Cards strike early, often to top Tribe

Cards strike early, often to top Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Lance Lynn logged six shutout innings, Matt Holliday launched a three-run home run in the eighth and the Cardinals came away with an 8-3 victory over the Indians on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game Interleague series at Progressive Field.

Against right-hander Lynn, the Indians went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position with six strikeouts. Lynn (2-3) struck out nine total, walked four and allowed four hits.

"When you start walking people, that's the big issue," Lynn said. "The singles, they'll happen. I was able to get through them and make the pitches, but you'd like them to be a little bit easier."

Lynn's scoreless start

The Indians rallied in the seventh after Lynn's departure, striking for three runs against the Cardinals' bullpen. Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley each came through with an RBI double, and Ryan Raburn followed with a pinch-hit, run-scoring double, cutting St. Louis' lead to 4-3, before the Cardinals blew things open with a four-run eighth.

St. Louis scored four runs against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (4-3), who bowed out after scattering 10 hits with seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Mark Reynolds, who suited up for the Tribe in 2013, contributed a two-run single in the second, Holliday added an RBI single in the fifth and Jhonny Peralta chipped in a run-scoring double in the seventh.

"I think [Carrasco] pitched better than the line showed," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Reynolds went down and got a ball that probably all he could do with [it] was what he did -- punch it into right. I think they only hit two balls [hard]. Peralta hit a ball to right, fairly deep, but there were only a couple of balls that really were driven."

Carrasco's seven strikeouts

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Striking first: The Cardinals got on the board early on a two-run bloop single off the bat of Reynolds. The Cardinals have scored first in 17 of their 23 wins this year, and they were 15-2 entering the game when scoring first. The Indians, on the other hand, have gotten behind first in 17 of their 20 losses, and they are 4-17 when playing from behind early.

"Those first two RBIs were big to get us going," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Reynolds. "Just taking what they're giving him. I'm really impressed with a guy who's always been just swinging, for three to shorten up." More >

Rare whiff: Heading into Tuesday's game, Brantley had swung and missed at only two pitches inside the strike zone through 347 pitches seen this season. With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Lynn struck out the Majors' hardest player to fan with a 91-mph fastball. Brandon Moss followed with a strikeout, ending the threat.

Lynn escapes bases-loaded jam

Extended Holliday: After the Indians cut the Cardinals' lead to one run, the Cardinals struck back for four runs in the eighth inning to give the back end of their bullpen some breathing room. An error by Cleveland shortstop Jose Ramirez opened the floodgates for Holliday to hit a three-run homer to right field. It was the first time Holliday had gone deep to the opposite field since 2013, and his first career home run at Progressive Field.

"I think pitchers particularly, that's kind of wind out of their sail," Holliday said. "Any time you can get that as an offense and keep extending the lead, you feel like if you can keep just tacking on here and there, you get a good chance to win."

Kipnis keeps pace: Cleveland's second baseman entered Tuesday's game batting .462 (18-for-39) through nine games in May and has been on an offensive tear since taking over as the leadoff man. Against St. Louis, Kipnis kept it going, finishing 3-for-4 with a walk and two doubles, including the seventh-inning two-base hit that put the Indians on the board.

"I'm trying to set the table for us," Kipnis said. "I'm trying to steal bags and score some runs for us. These other guys will turn it around, though. This is a good group of guys. We're way too good to be playing the way we are."

Carpenter's RBI single

QUOTABLE
"I don't have time to worry about that. I've got too much to come play for every day. This is our job. This is what we take serious. Our job is to come and try to win the game that we have that night. We'll look up later and see where we are in the standings. I'm not going to worry about that stuff just yet." -- Kipnis, asked if he was worried about the Indians' season

WHAT'S NEXT
Cardinals: John Lackey (2-1, 3.20 ERA) takes the mound for St. Louis at 5:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday, looking to work into at least the sixth inning for the ninth consecutive game. That's a streak which dates back to September 19 of last season. With ace Adam Wainwright out for the season, the Cardinals need Lackey to go distance, and that's what he's done.

Indians: Right-hander Corey Kluber (0-5, 5.04 ERA) will be aiming for his first win of the season when he takes the mound on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. ET. Last Thursday in Kansas City, Kluber allowed five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a loss, in which he struck out seven and walked two.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.