- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)40
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Ray's of Kelso, Plaza by Ray's to change ownership; Fonn to buy enterprise (04/20/16)3
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)6
- Law firm requests information about Cape's traffic cameras (04/25/16)2
- Tanker truck catches fire near Oak Ridge (04/24/16)7
- Local lawmakers split over failed medical marijuana bill; voters may have a say (04/26/16)19
- Local company makes eco-friendly kitty litter that cuts cat-box smell (04/25/16)
Cardinals' sweep of Braves inspires wild thoughts
ST. LOUIS -- Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals are back in the playoff picture.
Molina had three hits, including a three-run double, and the Cardinals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.
The Cardinals pulled within 4 1/2 games of Atlanta in the NL wild-card race and remained six games back of Central-leading Milwaukee. St. Louis has 16 games left and opens a three-game set in Pittsburgh today.
The Braves start a three-game series with the Marlins today and have 15 games remaining.
"I feel like we are [in the race] if we keep winning," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It's exciting baseball. Guys have come through all over the roster. We got a shot."
The Cardinals know they have left themselves no margin for error.
"It doesn't mean anything if you go and you don't have a good road trip," first baseman Albert Pujols said. "We're just going to continue playing, and at the end of the road trip we'll see where we are."
Atlanta has dropped seven straight games at Busch Stadium and hasn't won in St. Louis since Sept. 13, 2009. The Braves lost six of eight on their road trip.
"We did nothing right," the Braves' Chipper Jones said about the trip.
Jake Westbrook (12-8) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings for the Cardinals. Jason Motte pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save in eight chances.
"It was a good win for us," Westbrook said. "I would have liked to have gotten deeper in the game and saved our bullpen a little bit, but that just wasn't the case."
St. Louis scored five runs in the third inning off Tim Hudson (14-10), taking advantage of the right-hander's control problems. Hudson plunked leadoff batter Daniel Descalso and hit Jon Jay with another pitch with two out.
Pujols hit an RBI single before Hudson issued consecutive walks to Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, forcing home a run. Molina then cleared the bases with a double to right, making it 5-0.
Hudson was charged with six runs and eight hits in six innings.
"I made my bed," Hudson said. "I set them up for an inning and I just didn't make good pitches. They had good at-bats and made me pay for it."
Jones did hit a solo drive in the eighth for his 17th homer of the season and No. 453 for his career, moving him ahead of Carl Yastrzemski and into 33rd place. Freddie Freeman singled in a run for Atlanta and pinch-hitter Matt Diaz had a sacrifice fly.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said his team needs to regroup after playing eight road games in seven days.
"It feels like we're close offensively," Gonzalez said. "Let's just go home, lick our wounds a little bit and go get them."
* Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse (13-8) will oppose Brad Lincoln (1-2) today in Pittsburgh. Brandon Beachy (7-2) will get the ball for the Braves today in Atlanta. Chris Volstad (5-12) is scheduled to pitch for the Marlins.
* Freeman's RBI was his 71st, tops among all rookies.
* Pujols went 13 for 36 on the Cardinals' nine-game homestand to raise his average to .297.