(BaseballStL) -- It's actually an understatement to say Justin Masterson rebounded Wednesday with his scoreless outing against the Marlins from the slaughter he received in Baltimore, because manager Mike Matheny said this was the guy they expect Masterson to be.
"[Wednesday] was just a great sign of the kind of pitcher he can be when he gets it all put together," he said, "It couldn't have happened at a better time."
In Baltimore this past weekend, Masterson lasted only 2.0 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits. Wednesday he allowed only three hits over 7.0 scoreless innings.
Matheny went on to praise Masterson's use of his sinker, having induced 12 ground ball outs over the 21 possible, as well as using his four seam fastball.
"[Sinker ball pitchers] find that slot and they find that velocity they need to live at," Matheny continued, "I think that's encouraging for him to see. He trusts his bread and butter, which is going to be the movement on that ball. And he's going to trust his infielders to make plays, because he was just a ground ball machine [Wednesday]."
The offense also showed up for Masterson, scoring runs by the third inning while grabbing their first lead of the series. Matheny joked about someone in the dugout commenting, 'Yea, we have the lead!'
"I think it was [A.J.] Pierzynski," Matheny laughed, "It sounds like something he would say."
However, the punchline of that joke came as the Cardinals avoided a potential sweep by the Marlins, something that hasn't happened since 1996. With both Milwaukee and Pittsburg losing, the Cardinals move to 2.0 games behind the Brewers and 0.5 game ahead of the San Francisco Giants for the second Wild Card spot.