In the end, though, he was just about the only pitcher who could string together some outs in a 10-9 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
Making only his second appearance since June 11, Kline (2-1) got the last five outs to silence a Cubs' offense that had 14 hits.
"Fired up, baby, that's part of the game," Kline said. "I want to pitch. You're a little mad. Hell, it's baseball, right? Let's have some fun."
La Russa said he didn't see Kline's antics.
"Did he really?" the manager said. "He couldn't have. Well, give me two minutes because you walk in (the clubhouse) and he's going to be laying on the ground and I'm going to be standing on his chest. That had better not be what he did."
So Taguchi scored the go-ahead run on Paul Bako's passed ball in the eighth. It was Kyle Farnsworth's first pitch of the game.
"The ball got away from Farnsy," Bako said. "Obviously, it got away from me, too."
The Cardinals, who have won seven of nine, wasted leads of 3-0 and 5-3 but bounced back and improved to 28-8 at home against the Cubs since the start of the 2000 season.
"When we're playing against the Cubs, it's always exciting," Taguchi said. "So, I got excited."
Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer for the Cardinals, his 20th of the season.
"It's very exhausting, especially ultimately when you lose," Walker said. "These hurt worse than normal losses, especially playing the Cardinals."
After scoring two runs off closer Jason Isringhausen in the eighth inning Tuesday, Chicago beat up on the Cardinals' bullpen again, scoring six runs in the sixth off Kiko Calero and Julian Tavarez to take a 9-5 lead. Entering the series, Cardinals relievers hadn't allowed a run in 10 consecutive home games, a span of 32 1/3 innings.
Kline had been expecting to get the call for Walker's second at-bat in the sixth after Tavarez had retired only one of five batters.
"I thought that was my opportunity and I was just fired up, just a little steamed," Kline said. "It was nothing personal.
"You throw 8, 9, 10, 15 pitches getting ready and all of a sudden they tell you you're not in, it's a gut-wrenching thing because you have to go back down to a low."
Hector Luna tied the score 9-all in the seventh with a sacrifice fly against Kent Mercker.
Taguchi, recalled from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day, walked off Mike Remlinger (0-1) to start the eighth. He advanced on John Mabry's sacrifice and a groundout, then scored without a play when Bako couldn't handle a high inside fastball.
Bako entered after Mercker and catcher Michael Barrett were ejected by plate umpire Sam Holbrook at the end of the seventh following an argument over a 2-2 pitch to Reggie Sanders, who then doubled.
Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings, while Cubs starter Glendon Rusch gave up five runs and five hits in five innings.
After Pujols' third-inning homer gave the Cardinals a 3-0 lead for the second straight night, Chicago tied it in the fifth on Aramis Ramirez's two-run double and Patterson's RBI single.
Pinch-hitter Ray Lankford hit an RBI triple in the sixth, and Tony Womack made it 5-3 with a a sacrifice fly to left that Moises Alou missed for an error.
Calero retired only one of five batters in the sixth. Walker hit his 11th homer, Alou had an RBI double, and Sammy Sosa hit a run-scoring single to put Chicago ahead 6-5.
Patterson had an RBI double, and Ramon Martinez was credited for a two-run double on a liner that Luna misplayed in left.
St. Louis closed in the bottom half when Luna had an RBI double, and Taguchi and Womack singled in runs.
- Lee, who was 3-for-3 with two walks, is batting .456 (36-for-79) since June 1 with five homers, 14 doubles and 18 RBI.
- Suppan is 5-0 with a 2.09 ERA on the road and 1-5 with a 5.28 ERA at home. He ended up with no decision for only the third time in 14 starts.
- Pujols is 10-for-30 with two homers and eight RBI against Rusch.
The Associated Press News Service
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