Healthy Cardinals lineup proves to be imposing

Cards erupt, hit 4 HRs with Holliday, Grichuk starting together for first time since July 29

Healthy Cardinals lineup proves to be imposing

ST. LOUIS -- For the first time since May, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny found himself designing a lineup without restriction on Wednesday night.

The team's disabled list is finally absent of position players, and those who were only semi-healthy all had their lingering limitations lifted. The result was a 10-2 pounding of the Reds and a show of power unseen all season.

The Cardinals can hope that Wednesday's offensive display is an indicator of what's possible with a healthy bunch of hitters. The team clubbed four home runs -- its first four-homer game since July 2014 -- and reached double digits in runs for just the eighth time this season.

Perhaps it's no coincidence that a team that had averaged 3.5 runs per game this month had its outburst on a night when Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk occupied the lineup together for the first time since July 29. Grichuk initiated Wednesday's power surge, blasting his 17th homer of the season while making just his third start since straining his elbow on Aug. 16.

Grichuk's solo homer

Holliday contributed an RBI double before bowing out after five innings when the team's lead was already firm.

"I feel like the energy of the team is on the rise," Grichuk said. "I feel like we know we're getting all healthy. It's on the up. I know we've struggled on the offensive side here and there throughout the year, but we're getting everybody back now, and it's going to be dangerous."

The Cardinals flaunted the depth of their new-look lineup, too. Matt Carpenter connected for a pair of home runs from the leadoff spot, while Mark Reynolds had a three-hit, two-RBI game from the seventh spot. Aside from cleanup hitter Jhonny Peralta, every starting position player (many of whom were subbed out midgame) reached base at least once.

Reynolds' two-run double

"Look at that lineup tonight compared to what it's been," Carpenter said. "Having Matt in the three hole changes a lot of things. Obviously, Grichuk, you know what he's capable of. It just adds a different element to what this lineup is capable of. We're getting healthy, and it's all kind of falling into place. The timing of this is starting to play out pretty well."

The Cardinals boast a Major League-most 96 wins despite entering Wednesday ranked 25th in runs scored. No team still eligible for the postseason had scored fewer.

This is a team, though, that has hardly fielded a full lineup all year. Matt Adams just recently returned after going down with an injury in late May. Holliday has played in only 67 games due to twice injuring his quad. Grichuk had two different stints on the disabled list.

But couple their returns with the emergence of Stephen Piscotty, unexpected contributions from Tommy Pham, steady production from Jason Heyward, and potential boosts from Yadier Molina, Kolten Wong and Peralta, and all of a sudden the Cardinals may finally have an offense to be feared.

"A lot of things happened offensively today that we're very proud of," Matheny said. "I feel our best baseball is ahead of us."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.