The absence of injured Allen Craig has pressed veteran Carlos Beltran into the Cardinals’ cleanup spot and into more consecutive games than the club had planned to use him even at this late point in the season.

Manager Mike Matheny addressed that by giving Beltran a day off Wednesday.

“Not necessarily one that he wants” Matheny said. “Obviously we miss Allen Craig. This season has been a little different for a lot of these guys because we’ve been able to give a little more rest and I think that’s helped out over the long haul. You see with Allen down that depth we have. In the past we’ve been able to get (Beltran) a day here and he rights the ship.”

During the Cardinals’ 11-4 drubbing of the Rockies on Tuesday night every spot in the order had at least two hits except for Beltran. Since moving into the cleanup spot Beltran has hit .171 with a .244 slugging percentage over the past 12 games. He has as many walks (seven) as hits (seven) and only three went for extra bases.

Beltran went hitless in three at-bats with runners in scoring position Tuesday.

Craig remains back in St. Louis recovering from a severe foot sprain. He is not expected to join the team on this trip Matheny said and his availability for the remainder of the regular season is uncertain. With Craig out Matt Adams has become the everyday first baseman and has been unable to allow Beltran or Matt Holliday a day off.