The St. Louis Cardinals, after watching ace Adam Wainwright surrender a 3-0 lead early to the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates, miraculously fought all the way back to force extra innings before eventually winning on an Adron Chambers single in the bottom of the 14th inning to win 4-3.
There were plenty of heroes in this game for the Cardinals. Wainwright himself was a hero. He had thrown over 50 pitches during the first two innings and managed to go seven strong without allowing another run.
Chambers himself was a hero. He was the one that knocked in the game-winning run afterall.
But the unsung hero of the night and the guy that should get the most credit for the team’s 14-inning win over Pittsburgh is center fielder Jon Jay.
Jay was 4-for-6 on the night and continued his hot streak at the plate, but there were a pair of instances in particular where Jay came up particularly huge.
In the sixth inning, third baseman David Freese came to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs with the team trailing 3-0 and a chance to really get the Cardinals back in the game. Freese promptly hit a broken back grounder to short, resulting in a double play and a run scored, leaving Jay with a runner on third and two outs. Jay hit a line drive to left field to pick up Freese and score the all-important second run.
The next inning came in the 14th inning when Jay singled with two outs and then put himself in scoring position by swiping second base, which allowed him to score with a terrific slide on the Chambers single. Without Jay’s ability to get on base and swipe second, Tuesday night’s game may still be going on.
Jay took a lot of heat during the first half of the season. His weak arm in center field was exposed on numerous occasions and he struggled at the plate, hitting just .250 with a very mediocre .672 OPS.
Since the All-star break, it has been a totally different story for Jay. He was hitting .349 since the All-star break with a very impressive .859 during that time. He has recorded 30 hits in that stretch with 8 doubles and a triple and has been a stabilizing force at the bottom of the lineup.
Jay’s average on the year has risen above .270 and he is headed closer and closer to his career average of .293, which for a bottom of the lineup hitter, is fantastic.
Jay certainly deserves more credit than he is getting from Cardinals fans overall this season and definitely needs more credit for his role in what many are calling the biggest win of the season.
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