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Asked by hongwei28 on 02/10/2019 at 9:06 PM

The St. Louis Cardinals have struggled to get that one big hit they have needed recently Eric Staal Jersey , particularly during a three-game weekend sweep by Atlanta.

Yadier Molina came through early in a key situation, sparking the Cardinals to a play-from-ahead victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Molina hit a two-run single in the first inning and homered, helping the Cardinals end a four-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

”Yadie comes through and he’s got a knack for that and has for a long time,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”Then the other guys just kept coming.”

The Cardinals played from behind most of their series against the Braves, but jumped on the Diamondbacks early.

Molina hit a two-run single in the Cardinals’ four-run first inning against Robbie Ray (3-1) and hit his 12th homer off the Arizona left-hander in the sixth.

Jedd Gyorko also homered and had two RBIs to end Ray’s nine-game winning streak, dating to last season.

Martinez (5-4) allowed two runs on six hits and lined a double. Bud Norris worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

”We really wanted to come here and win the first one,” Molina said. ”We had a good plan against their pitcher and we executed it.”

Paul Goldschmidt had four hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks, who were not able to overcome the early deficit for their fourth straight loss.

”We got too far behind too early to play catch up,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

Martinez snapped a three-game losing streak his last start, holding Cleveland to two runs on six hits in six innings. The right-hander was staked to a four-run lead before taking the mound and gave up Jake Lamb’s run-scoring single in the bottom half.

Goldschmidt lined a run-scoring single in the fifth inning off Martinez, who struck out seven.

”We talk about being sharp in the first inning and I thought he was,” Matheny said. ”He still had a couple things happen in a hurry, but he did a great job of limiting the damage.”

Ray returned from the DL (strained right oblique) to throw six scoreless innings in a 2-1 win over Miami on Wednesday.

The Arizona left-hander had a shaky start to his second post-DL outing, allowing four runs on five hits in the first inning.

Ray struck out six while retiring 12 of the next 13 hitters before Molina and Gyorko connected on consecutive solo homers to put the Cardinals up 6-2 in the sixth inning.

Ray allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings in his 100th career appearance.

””I felt like I was making my pitches,” Ray said. ”They were just putting good swings on them.”

LOVULLO AND MOLINA

Lovullo and Molina nearly came to blows the last time their teams met in April after the Diamondbacks manager uttered a profanity Molina thought was directed at him while arguing with an umpire. Molina charged Lovullo during the argument and both were suspended a game for their actions.

Lovullo said the profanity was not directed at Molina after the April game and met with the Cardinals catcher during batting practice on Monday to patch things up.

”Everything is in the past,” Molina said. ”I have a bunch of respect for him and the organization, so everything is good.”

POLLOCK RETURNS

The Diamondbacks got a huge boost before the game Jason Zucker Jersey , when center fielder A.J. Pollock was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. The former All-Star had been out since May 14 with a broken left thumb and wasn’t expected to be back so soon, but was in the lineup batting fourth.

Pollock finished 0 for 4 and scored a run.

CARDINALS MOVES

The Cardinals place OF Dexter Fowler on paternity leave so he could be with his wife, Aliya, for the birth of their second child. St. Louis recalled rookie OF Tyler O’Neill from Triple-A Memphis to fill his roster spot. O’Neill started in right field and batted third, going 1 for 4.

TRAINER’S TABLE

Diamondbacks 2B Ketel Marte returned as a replacement in the seventh inning after missing Sunday’s game to a right hamstring cramp suffered Saturday against San Francisco.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks RHP Zack Greinke is 12-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 19 career games against the Cardinals headed into Tuesday’s game. He’ll face RHP Jack Flaherty, who will be making his first career start against Arizona.

The general belief is there are four contenders for the Super Bowl in the NFC, two in the AFC.

Let’s see if Tennessee or Jacksonville can prove that theory wrong this weekend.

Both AFC South representatives are significant underdogs, the Titans at New England on Saturday night, the Jaguars at Pittsburgh on Sunday. For weeks, it’s been presumed Steelers vs. Patriots will decide who goes to the Super Bowl from the conference.

The Titans and Jaguars want to have their say.

”They’re the champs and these are the types of teams you’ve got to beat if you want to be the champs,” says Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey, who is 0-5 against the Patriots. ”You’ve got to beat these teams at their place.”

Jacksonville already has done that, routing the Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9 in Week 5.

”We did beat them the first time, so to have all the confidence coming out of there is interesting,” Jaguars DT Malik Jackson says. ”They got a bye week, so they’re probably feeling really confident. We’ll see Sunday.”

Tennessee (10-7) at New England (13-3), Saturday

All the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven. They are Womens Luke Kunin Jersey , by far, the more experienced side: 14 Patriots players have played at least 10 playoff games. That’s more such players than the 11 other 2017 playoff teams combined (13). Tom Brady has a 6-1 career record against the Titans, throwing for 13 TDs and one interception. He’s 11-2 in 13 divisional-round games since 2002 and has completed 316 of 509 passes for 3,700 yards and 28 TDs in those games.

And amid reported turmoil involving Brady, owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, the quarterback isn’t likely to lose focus.

”We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” the All-Pro quarterback says. ”We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”

Tennessee has lost six in a row to New England, but comes off a stirring second-half rally at Kansas City from 18 points down, the largest postseason comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era.

Jacksonville (11-6) at Pittsburgh (13-3), Sunday

Ben Roethlisberger had the worst game of his career in that October loss to the Jags. Pittsburgh lost only once after that, at home to the Patriots in a game that decided the AFC’s top seed.

While Roethlisberger probably will play far better than that, the biggest challenge for Jacksonville could be stopping Le’Veon Bell in the running game. The Jaguars ranked first stopping the pass, but 21st against the run.

”I feel great, especially not playing these last two weeks, not going to (training) camp earlier in the year,” Bell says. ”I can’t complain. I like where I am. This is the freshest I’ve ever been going into the playoffs so we’ll see how it goes.”

Pittsburgh also gets back receiver Antonio Brown, like Bell an All-Pro this season.

Jacksonville needs far better passing from Blake Bortles. He gained more yards running than throwing vs. Buffalo in the wild-card round.

Atlanta (11-6) at Philadelphia (13-3) http://www.officialwild.com/authentic-adidas-matt-dumba-jersey , Saturday

Although Philly is the No. 1 NFC seed, the Falcons are favored. Part of that owes to Atlanta’s impressive work in winning at the Los Angeles Rams last week. Part has to do with the Falcons nearly winning the Super Bowl last February.

And part has to do with Nick Foles being the Eagles’ quarterback instead of the injured Carson Wentz.

Foles, though, has had some success in Philadelphia.

”It’s just going out there and playing and staying in the zone and trusting my instincts,” Foles says. ”I’ve played this game a long time. There’s a reason I’ve been able to do what I’ve been able to do. When I play my best and I’m most comfortable, I just go out there and play.”

By contrast, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has a passer rating of at least 100 in five straight postseason games, tied for the second-longest streak in league history. Only Joe Montana had a longer string with eight.

New Orleans (12-5) at Minnesota (13-3), Sunday

Minnesota easily handled New Orleans in the season opener, eons ago in NFL terms. The Vikings had a different quarterback then in Sam Bradford. Case Keenum has put together a superb stretch of games since replacing the injured Bradford.

The Saints’ RB tandem of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara wasn’t quite in place yet, either. And the New Orleans defense didn’t come to fruition until Week 3.

Minnesota’s D is balanced from front to back, so how Drew Brees deals with it could be the decider here.

”There’s no doubt about it,” Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says, ”you have a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback that does an excellent job of going out and executing their game from week to week. Our work will be cut out for us keeping them contained and hopefully giving them some things that can cause them some problems.”

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