"It's simple. We've been getting hits and fly balls at the right time. No tricks," said the Cardinals' third baseman, Mike Shannon, last week. Surging St. Louis may not have been using mirrors, but the team certainly was up to its old tricks of winning and looking like a pennant contender. Behind by 15� games on July 4, the Cards have gone on a 12-4 streak and closed the gap between them and the first-place Cubs by 5� games. Only four times this year has St. Louis won when it trailed going into the seventh inning, but the team avoided that hazard during the streak by pounding the opposition early. In the 12 victories, the Cardinals scored 14 runs the first time at bat and, predictably, it was leadoff hitter Lou Brock who led the way. He averaged .389 during the comeback and scored runs at the rate of almost one a game Two new members of the team—former Brave Joe Torre and former Red Vada Pinson—have made heroes of themselves by driving the scampering Brock and other Cards home, with 22 runs batted in since July 4. "It gives me great satisfaction," says Torre. "They wouldn't sign me as a kid and here I am now playing for the champs." Torre could be premature if he's thinking about the 1969 title. No team has come from as far back as the Cards were to win a pennant. The Cardinals are the reigning champs in the payroll department, however, a fact that many critics believe was responsible for the team's early season slowdown. Still, the rich St. Louisans have not lost a game on one of their semimonthly paydays in nearly three seasons. It will be no mean trick but, if they stay hot, the Cards may just squeeze in one more payday—after the World Series.