PHOENIX -- After a series of balls hit to the warning track during his first four weeks with his new team, Brandon Moss, much to his relief, finally showed the Cardinals his ability to drop one over.
Moss, homerless in his first 58 appearances with St. Louis after blasting 15 with the Indians before a July 30 trade, delivered a tiebreaking homer that would eventually stand as a game-winner in Thursday night's 5-3 win over Arizona.
"It gets to be a couple weeks and you feel good and you have some at-bats where you're hitting balls well and just missing ones, you start to wonder," Moss said. "Am I going to turn this around?"
He did see indicators, however, that led him to believe he was close. In addition to driving several balls just short of the wall, Moss had drawn seven walks in his last 20 plate appearances. He had hit into some hard outs, too, including one in Thursday's first inning that cost him two RBIs.
All the while, Moss has used his time out of the lineup -- he had started just four games since Aug. 12 -- to continue to work out issues with the timing of his swing.
"It's not fun to not play, but it was a time that is afforded to you to make the most of it," Moss said. "I have worked really hard to get back to that consistent swing that I know I can take and the consistency with it to where I can read the ball. I think my at-bats lately have been trending in the right direction. I've been seeing pitches a lot better, working counts a lot better."
On Thursday, Moss was a part of a new-look lineup drawn up to maximize the number of left-handed hitters facing Arizona right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. Matheny got in five, everyday starters Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Jason Heyward, along with Moss and Greg Garcia. Combined, they went 4-for-11 off De La Rosa with three walks, two doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored. Moss' hit was the biggest.
"I know he's been waiting for that for a long time, and it couldn't have come at a better time," manager Mike Matheny said. "He's been hitting the ball hard. We've seen it at home, where it's just a little short. That one was just enough in the right park, and hopefully that's something that will get him moving in a positive direction."
Matheny's other lineup switch -- replacing Yadier Molina, who had started 15 straight games behind the plate, with Tony Cruz -- also paid off in a big way. Cruz lined a De La Rosa fastball 441 feet over the left-field wall to help the Cardinals surge to an early 3-0 lead.