Beltran backs Lynn's impressive outing in Cardinals 1-0 win

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run during the third inning Wednesday in St. Louis. (TOM GANNAM ~ Associated Press)

ST. LOUIS -- The game plan called for Lance Lynn to spend his first full season in the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen. The young right-hander instead has emerged as one of the game's best pitchers.

The 25-year-old Lynn struck out a career-high 12 despite back tightness to stay tied for the major league lead in wins, and Carlos Beltran hit his NL-best 19th home run Wednesday night to send the St. Louis Cardinals to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox that ended Chicago's eight-game road winning streak.

"Every time I go out there, I think like it's 0-0, whatever inning it is and whoever's up," Lynn said after outdueling Jake Peavy. "You don't want to give up a hit ever or a run ever. I was able to keep them off the board."

Paul Konerko grounded into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third against Jason Motte.

"I knew they had it," Lynn said. "It was a little interesting, but it was fun."

Motte pounded Konerko inside before the cleanup man hit a bouncer to third.

"If he's hitting his spots, it's tough to put a good swing on it," Konerko said. "A little deceptiveness, but more than anything he was just hitting spots."

Beltran homered in the third inning off Peavy (6-2) and had three of the four hits for the Cardinals, who have scored only seven runs in the last five games and totaled a single run for the third straight game. They've won just five of 14.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he almost scratched Beltran, who has been bothered by stomach issues, before the game.

"Mike wanted to take me out of the lineup, and I said yesterday I played like that, and I was fine," Beltran said. "Today was good."

Lynn (10-2) allowed three hits over 7 1/3 innings and joined Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey as the only 10-game winners in the majors. Dickey threw a one-hitter at Tampa Bay earlier in the night.

Lynn replaced injured Chris Carpenter in the rotation. He topped his previous career best of 11 strikeouts while going six innings during his last start at Houston.

Beltran has been a force batting second. He's hit 11 homers from that spot in 20 starts compared with seven long balls at cleanup in 32 games. All but five of his homers have come batting left-handed, and 11 have come with the bases empty.

Peavy worked seven innings and gave up four hits with six strikeouts and two walks in the hard-luck loss. He retired 13 of his last 14 hitters. He had entered an American League-best 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA on the road and had won six in a row away from home with a 1.44 ERA overall dating to Aug. 7, 2011.

Like Lynn, who said his back has been bothering him for about a week, Peavy came into the game at less than full strength. Peavy said he's been ill the last few days.

"I had some kind of concoction that got me through the night," Peavy said. "I had to throttle back and maybe that helped me a little bit mechanically.

"They were aggressive and they were swinging and we got some quick outs. It just wasn't meant to be tonight."

Marc Rzepczynski got pinch-hitter Adam Dunn to ground into a double play to end the eighth, and Motte finished for his 12th save in 15 chances. Matheny went back to Rzepczynski, a night after Dunn homered in the eighth inning to help the White Sox pull away for a 6-1 victory.

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