Operating in the relative obscurity of middle relief, Chris Stratton has been an unsung hero for St. Louis during its recent resurgence. The ex-Mississippi State star from Tupelo worked 1 1/3 clean innings in relief of Adam Wainwright on Tuesday night as the Cardinals beat Cincinnati 8-5. After an awful start, St. Louis has won 12 of 16 to climb to 22-28 and within 5 games of first place in the National League Central. Seven of Stratton’s eight appearances in May have been scoreless, covering 12 1/3 innings. He relieved Wainwright in the sixth with the tying runs on base and got a strikeout to end the inning. The 32-year-old right-hander is in his second season with the Cardinals; he was 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA for the club last year after arriving in a trade with Pittsburgh. … Stratton was one of four Mississippians in MLB who had notable appearances on the bump Tuesday. MSU product Kendall Graveman recorded his fourth save for the improving Chicago White Sox as they beat Cleveland; he has four saves and a 0.00 ERA over his last seven appearances. Former Ole Miss standout Mike Mayers allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings and struck out eight in Kansas City’s win against Detroit. The veteran Mayers was making his second appearance and first start since being summoned from Triple-A last week. J.P. France, an MSU alum, worked 5 2/3 innings for Houston and allowed just one earned run in taking a tough-luck loss against Milwaukee. France, a rookie, is 1-1 with a 3.43 ERA in four big league starts. P.S. Southern Miss product Matt Wallner was recalled from the minors by Minnesota and was hit by a pitch in his lone at-bat Tuesday. … Down on the farm, ex-USM star Chuckie Robinson homered twice for Cincinnati’s Triple-A Louisville team and is batting .348 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 115 ABs this season. Robinson, a catcher, made his MLB debut in 2022 but hasn’t gotten a call this season.