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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Craig celebrates 26th birthday in style

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig had a three-RBI game on Sunday as the Dodgers were swept out of town.

Allen Craig (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)Instead of waiting for another chance in St. Louis, rookie Cardinals outfielder Allen Craig helped make it happen by continuing to play hard after being sent down to Triple-A Memphis after an unproductive introductory period as a major leaguer.

His productivity is most evident by his 65 Pacific Coast League RBI in 67 games, good enough to be named by The Cardinal Nation as the Player of the Month across the organization for June.

Given another opportunity with the Cardinals on July 15 means Craig’s major league career is still only 11 games old. Coming into his start at first base on Sunday in place of resting Albert Pujols, some focused on his 2-for-22 (.091) beginning, expecting the worst from the right-handed hitter.

Fortunately, Craig had other ideas, enjoying a big afternoon on his 26th birthday.

Batting in Pujols’ customary third spot, Craig was on base three times, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk. Further, he plated three of the Cardinals’ five runs in their comeback win over the Dodgers. Craig walked in the sixth, doubled in two runs and scored in the eighth and his single with two out in the ninth plated Yadier Molina with the tying run.

On Thursday, Craig had collected his first two career RBI in game one of the four-game sweep over the visiting Dodgers. Sunday’s three-RBIs in game four served as an impressive bookend.

With a pair of multi-RBI games in the first 11 games of his Cardinals career, Craig put his name on a list that now has just 30 names on it since 1920. As one might expect, Pujols is at the top with four such games, but in Craig, Cardinals fans may have much about which to be hopeful.

St. Louis Cardinals, two or more multi-RBI games in first 11 career games, 1920-present

Player Year G RBI
Albert Pujols 2001 4 10
Fred Whitfield 1962 4 10
Don Gutteridge 1936 3 9
George Puccinelli 1930 3 7
Jim Bottomley 1922 3 7
Wally Moon 1954 3 6
Joe Cunningham 1954 2 9
Hal Smith 1956 2 6
Enos Slaughter 1938 2 6
Heinie Schuble 1927 2 6
Allen Craig 2010 2 5
Adam Kennedy 1999 2 5
Rod Booker 1987 2 5
George Watkins 1930 2 5
John Gall 2005 2 4
Keith McDonald 2000 2 4
J.D. Drew 1998 2 4
Eli Marrero 1997 2 4
John Morris 1986 2 4
Vince Coleman 1985 2 4
Tom Nieto 1984 2 4
Ken Reitz 1972 2 4
Julian Javier 1960 2 4
Ken Boyer 1955 2 4
Stan Musial 1941 2 4
Harry Walker 1940 2 4
Bruce Ogrodowski 1936 2 4
Bill Lewis 1933 2 4
Chick Hafey 1924 2 4
Les Bell 1923 2 4

Thanks to Tom Orf for the data table above.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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