[June 18, 2014]ST. LOUIS -- In December, when St.
Louis traded for Los Angeles Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos, Jon
Jay basically lost his starting job.
Six months later, Jay is arguably the Cardinals' most productive
Jay banged out two hits Tuesday night, including a tiebreaking
triple in the bottom of the fifth inning, and made a key defensive
play to keep the New York Mets at bay as St. Louis notched a 5-2 win
at sold-out Busch Stadium.
Michael Wacha (5-5) pitched six solid innings to improve to 5-0 at
home this year as the Cardinals (39-32) stretched their winning
streak to a season-high five games and captured their eighth win in
But the story was Jay, who had his fingerprints on the game's key
moments, just as he did in a 6-2 win Monday night.
"He's on a real good run at the plate," St. Louis manager Mike
Matheny said. "The way he's taking his at-bats -- we've seen this
before. You just see him go, and it's fun to watch him go."
In the top of the fifth, Jay raced into the right-field corner to
cut off a two-out double by center fielder Curtis Granderson,
forcing left fielder Eric Young Jr. to hold at third in a tie game.
Wacha fanned second baseman Daniel Murphy with a full-count changeup
to end the threat.
Hitting with two outs and third baseman Daniel Descalso at second in
the bottom of the inning, Jay grounded a triple past diving first
baseman Lucas Duda to snap a 1-1 deadlock. Jay scored on a double by
left fielder Matt Holliday for a 3-1 lead.
The lefty-swinging Jay has hits in 11 of his last 12 games, going 15
of 37 (.405) with four multi-hit games. With Bourjos struggling at a
.210 clip, the .310-hitting Jay has more or less forced himself back
into a regular role.
"I'm just getting pitches to hit," Jay said. "I'm taking advantage
of it. I come to the field every day ready to go. I'm just trying to
keep things simple and trying to win some ballgames."
The Cardinals expanded their lead in the sixth with two unearned
runs, getting a fourth out when Murphy dropped Descalso's two-out
liner with shortstop Jhonny Peralta aboard. Pinch hitter Kolten Wong
and Bourjos cashed in on the miscue with RBI singles for a 5-1
"You don't allow people to get more outs than they need at this
level," New York manager Terry Collins said. "They took good swings.
They take what you give them, that's for sure."
Jon Niese (3-4), who entered the game 4-1 with a 1.87 ERA in six
starts against St. Louis, gave up eight hits and five runs -- three
earned -- in six innings. He walked one and fanned three.
Niese, who was tagged for a leadoff homer in the second by catcher
Yadier Molina, said the Cardinals feasted off his mistakes in
"They focus on one zone," he said. "They don't go out of that. You
make a mistake where they're looking, they're going to hit it. They
have a great lineup and they punish mistakes."
Third baseman David Wright homered in the fourth off Wacha, who
allowed five hits and a run with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Duda led off the ninth with a homer off reliever Jason Motte.
After catcher Anthony Recker doubled, Matheny waved Pat Neshek out
of the bullpen. Neshek got three outs on four pitches for his second
The Mets (31-40) lost their eighth straight road game and fell to
3-11 in their last 14 games, a stark contrast to the roll St. Louis
is on with the help of the guy they wanted to turn into a fourth
outfielder in the offseason.
"I just try to be ready when my name is called," Jay said.
NOTES: St. Louis RHP Adam Wainwright (elbow) is scheduled to throw
off flat ground Wednesday to test his injury. The club still expects
Wainwright, who skipped his start Monday night for rest, to make his
next start Saturday against Philadelphia. ... New York entered
Tuesday night's game with 47 first-inning runs, third behind only
San Francisco and Toronto (48) for most in the majors. ... The
Cardinals signed RHP Jack Flaherty, the No. 34 overall pick in this
month's draft, to a deal including a $2 million signing bonus, above
the slot-recommended total of $1.65 million. Flaherty will join RHP
Luke Weaver, the team's first round pick, at short-season Class A