CHICAGO -- Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina stunned the U.S. Cellular Field crowd on Wednesday when he delivered a two-out, two-strike, bases-clearing triple off David Robertson in the eighth to erase a two-run hole and lift the Cardinals to a 3-2 win over the White Sox. With the win, St. Louis became the Majors' first 60-win team.
The triple was Molina's first since 2011 and accounted for the club's first hit with a runner in scoring position. After two batters reached against reliever Zach Duke with one out, White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers helped the Cardinals extend the inning by interfering on Jason Heyward's two-out swing. Robertson relieved and, five pitches later, Molina connected for his fifth game-winning RBI of the year.
"I thought it was a great pitch," Robertson said. "He's a really good hitter. I thought I was going to be able to beat him with it. But he did what good hitters do, he found a hole in the outfield, put a good swing on it and drove in all three runs, and I ended up with a blown save."
The three-run eighth cost White Sox starter John Danks his sixth win. Danks made his third scoreless start of the month, this time lasting 6 2/3 innings. The Cardinals tallied five hits off Danks but never advanced a runner into scoring position with less than two outs.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn matched Danks early but slipped in the sixth. After allowing the first two batters to reach on a hit and a walk, Lynn gave up a pair of RBI singles in what was his final inning of work.
Motoring Molina: Not one known for his fast feet, Molina cleared the bases with his first triple in 2,071 at-bats, dating back to May 2011. It was the third hit of the night for Molina, who ranks first among catchers with 28 multihit games this year. His hit lifted the Cards to their eighth win when trailing after seven innings.
"I was looking for something middle, middle-away," Molina said. "It was a good pitch. I just got lucky to put the bat on the ball and was lucky to find a hole." More >
Error proves costly: Flowers' interference put the go-ahead run on base. With two strikes on Heyward, Flowers extended his glove too far, making contact with the bat. Heyward was awarded first base to load the bases and make way for Molina's triple.
"You could hear the bat hit it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It's just an odd play, unfortunate, and we ended up paying for it." More >
Singles in the sixth: The White Sox used three base hits in the sixth frame to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Carlos Sanchez led off with a single before making his way to third. Abreu knocked him home three batters later, and Cabrera added one of his own on the ensuing at-bat. Chicago had only two baserunners over the five prior innings -- both in the third.
"Once you get guys on base, it's not just, 'Get those guys in," said Ventura. "Continue to get hits and keep the line moving. ... You have to be able to strike when you get that inning, when you feel that inning is coming on."
Siegrist steps up: The Cardinals' bullpen contributed three scoreless innings, the last of which Trevor Rosenthal covered for his 29th save. Kevin Siegrist may have gotten the biggest out of the night, however, when he relieved Sam Tuivailala with the potential tying run at third in the eighth and proceeded to end the inning by striking out Adam LaRoche.
"[I] told him before the game [he would only be used] in an emergency," Matheny said of Siegrist. "And we had an emergency. He did a great job of answering the bell."
"We have to win ballgames. There's not really any time left. We have to go. I feel like we have played better than our record shows this first week, but at the end of the day, it's all about wins and losses. We have to do better. We know that." -- Danks, on his team's start to the second half of the season
"I loved it. We were best friends all of a sudden. We spoke the same language like you wouldn't believe." -- Lynn, on his reaction to watching Molina's triple
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Cardinals have won eight games this season when trailing after seven innings. In 2014, they had only three such wins all year.
"I think relentless is the right way to describe it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the late-inning comebacks. "They're not giving up until it's all over. There are a lot of teams that just don't have that in them. For whatever reason, this club does. It's an incredible trait to have."
Cardinals first baseman Mark Reynolds gave the club a temporary scare as he came up limping while being erased from the basepath on a ninth-inning double play. Reynolds did return to play the field in the bottom half of the inning and said afterward that he had just briefly felt something akin to a charley horse around his ankle.
"It just dead-legged me," Reynolds said. "I couldn't put any pressure on it. Then, after I got back in the dugout and sat down for a few minutes, it was fine."
WHAT'S NEXT Cardinals: St. Louis will play a makeup game against the Royals on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CT at Busch Stadium. John Lackey, who lost a rain-shortened game against Kansas City in May and was the scheduled starter for the June rainout, draws the start as the Cardinals open a season-long 11-game homestand.
White Sox: Chicago travels to Cleveland for the start of a four-game series on Thursday and an eight-game road trip. Jeff Samardzija takes the mound with a 5.29 ERA away from home, where the Sox have lost three of his last four starts. First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.