MILWAUKEE -- A pair of positive performances at the plate may have won Peter Bourjos a place in the starting lineup on Thursday, but it was his glove that has him in there for a fourth straight game on Friday … and potentially beyond.
The Cardinals' 3-2 win over Milwaukee to open the four-game series was headlined by three defensive gems, each the result of manager Mike Matheny's decision to start Bourjos in center. Bumped to right field by Bourjos' inclusion, Jon Jay twice robbed Khris Davis of a run-scoring hit. Bourjos then ran into the wall to save two runs on Logan Schafer's deep drive in the eighth.
"It's fun to be a part of an outfield like that where you can take hits away and you can change a game. I think we saw it last night," Bourjos said on Friday. "You go out there and you try to make every play you can. It's fun when you make those types of plays. It's on the TV and everybody's texting you, all your buddies. And obviously it was big time in the game to help the team win. That was the most exciting part of it -- not the catch, but the situation in the game."
Bourjos hasn't seen the playing time he expected after being dealt to the Cardinals in the winter, but he has changed several games with his glove and his speed. Teammates have nicknamed him 'Sneaky Pete,' because, as Matheny put it, "all of a sudden, the outfielders say, he's right there in their hip pocket."
In 562 1/3 innings in center, Bourjos has been credited with eight Defensive Runs Saved. Only three National League center fielders have a higher DRS, and each has played more innings at the position. With Bourjos' defensive impact evident, he looks to be in line for regular starts down the stretch.
"You look over the last week and the defensive plays made in our outfield, they are game-saving plays without question," Matheny said. "How many runs did Peter essentially drive in yesterday by eliminating them? That play at the end is the game if he doesn't make [it]."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.