(The Sports Xchange) - It would be hard to tell by his overall numbers, but much of this season has been a fight for Lance Lynn.
Be it a lack of run support or the fact he has pitched in so many close games, Lynn has had to grind his way through quite a few of his starts.
It was a fight for Lynn on Friday, but for a different reason.
Backed by a six-run fifth inning, Lynn battled fastball command to toss six scoreless innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Lynn allowed six hits and walked four but repeatedly worked out of trouble to collect his ninth win of the season.
“He came up with a bunch of zeros, which is good,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “But it was not the kind of good that you’ve come to see with him. He fought with fastball command, but he got his big pitches when he had to.”
It was St. Louis’ 12th shutout of the season, as the Cardinals lowered their Major-League leading team ERA to 2.60.
The six runs marked the most St. Louis has scored in support of Lynn since May 12. Lynn entered Friday with the fourth-lowest average run support among National League starters at 2.82.
Making his second career start, and his first since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday, Cravy was roughed up for six runs on eight hits over five innings.
Cravy, who allowed just one run over seven innings against the Cardinals in his Major-League debut on June 2, appeared on his way to another quality outing against St. Louis after beginning the game with four scoreless innings.
However, the Cardinals broke through with a six-run fifth inning.
First baseman Brandon Moss led off with a double off the right-field wall and came around to score when left fielder Stephen Piscotty doubled to left one batter later. Third baseman Matt Carpenter made it 2-0 with St. Louis’ third double of the inning, a screamer off the wall in right-center field.
Right fielder Jason Heyward kept the inning alive with a two-out RBI single to center, and center fielder Randal Grichuk capped the frame with a three-run home run.
“I thought he was really good the first four innings,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Cravy. “There were just some pitches in the middle of the plate and they took good swings on them.”
The Brewers had plenty of early chances against Lynn, collecting at least one base runner in each of the first four innings. Milwaukee had runners at the corners with one out in the second but failed to score.
Lynn did not work a clean frame all night and allowed multiple runners to reach in four of his six innings of work.
After striking out left fielder Khris Davis to strand two in the first, Lynn worked out of a jam again in the second.
A one-out single by third baseman Elian Herrera put runners at the corners with one for Cravy, who sacrificed Herrera to second. Lynn then got second baseman Scooter Gennett to pop out to third base on a 3-1 pitch to end the inning.
The Brewers loaded the bases via two walks and a single against Lynn in the sixth, but pinch-hitter Logan Schafer struck out looking to end the threat.
”When you put yourself in those situations a lot you learn how to get out of them,“ Lynn said. ”I’ve shown I like to do that. When you put yourself in those situations you better learn how to get out of them.
“I just start aiming down the middle and hope for the best, really. You let the movement work and I knew I had good velocity, so when runners got on I tried to a head. It worked.”
Cardinals right-hander Carlos Villanueva pitched three perfect innings in relief of Lynn to earn his second save of the season.