Jay, Cardinals' outfielders rise to occasion

Jay, Cardinals' outfielders rise to occasion

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are missing everyday left fielder and No. 3 hitter Matt Holliday while he nurses a strained right quad, but outfielder Jon Jay returned to form in the first home game without Holliday in a 4-0 win over the Royals on Friday night.

Jay entered the contest 4-for-30 since rejoining the Cardinals on May 29 after a stint on the disabled list with a wrist injury. But he opened the scoring with a second-inning triple and then scored on a single by starter Jaime Garcia.

"It was good to be able to contribute tonight," Jay said.

Jay's sacrifice fly

Jay also reached base on an intentional walk in the sixth and drove in the Cardinals' fourth run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth as part of a strong offensive effort from an outfield that outperformed the top half of the lineup while comprising the Nos. 6 through 8 spots in the order.

"Obviously, Holliday is missed," Jay said. "Everyone knows what kind of impact player he is in our lineup, but we've just got to find a way to win. There's no excuses here. We've got to find a way to go out there and compete and hopefully get him back as soon as we can."

Randal Grichuk batted seventh and started in left field for a second straight game. He scored twice while producing his first two-hit game since June 2 with an infield single in the second and an RBI triple in the eighth.

Grichuk's RBI triple

Batting sixth, Jason Heyward reached base twice and scored in the eighth. He is hitting .326 over his last 14 games.

"Jon Jay coming up with a couple big hits, the RBI double and then bearing down there and getting that sacrifice. That's real important for us," manager Mike Matheny said. "Randal put together some good at-bats. And Jason is swinging it like we think he can. It's good to see him in a good place right now."

Aside from Jhonny Peralta's 3-for-4 out of the three-hole, the other four hitters at the top of the lineup went a combined 0-for-14. Without the help of the bottom of the lineup, it would have been another solid outing with no run support for Garcia, who has seen the offense produce zero runs in three of his five starts this year.

"We want to try to keep building on that," Matheny said. "The bottom of the lineup definitely created a lot of things, and then Jaime helping out his own cause never hurts."

David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.