ST. LOUIS -- Brandon Moss and Stephen Piscotty found themselves making their first impressions simultaneously last season, with Moss a Trade Deadline arrival to St. Louis and Piscotty a late-July callup. The latter exceeded expectations, while the former didn't live up to them.
This season, however, they're both filling needed roles, with Moss flaunting the power that helped him resurrect a once-flailing career and Piscotty showcasing a repeat ability to thrive. Both were key, too, in helping the Cardinals secure a 4-0 win over the Phillies on Thursday.
One night after tying the game with an RBI single in the ninth, Piscotty provided some insurance Thursday with a bases-loaded, two-run double in the seventh. The hit, which put the Cardinals ahead by four, was Piscotty's Major League-leading 15th with runners in scoring position. Over the first 91 games of his big league career, Piscotty is hitting .419 with a .570 slugging percentage in such spots.
"He's got a nice idea of what people are going to try to do to him, and he's got a really uncanny ability for a young player to be able to make those adjustments and put together those tough at-bats," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think that's the kind of player he should demand himself to be. It's still early, and he's a young player, but this is a player we're seeing on a pretty consistent basis. We get in those situations, we like him up there."
These two most recent run-scoring hits by Piscotty both came after he worked a 1-2 count full.
"I'm just trying to come through, get a pitch that you can hit well and not try to do too much," Piscotty said. "It's not a situation where you try to hit a home run. There are times when you want to let it rip a little bit, but sometimes you tone it back."
Hitting home runs is more Moss' modus operandi, and while he, too, has had notable success hitting with runners in scoring position (.400), his impact has been felt largely through the long ball. He launched a solo shot 436 feet, according to Statcast™, to get the Cards on the board in the first Thursday, his team-leading seventh dinger of the season. Moss is averaging a home run every 11 at-bats, a better ratio than he's posted in any previous season.
It's also quite a contrast to 2015, when Moss hit four homers in 132 at-bats with the Cardinals.
"Obviously, I know more [of my] role and I know what's expected of me," Moss said. "I would like to be having some consistent at-bats throughout the game, but right now I'm happy that the power is there, and hopefully the consistency comes."
In addition to keying the offense, both players also had standout days defensively. Moss began the game in left field, where he ran down a slicing fly ball to prevent an early extra-base hit off starter Jaime Garcia. Shortly after shifting to first base due to Matt Adams exiting with a left leg contusion, he started an unassisted double play to strand the potential tying run at third.
Piscotty had a rather uneventful day in right field until making a diving catch in foul territory in the ninth. The catch helped settle Trevor Rosenthal, who was peppered with back-to-back hits to open the inning.
"They're better when they come in the ninth inning," Piscotty said of the web gem. "I'm glad I was able to come through there."