Asked if he felt this is one of the aspects of the game that is contagious, manager Don Mattingly deferred judgment.
"It may happen one day like that," he said. "One guy gets hot and takes the pressure off everybody. Hitting in scoring position is a matter of putting pressure on yourself all the time. That one at-bat with runners in scoring position shouldn't change your approach.
"It really gets back to getting a pitch to hit and hitting it hard -- simple as that. It doesn't matter if it's the first inning or the ninth inning -- get a pitch and hit it hard."
Mattingly said he had no explanation why the Cardinals could set a record last season batting .330 with runners in scoring position and, with basically the same cast, be struggling at .240 this season, ninth in the league.
"Last year I remember people talking about it with the Cardinals, how amazing it was," Mattingly said. "Right now they might be hearing about it in the opposite direction -- it's a negative instead of a positive. You hear a lot more about that now as a player [than in previous eras]."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.