The Cardinals continued to test one of baseball’s truisms Tuesday night in Atlanta: You win with pitching.
As they showed again in a 2-1 loss, it takes hitting, too. At least more than the Cardinals have managed for much of the season.
The Cardinals did not get an extra-base hit for the second time in their past four games, managing only six singles while striking out nine times to help the Braves end a seven-game losing streak.
St. Louis entered the game ranked second in ERA in the majors and 27th in runs per game. The result: A 17-17 record that is bettered by seven teams in the NL.
The Cardinals still have a chance to stop a two-series losing streak Wednesday night when they send out ace Adam Wainwright against Braves lefty Mike Minor.
— Tyler Lyons. Pitching well enough to earn another start, the 26-year-old lefty retired the first 10 hitters on his way to working six innings for his third straight start. He gave up only one run on four hits (one courtesy of the official scorer) while striking out seven and walking one. Even the homer that Justin Upton blasted off Lyons came on a decent pitch, a changeup below the knees.
— Runners in motion. Credit the hit-and-run play with an assist on the Cardinals’ only run. With Matt Carpenter on first and Yadier Molina batting with no outs in the sixth, Molina hit what could have been a 5-4-3 double play. But because Carpenter was running on the pitch, there was no play at second. Matt Holliday promptly lined a single to right to drive in Carpenter.
— Holliday with RISP. The hit that scored Carpenter upped Holliday’s batting average with runners in scoring position to .432, top three in the NL. He hit .390 with RISP a year ago. Holliday leads the Cardinals with 19 RBIs, two more than Yadier Molina.
— Cardinals’ offense. Anyone who thought those dramatic victories on Sunday and Monday would lead to a hot streak forgot something. It’s hard to win when you don’t hit. The Cardinals managed six hits — all singles — against right-hander Gavin Floyd, who was making his season debut. At least the Cardinals put a man on in six of the seven innings that Floyd pitched. They went six up, six down against David Carpenter and closer Craig Kimbrel as both of the hard-throwing right-handers struck out two apiece.
— Run support for Lyons. He pitched well enough to earn his first win but a lack of support again cost him. In his three starts, the Cardinals have scored 0, 1 and 1 run. The good news is he wasn’t saddled with his third loss as he left with the scored tied at 1.
— Winning streaks. A four-game run from April 12-15 marks the only time this season the Cardinals have won more than two games in a row. By this point last season, they already had put together a six-game winning streak and a pair of four-gamers.
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.