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Liberatore shines as Cardinals take series from Rays

St. Louis Cardinals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For the first time since late July, the Cardinals have won a series.

Everything went right today for the Cardinals. The offense busted out for five runs as Andrew Knizner and Tommy Edman both hit bombs. Nolan Arenado took a gamble in the sixth and barely scored from first on Alec Burleson’s single. Another run scored on an error in the seventh.

The story of the game was Matthew Liberatore. After his last start against the Twins, I was a little concerned, especially with the Rays offense. But Liberatore was dominant tonight. He went eight innings and struck out seven batters.

JoJo Romero was a little shaky in the ninth, giving up two runs. But he got the job done and secured a Cardinals victory. Let’s break this one down.

Libby Dominates In St. Pete

Liberatore really was the story of the game. He ran into some trouble in the first inning, but worked his way around it and settled into a groove. He also managed to pick off Wander Franco at second base. That was when Chip Caray had a pun that I thought was pretty funny.

He said that Franco was “Wandering” too far off second base. Truth is, he was, and Liberatore capitalized on it. This is a really encouraging sign. With the Cardinals out of contention, the focus is now seeing what they have in their system. If this Liberatore is around more frequently, then I think the Cardinals are in good shape as they play out the rest of the season.

It was also nice to see the Cardinals get positive results from him so we didn’t have to hear about losing Randy Arozarena for the millionth time. But in all seriousness, I was impressed. He only allowed two hits and did not walk a batter.

Cards supply power

I already mentioned it above, but the offense was in good shape tonight. It started with Andrew Knizner’s two-run homer in the fourth.

For me, it’s good to see Knizner finally coming into his own as a hitter and proving to be a viable backup catcher. I feel like we all kind of saw him as someone who was blocked by Yadier Molina, but he’s been swinging a hot bat, and I’m really happy to see him earning some more playing time.

Tommy Edman went yard in the ninth. Before he got his first hit, I was thinking about how this season has been kind of tough for him. Heading into this game, he was hitting just .238.

Fortunately, he changed the narrative in my mind when he got his first hit. The home run was just the icing on the cake. I know a lot of people wanted to see him traded at the deadline, but I’m personally glad the Cards held onto him. He’s too valuable to be traded in my opinion.

The Cardinals won 5-2 and improved to 51-65. Adam Wainwright gets the ball in the I-70 series opener tomorrow against the Royals.