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St. Louis Cardinals beat Atlanta Braves as Shelby Miller improves to 12-8

Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran homer and Matt Holliday somehow breaks the game open, despite desperately wanting to bring the St. Louis Cardinals down and collect his millions.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Shelby Miller's midseason flirtation with adequacy was driven by (relative) wildness—24 walks in the 51 innings before tonight, after 17 in his first 81. Saturday night he didn't walk anyone, and found himself in just three three-ball counts. (Two of those came after he went up two strikes on Chris Johnson, who had walked 23 times in 427 plate appearances entering the game.)

Command has always been the difference between hard-throwin'-prospect Shelby Miller and finished-product Shelby Miller—it was last year's incredibly run of nearly walkless innings that salvaged his season in Memphis and forced a major league audition in the first place.

Hitting has always been the difference between the Team of Destiny St. Louis Cardinals and the oh-god-the-Pirates-are-a-Team-of-Destiny St. Louis Cardinals. They've been so long without home runs they still don't know what to do with them—two solo homers meant this felt like a pitchers' duel until Matt Holliday went Clutch again—but 10 hits, three of them for extra bases, will eventually turn into a few runs.

The Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds all look good, and September's a week away. That's the way the stretch run is supposed to look, I'm told.