MILWAUKEE -- While the bottom five places in the Cardinals' order went 0-for-18 before Kolten Wong snuck a single through to right field in the eighth, the top of the lineup, in particular Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday, supplied more than enough commotion to lift the Cardinals to a 6-0 victory over the Brewers on Monday.
With the second four-hit game of his career, Carpenter set the tone. The new father connected on a one-out single to spark a three-run third, and he found his way home two more times after doubling in the fifth and seventh innings.
The Cardinals have often contended that as their leadoff hitter goes, so, too, do they. And there seems to be something to that. St. Louis has now won nine of 12 games in which Carpenter has tallied at least two hits. Over Carpenter's career, the Cardinals are 128-64 within those parameters.
"I never want to put that pressure on anyone that they have to be the guy, but I think it's also a pat on the back that says that when you're grinding your at-bats, it becomes contagious," manager Mike Matheny said. "Matt has always set, I think, the tone very well in that regard."
"If he gets on base every time, we have a great chance to score, especially with doubles to lead off innings," added Holliday. "Those are key opportunities for us and make it a lot easier for guys hitting behind him. He had a great game and really does set the tone for our offense."
It Carpenter set the tone, Holliday, two spots behind him, punctuated it. After lacing RBI singles in the third and fifth, Holliday pulverized a Jhan Marinez fastball in the seventh. The homer, Holliday's ninth this season, traveled 466 feet, according to Statcast™, and cleared the final row of bleachers in left-center field.
"It looked further than that," said Matheny.
The solo shot was Holliday's longest in the Statcast™ era, and it registered as the fifth-longest hit in the Majors this season.
His 27 home runs against the Brewers represent his highest total versus any opponent.
Holliday, who has remained static as the team's three-hole hitter, has provided a refreshing power jolt as of late. Monday's homer was Holliday's third in his last six games, and he's now strung together three consecutive multi-hit games. During that stretch, Holliday has bumped his slugging percentage from .442 to .491 and raised his OPS 75 points to .821.
"You look at our lineup, top to bottom, and we have some guys who can really swing it," Carpenter said. "But certainly when [Holliday is] hot and swinging the bat with authority, that can add a whole other element. That was fun to see."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.