5/27/2014 9:11 P.M. ET
Yadi a deterrent to Yanks' running game
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Perhaps the most intriguing matchup in the Cardinals' Interleague series against the Yankees does not actually involve a pitcher or a hitter at all, but rather Yadier Molina and his ability to control New York's normally successful running game.
The Yankees entered Tuesday ranked second in the Majors with an 85 percent success rate on stolen-base attempts. It's not as if they haven't made many attempts, either, as both Jacoby Ellsbury (12) and Brett Gardner (11) rank in the top seven among American League basestealers.
The pair went 1-for-2 against Molina on Monday, a rate actually more successful than most. Molina leads the Majors with a caught-stealing percentage of 54.2, and it's a figure that has the Yankees on notice.
"Any time Yadi's up, behind the dish or at the plate, he just impacts the game so many different ways," said New York's Brendan Ryan, a former teammate of Molina's. "And a lot of it's not even in the scorebook."
"He's tough to run against," added Gardner.
Molina has not eclipsed the 50 percent success rate in throwing out runners over a full season since 2007, when he led the Majors by throwing out 54 percent. Unquantifiable, too, is how many runners are stopped merely by his reputation alone.
Streaking Wong making most of his return
ST. LOUIS -- When second baseman Kolten Wong rejoined the Cardinals on May 15, he spoke of the changes made to his swing during his 15-game demotion and of his desire to parlay the callup into a permanent stay.
He's since given the Cardinals no reason to consider turning back.
Wong has hit safely in every game he's played since returning to the Majors, giving him an eight-game hitting streak that was tied for the Majors' longest active stretch entering Tuesday. He has four multihit games during this span and has also stolen four bases.
It's been just more of the same for Wong, who closed his Triple-A stay by hitting safely in nine of 10 games. The common thread through the sustained success is the mechanical change at the plate, which prioritized reducing his leg kick.
"With the high leg kick I had, it was hard trying to read the ball," Wong said. "Now that it is shorter and my base is wider, it's so much easier to see the ball, because there are not so many things moving. It's real small, real compact, where it needs to be."
Matt Carpenter has equaled Wong by hitting safely in eight straight.
Matt Holliday has an impressive streak, too, though his is a season-long one, as he has reached base safely in all 23 home games this season. It is a feat accomplished just 14 other times in franchise history -- most recently by Albert Pujols, en route to 31, in 2009 -- with Solly Hemus setting the club record by getting on base in the first 33 home games of the 1954 season.
Kelly's recovery to extend into June
ST. LOUIS -- What the Cardinals had hoped would be a fairly quick recovery will instead drag into June for pitcher Joe Kelly, whom manager Mike Matheny described as still being in the "healing phase."
Kelly, who strained his left hamstring on April 16, continues to throw on flat ground, but without a projected date to return to the mound. Already six weeks removed from pitching, he will have the added rehab step of pitching with a Minor League affiliate before he'd be ready to rejoin the Cardinals.
There are several checkpoints before that, though, including running. He has yet to resume any rigorous leg exercises since sustaining the injury.
"You don't see him out here doing too much but playing catch," Matheny said. "It sounds like his arm has been able to stay strong. He's been able to do all the workouts that he's needed to do. When it comes to the hamstring, you push it a little and wait to see how it responds."
• Jon Jay, who had two hits off the bench in Monday's series opener, was back in the lineup against the Yankees on Tuesday. Jay has five hits since Saturday, which is when he made the first of two weekend starts in place of an ill Peter Bourjos. With the center-field situation still fluid, Jay has the chance to earn back playing time.
"I just try to keep explaining to all these guys that the idea is to go out and take advantage of the opportunities," Matheny said. "We put Jon in some big spots, whether it's the pinch-hit role or as a defensive replacement, then he gets some at-bats and he just seems to be going about it very well, as expected. It's all we can ask of him."
• Outfield prospects Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras each tallied multihit games for the Triple-A club in Memphis' 6-4 loss on Monday. Taveras also drove in a run, giving him an RBI in six of his last seven games.
• The Cardinals will be involved in a St. Louis Make-A-Wish event on Thursday that was inspired by the San Francisco Batkid experience from last October. The Cardinals' mascot, Fredbird, will take part in Thursday's event, which will end at Busch Stadium after several citywide stops.
Make-A-Wish Missouri is encouraging area residents to get involved by going to Ballpark Village at 2:15 p.m. CT to cheer on the 14-year-old girl taking part in the day's activities.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.