Cards eyeing 'clean' infield play going forward

In Peralta's absence, infielders have been shaky

Cards eyeing 'clean' infield play going forward

ATLANTA -- While the Cardinals' offense has awakened with a visit to Atlanta, the shaky defensive play that first surfaced in Pittsburgh has continued to be an issue.

The Cardinals closed a six-game road trip with 10 errors, a Major League most after one week. They avoided tallying a fourth consecutive multi-error game in Sunday's 12-7 win over the Braves, but they still couldn't play an entirely clean game. Kolten Wong's ninth-inning miscue tarnished the defense's day.

"We'll get better," manager Mike Matheny said. "We don't make that much of them. We obviously want to play a clean game. As you start talking about the kind of at-bats you want to take, there's going to be the kind of defense that we expect from ourselves as well. We've seen really good plays, and we've seen some plays that we know that we can make. It'll happen."

For a reference point, consider that it had been 20 years since the Cardinals committed 10 errors in their first six games.

Nine of the team's 10 errors have been by infielders, including two each by Aledmys Diaz and Jedd Gyorko. Wong already has three. Gyorko and Diaz committed their errors at short, giving the Cardinals half as many shortstop errors (four) as veteran Jhonny Peralta had all of last season.

Peralta, who will be sidelined with a thumb injury until at least June, did not commit his fourth error in 2015 until August 8. Until then, the Cardinals will continue to attempt to plug the hole with Diaz, Gyorko, Greg Garcia and, when he's healthy, Ruben Tejada.

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"It's tough," Wong said of the shaky defensive play. "We've had a few errors here and there. It's just weird. It's baseball, I guess. Maybe this is our error month, and the rest of the year we're error free. We'll see how it goes."

The Cardinals, at 3-3, are fortunate that the errors have not thus far been more costly. Six came in their sweep of the Braves, and only one unearned run has been allowed to this point.

Last season, the Cardinals ranked 11th in the National League with a .984 fielding percentage and fourth with 15 Defensive Runs Saved.

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