Cards' Carpenter returns to lineup, leadoff spot

Cards' Carpenter returns to lineup, leadoff spot

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Cards' Carpenter returns to lineup, leadoff spot


by Scott Bierman / BaseballStL

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Stuck in an offensive struggle, Matt Carpenter will return to the lineup in the leadoff spot for the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Carpenter was left out of Wednesday’s lineup after being hitless in his last nine at-bats and going 2-for-24 during the first six games of an 11-game, 10-day road trip. Jon Jay replaced Carpenter at the top of the lineup and finished 2-for-5 in the 5-4 loss, the team’s seventh-straight loss, on Wednesday.

Looking to avoid their eighth consecutive loss, and a five-game sweep to the Pirates, the Cardinals will need to right the offensive woes that have plagued the squad since the start of the road trip last Friday.

The Cardinals managed to score only six runs and hit .155 in 194 at-bats over the first six games of this current trip, which included a three-game sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves, before scoring four runs and smacking 13 hits in 41 at-bats last night.

It wasn’t an offensive explosions by any means, but it could be looked at as a start to get over their recent troublesome stretch of play.

Matt Holliday played the biggest role of the Cardinals’ 13-hit night with three hits, including two singles which drove in a run each. Allen Craig snapped an 0-for-22 skid at the plate with a single in the first, his only hit in five at-bats, and five different Cardinals hitters had multiple hits in the loss.

Baby steps towards a full recovery? That’s to be determined, but the Cardinals will have their next chance against Charlie Morton, who is 2-7 with a 6.17 ERA in 11 starts against St. Louis.

Craig, who will bat third on Thursday, may find it to be the best game to get out of his slump as he is 7-for-12 (.583) against Morton. Carlos Beltran (3-for-8, .375), Holliday (6-for-18, .333) and Jay (3-for-9, .333) have also had success with the Pirates’ right-handed starter. All three will be in Thursday’s starting lineup.

Here is the full lineup for St. Louis:

Matt Carpenter - 2B
Carlos Beltran - RF
Allen Craig - 1B
Matt Holliday - LF
David Freese - 3B
Jon Jay - CF
Tony Cruz - C
Pete Kozma - SS
Joe Kelly - P