jon Jay every day and you can't tell if he's eight for his last eight or oh-for his last 12," Matheny said. "That's a great quality as a younger guy in our premium position like he is in center field. He brings that every single day."
Matheny said Jay has been pivotal to the Cardinals push this month, and has resembled the hitter who hit .305 for the team in 2012.
"We need everybody pulling their weight and everybody doing their part in order for us to be as good as we can be, and Jon's doing his part," Matheny said. "With that, we know there's going to be ups and downs offensively, but … he is that hitter we saw last year. Hitting over .300 and putting together tough at-bats for us. And we know what kind of defender he is, so he's continuing to build himself into the kind of player that he should be, and right now he's just on a good run."
Mujica returns after resting arm for three days
MILWAUKEE -- Closer Edward Mujica returned to action Monday after missing all three games of the Cardinals' weekend series in Chicago with arm fatigue, picking up his 32nd save in the Cardinals' 8-5 win against the Brewers.
Mujica pitched two innings in each of his last three appearances before Monday, something he had done this season just once in 48 outings prior. The 29-year-old right-hander said he approached Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on Friday -- the day after throwing two scoreless innings against the Pirates -- with concern for his arm.
"Mike and me have very good communication," Mujica said before Monday's game. "I just talked to Mike Friday and he decided to give me a couple days off and just get ready to go for this series. You know, I'm ready to go today."
Matheny said he hoped the "last few days here have worked and we got [Mujica] to a better place."
"He's just done more than he has all season," Matheny said. "He's one of the guys that I trust to be very honest, and when we started talking, and realizing things weren't right, had to make a move and slow him down. It's no fun going into a few games in a row knowing it's without your closer."
Freese applauded for being 'absolute pro'
MILWAUKEE -- Times have not been easy for David Freese. The Cardinals third baseman has had to start sharing his playing time with some of St. Louis' young infielders during a career-low season.
How does Cardinals manager Mike Matheny feel Freese has handled the situation?
"Like an absolute pro. Like a professional," Matheny said. "Everybody around here is watching and acknowledging and admiring."
Freese -- the 2011 World Series MVP -- entered Monday with career lows in batting average (.265), on-base percentage (.343) and slugging percentage (.380) to go with six home runs and 43 RBIs in 103 games this year.
But Matheny said he is not overly worried, noting Freese would be in the starting lineup for the final two games in Milwaukee.
"David's going to be right back in there," he said. "He's going to be in there tomorrow and he's going to be in there on Wednesday. Hopefully it gets him a little rest and hopefully this will all work out and he gets on a tear a bit. He's handling it as well as anybody possibly could."
• For the second consecutive week, Tim Cooney of the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate Springfield Cardinals was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week. Cooney tossed seven innings on Thursday against Frisco, allowing one run on two hits while walking one and striking out seven. Cooney -- drafted by the Cardinals in the third round in 2012 -- is the first pitcher in the league this season to earn consecutive weekly honors.
• Matheny said he had a plan for catcher Yadier Molina over the next couple days but would not elaborate. When asked if Molina might take a day off on Tuesday or Wednesday, Matheny said, "Anything is possible."
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.