ST. LOUIS -- A flurry of early off-days and the absence of any opposing left-handed starters since Opening Day has left manager Mike Matheny little obvious opportunity to get his right-handed-hitting bench players involved. And so Matheny forced the issue on Thursday, opting to plug Mark Reynolds into the starting lineup for just the second time this season.
Reynolds responded with a multi-hit game that featured a key RBI -- his first as a Cardinal -- in St. Louis' 4-0 win over Milwaukee.
"Great day," Matheny said afterward. "This guy has some thunder in his bat, and it's going to be nice to get him locked in to where we can bring him into a situation where we know the other team isn't really happy about it."
The Cardinals pursued and eventually signed Reynolds last offseason to serve as a safety valve at first base. The expectation was that he'd draw most of his starts against left-handers, though the Cardinals haven't faced once since the first game of the season and won't on the rest of this homestand.
With Reynolds relatively inexperienced as a part-time player and Matt Adams off to a 4-for-24 start, Matheny wanted to be intentional about finding Reynolds some at-bats. At the least, that should help the corner infielder stay fresh for upcoming pinch-hit opportunities.
Both of Reynolds' starts for the Cardinals have come against right-handed starters. In this case, Matheny let Reynolds know of his lineup plans before Reynolds left the ballpark on Wednesday night.
"I was at a point in my career that I accepted [a part-time role] coming in, trying to win," Reynolds said of his agreeing to a role with little promised playing time. "So far, so good. I'll get some at-bats down the road, stay fresh and be ready to pinch-hit when I need to."
Reynolds is 0-for-2 as a pinch-hitter this season.
• Reliever Randy Choate had a Vladimir Tarasenko hockey jersey hanging from his locker on Thursday morning, just hours before Tarasenko and his St. Louis Blues teammates were to face Minnesota in their opening series of the National Hockey League playoffs. Choate was scheduled to attend Thursday's hockey game along with a few teammates.
• Matt Holliday and Jhonny Peralta each extended their season-opening hitting streaks to eight on Thursday. Peralta has hit safely in 11 straight games dating back to last year. Holliday has delivered the game-winning RBI three times already this season, and he has drawn a walk in six of eight games. He also tied Peter Bourjos for the team lead in stolen bases when he swiped his second in the sixth inning.
• The Cardinals announced that tickets for their 11th annual Purina Pooches in the Ballpark game, scheduled for June 13, will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CT. For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com.