When right-hander Kyle McClellan won the starting spot vacated by injured right-hander Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals were looking for the same sort of pitching that McClellan had displayed in the Cardinals bullpen for the last three seasons -- just for a longer period of time.
Expectations met. After allowing just two runs in 23 innings in spring training, McClellan has given up only three runs in 12 innings in the regular season over his first two starts. But what the Cardinals surely didn't count on was McClellan's offensive punch.
A 1-for-13 hitter for his career, McClellan reached base in all three of his at-bats Monday and knocked in two runs -- the first two of his career. He had an RBI double (on a hit-and-run with slow-running catcher Yadier Molina in first base) and a run-scoring single.
The Cardinals have their first winning streak of the season (two games) after an 8-2 win at Arizona, McClellan's first victory as a big-league starter.
McClellan managed to make six innings despite having to run the bases three times. He did walk four, unusual for him, but he was touched for just one run, in the fourth inning, an inning he finished by getting opposing pitcher Barry Enright to ground into a double play.
"Four walks isn't what you want," said McClellan, "but I made pitches when I needed to."
His last out in the sixth was important, too, because McClellan got dangerous pinch hitter Russell Branyan, representing the tying run, to ground out with two runners on base.
As for his own hitting, McClellan said, "I got fastballs 'up' to hit and I got lucky. You just don't want to give up on at-bats."
Lance Berkman snapped an 0-for-11 skid with consecutive home runs to the opposite field in his final two at-bats, driving in a total of three runs. Jon Jay followed Berkman's ninth-inning homer with one of his own, marking the first time the club had hit back-to-back homers since last July 19.
Albert Pujols singled in the ninth inning. Modest news perhaps, but he had been in a 1-for-19 slump, with his average dipping into the .120s.
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