ST. LOUIS -- The wheels had already started turning for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny when he engaged Matt Carpenter in casual conversation before the start of the team's series against the Phillies.
Matheny, sensing that a lineup shakeup might be needed, mentioned to Carpenter how the third baseman's skill set would fit so well in the second spot of the order. The challenge, Matheny said, would be finding the right replacement for Carpenter atop the lineup.
A day later, Carpenter found himself batting second for the first time in nearly two years. That was Tuesday, and since then, a new-look Cardinals lineup has scored 25 times in three wins, the most recent a 9-3 victory over the Phillies on Thursday.
Carpenter reached base four times on Thursday and scored three runs. Behind him, Matt Holliday and Matt Adams tallied another five hits and drove in five.
"I'm a fan of it," Carpenter said of the new lineup configuration. "It worked this week, and I think it will continue to work. … Sometimes it's a lineup change that can get an offense rolling. Back in 2013, we really took off when I went to the one-hole. Maybe this is the one that will work for us."
The vision Matheny had in moving Carpenter down was that he'd be in better position to drive in runs with his extra-base hits. That's exactly how it played out in the first inning on Thursday, as Carpenter followed a single by Jon Jay with a run-scoring double into the right-center gap.
The double was Carpenter's 13th this season, setting a franchise record for the month. He finished April with 15 multihit games.
The production behind Carpenter has been strong, too. Holliday, with two RBI hits on Thursday, has reached base in every game he's played this season and leads the Majors with his .500 on-base percentage.
Adams, whose season slash line of .232/.283/.357 through 17 games was somewhat uninspiring for a cleanup hitter, has surged over the last three days. He had eight hits (four for extra bases) and drove in six in the team's three wins. He even tallied his first hit off a lefty this season on Thursday.
"He's taking what they're giving him," Matheny said. "We're seeing him go the other way when they go out there. We're seeing him pull the ball. We're seeing him jump the fence when he needs to. You look up there and the numbers are right where they should be."
Adams credited a recent swing adjustment for being able to stay through the ball better.
"I knew if I kept working, I was going to figure it out," Adams said. "Everything is just clicking on all cylinders for this team right now. It's pretty cool to be a part of right now."