Game Report: Cardinals 4, Mets 1

By Rob Rains

In the 32 games Paul DeJong has started for the Cardinals he has never hit higher than sixth in the lineup, which has only happened twice. He is proving that maybe that needs to change.

DeJong went 4-for-4 on Saturday, giving him seven hits in his last two games, with a homer and three doubles and two RBIs, leading the Cardinals to the win over the Mets at Busch Stadium. The seven hits have come with DeJong batting eighth.

In his last nine at-bats, dating back to a pinch-hitting appearance on Thursday, DeJong has hit two homers, five doubles and a single, making only one out.

DeJong now has hit eight homers in his first 35 games in the majors, the first Cardinal to hit that many at that point in his career since Albert Pujols hit 12 in his first 35 games in 2001.

He became the first Cardinal since Reggie Sanders on June 4, 2005 to hit three doubles and a homer in the same game. The last Cardinal to do that before Sanders was Red Schoendienst in 1948. He also is the first shortstop in franchise history to record that feat.

The hits raised DeJong’s average from .283 to .306.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate:
DeJong’s big day began with a home run leading off the third, followed by doubles in the fifth, seventh and eighth, the final one driving in his second run of the game … Fellow rookie Luke Voit reached base three times with a double, single and a walk … The other RBIs came on a double from Yadier Molina and a single by Stephen Piscotty … Randal Grichuk was 0-for-4 and struck out twice, increasing his team-leading total for the year to 73 in 222 at-bats … The Cardinals had two runners caught stealing to end innings, Tommy Pham in the third and Molina in the fourth.

On the mound: Adam Wainwright earned his 10th win of the season, shutting out the Mets until Jay Bruce homered with one out in the seventh. He was pulled after allowing two more hits in the inning but his 6 2/3 innings was the first time in the last seven games the Cardinals’ started worked six or more innings … Matt Bowman got the final out in the seventh, Brett Cecil worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Seung Hwan Oh was able to pitch around two hits in the ninth to earn his 18th save.

Key stat:
DeJong now has five consecutive extra-base hits and just missed tying the franchise record for most extra-base hits in two consecutive games with six. The record is seven, set by Schoendienst in 1948 and also accomplished by Jim Edmonds in 2003.

Worth noting: Bruce’s homer was the 12th of his career at the current Busch Stadium, tied for the second most by a player who never played for the Cardinals. Ryan Howard has hit the most, 13, while Aramis Ramirez and Joey Votto also have hit 12 …The other Cardinals with three doubles and a homer in a game before DeJong and Sanders were Schoendienst in 1948, Terry Moore (the only other rookie to do it), Ripper Collins, Chick Hafey and Rogers Hornsby … Dexter Fowler got the day off, as planned except for a pinch-hit appearance in the eighth after returning from the DL on Friday night. He is expected to play on Sunday .. Jack Flaherty will represent the Cardinals in the Futures Game on Sunday in Miami. He said Saturday he has not been told when he will pitch during the game, which will be televised on the MLB Network.

Looking ahead:
The Cardinals will wrap up the first half of the season on Sunday with a 1:15 p.m. game. Lance Lynn gets the start against the Mets’ Steven Matz. The Cardinals will then be off for the All-Star break until Friday when they will be in Pittsburgh to begin a 10-game road trip.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains