Bowman providing helpful relief for Cards

Bowman providing helpful relief for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' bullpen has experienced its fair share of disappointment since Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of the closer's role in late June.

The relief corps blew the lead twice Friday against the Marlins and allowed three runs Sunday in a 6-3 loss to Miami after the offense came from behind to tie it up in the sixth inning.

The one constant as of late among the St. Louis relievers has been Matt Bowman, who pitched two scoreless innings Sunday. Starter Michael Wacha allowed three runs -- two in a fifth inning in which he didn't record an out, prompting a call to Bowman.

The young reliever has scattered four hits in nine scoreless innings over his last eight appearances. His ERA dropped under to 2.95 for the first time since May 4 as a result of his effort Sunday.

"I think he has worked the bottom of the zone," manager Mike Matheny said. "He has very good sink, which has allowed him to be successful with the lefties as well as the righties. He comes in pounding the strike zone and he's not afraid to use his offspeed in tough counts. He's got confidence in himself and his stuff, and he's been doing a great job for us."

Bowman stranded Christian Yelich at first base after striking out Giancarlo Stanton and getting Derek Dietrich and Don Kelly to fly out. Ichiro Suzuki's two-out double in the sixth put runners on second and third, but Bowman got Martin Prado to fly out to end the threat.

"He just trusts his stuff," Wacha said. "He's been a great guy out of the bullpen for us all year. He goes in there and has that confidence that he's going to get that guy out. He's got a good mix of pitches and really attacks the hitters."

Perhaps more importantly to Matheny, Bowman offers a level of confidence he probably doesn't have in the rest of his relievers. Rosenthal worked one-third of an inning Friday, and Matheny left the door open to sending him down to Triple-A.

The Cardinals were hoping Kevin Siegrist's comeback from the disabled list after a bout with mononucleosis would add some stability, but he allowed one run Friday night and another Sunday. Jonathan Broxton blew a save Friday and earned the loss Sunday. The Cardinals are now 0-8 when he allows a run.

"It kind of seems to go along with what we've got going as a club," Matheny said. "It's really good some times, exactly how we want it, and other times where we're just going to have to fight our way through until we find that niche or find the rhythm of where everybody is going to go."

Nick Krueger is a reporter for based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.