Fowler, Carpenter get going in Cardinals’ 7-5 win over Twins
By Brian Hall
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter were expected to be key members of the St. Louis Cardinals this season, among the top three hitters in the batting order.
St. Louis hopes Wednesday’s performance was a sign the two are getting back to their usual production.
Fowler reached base four times and drove in two runs in his return to the lineup, and the Cardinals beat former starter Lance Lynn and the Minnesota Twins 7-5 on Wednesday.
Carpenter had three hits after being dropped to seventh, and Tommy Pham added a pair of hits that included his eighth homer. St. Louis had lost five of seven games, scoring more than three runs just once.
“For us to struggle like we have, the lineup’s just not capable of doing what you thought it was going to do if you got guys like us not going,” Carpenter said. “For us to be as good as good as we are, we need everybody clicking. Today, you saw that.”
Lynn (1-4) had control issues again, a surprising constant in his first season with Minnesota after six years with the Cardinals. He gave up three runs, four hits and four walks in three innings, throwing 82 pitches.
“You can feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, or close,” Lynn said. “Just doesn’t go your way, or something kind of snowballs on you. That’s kind of been how it’s been going since the season started for me.”
Jordan Hicks (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning in relief for St. Louis. Bud Norris allowed an inherited run to score on a wild pitch but secured five outs for his ninth save in as many chances.
After declining the Cardinals’ $17.4 million qualifying offer, Lynn was among many unsigned free agents as spring training began. He reached a $12 million, one-year contract with the Twins.
Lynn averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings in his time with the Cardinals, a number that has crept to 6.6 per nine innings entering first start against St. Louis.
“He’s aware that it’s been a struggle so far,” Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. “Sometimes, either subconsciously or consciously, you’re trying a little bit too hard to get it back on track.”
Fowler, who entered hitting .146, had a two-run single in the first. He made just his second start in five games and had two hits and two walks.
Hitting .140 coming in, Carpenter started a game lower than cleanup for the first time since 2015. He had an RBI double in the seventh and his first three-hit game this season.
“I think there was just things they see with the guys, something whether it’s mechanically or that feel that we’re always talking for, searching for,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. “They sense, especially the guys who have been around a while, they sense when they’re getting close. Good time for it.”
Logan Morrison had an opposite-field solo homer for Minnesota in the sixth.
Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas allowed two runs, two hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. It was the shortest start of the season for Mikolas, who had gone at least 6 2/3 innings in his prior six starts.
“Just trying to see what I had in my bag today,” Mikolas said. “Didn’t have my best stuff out there today and just tried to grind through it and get outs and do what I could.”
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Joe Mauer had two hits for the Twins and passed Harmon Killebrew into sixth on the Twins/Washington Senators franchise list with 2,025. He trails Sam Rice (2,887), Kirby Puckett (2,304), Joe Judge (2,291), Clyde Milan (2,100) and Rod Carew (2,085).
Cardinals: RHP Luke Weaver (3-2, 4.91 ERA) starts Thursday as St. Louis opens a home series against Philadelphia. RHP Jake Arrieta (3-1, 2.59) takes the mound for the Phillies.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.43) is to start Friday at home against Milwaukee. The Brewers counter with LHP Brent Suter (2-3, 5.14).