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Grudzielanek goes for cycle as Cards beat Brewers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Even after getting a home run, single and double in his first three at-bats, Mark Grudzielanek wasn't thinking about hitting for the cycle until teammate Albert Pujols began rooting him on.

"He was saying 'You've got to do it, you've got to do it, you've got to go for it,"' Grudzielanek said after helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Wednesday. "I didn't think the opportunity would come, but it sure did. It's weird how it happens."

Grudzielanek became the first Cardinals player to hit for the cycle in nine seasons and Chris Carpenter equaled his career best with 12 strikeouts for St. Louis, which has won 11 of 12.

Jim Edmonds had two RBI for the Cardinals, who at 14-5 are off to their best start since the 1968 team opened with that record. The first four in the batting order were 7-for-9 in the first four innings against Victor Santos (1-1) while building a 5-0 lead.

The Cardinals won their fifth straight over the Brewers, with their current streak beginning with a three-game sweep at Milwaukee April 15-17. It was the first game for St. Louis since closer Jason Isringhausen, who's 7-for-7 in save opportunities, went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right abdomen muscle.

"The Cards have had success against everybody this year, not just us," the Brewers' Geoff Jenkins said. "You have to be on top of your game."

Julian Tavarez, who entered the season with 17 career saves -- four last year, struck out the side in the ninth for his first save. But he made it clear he's just holding the job for Isringhausen.

"I know I can't get too comfortable out there," Tavares said. "It belongs to the big man, Jason, one of the best closers in the game. And I hope he can come back soon."

Grudzielanek, batting in the No. 1 spot for the second time this year, hit the second leadoff homer of his career to kick-start a three-run first. He singled and scored in the second, had an RBI double in the fourth and tripled off Jorge De La Rosa in the sixth.

Grudzielanek might have been the least likely Cardinals player to hit for the cycle: He entered Wednesday's game with just two triples in 1,333 at-bats over the past four seasons.

Grudzielanek, who grounded out in the eighth to wrap up a 4-for-5 day, is the first Cardinals player to hit for the cycle since John Mabry on May 18, 1996, at Colorado. Daryle Ward of the Pirates was the last to do it at Busch Stadium on May 26, 2004.

The first three hits came off Santos, against whom he's 10-for-19 for his career.

"I've hit him well in the past and was just trying to have the same approach," Grudzielanek said. "I must have been feeling pretty good at the times I've faced him. The next time I see him, he could own me."

Santos said Grudzielanek had an "unbelievable day."

"It seemed like everything I threw to him, he was right on it," Santos said. "As soon as I made a mistake, boom, he was right on it."

Carpenter (4-1) beat the Brewers for the second time in three starts, allowing three runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings and tying his career high for strikeouts set Sept. 4, 2001, against the Yankees. Pitching on his 30th birthday he struck out the side in the first, fanned Jeff Cirillo three times and walked none.

"Mixing them up and pitching, that's the name of the game," Carpenter said. "No matter how hard you throw or what you do, if you execute pitches down in the zone on both sides of the plate and keep them off balance, you're going to have success."

Santos was shaky in his first start since throwing his first career complete game in a victory over the Giants, giving up five runs on seven hits in four innings. The first five batters reached in the first against him.

Russell Branyan hit a two-run home run in the sixth and Chad Moeller had an RBI single in the fifth for Milwaukee.


  • Cardinals pitchers had 16 strikeouts.
  • Grudzielanek is only the third Cardinals player to hit for the cycle at 40-year-old Busch Stadium, which is being demolished after this season. The others were Ray Lankford on Sept. 15, 1991, against the Mets and Lou Brock on May 27, 1975, against the Padres.
  • So Taguchi's steal in the fifth was only the fourth attempt -- a major league low -- for the Cardinals. They've been successful three times.
  • Wes Obermueller, whose double on Tuesday was the first of the season by a Brewers pitcher, grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
  • Pujols was 2-for-3 with an RBI and is batting .438 (14-for-32) during an eight-game hitting streak.
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Mark Grudzielanek becomes the first Cardinal to hit for the cycle in nine seasons. (AP)
Mark Grudzielanek becomes the first Cardinal to hit for the cycle in nine seasons. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

M. Grudzielanek
AB 5
R 3
H 4
HR 1
St. Louis

C. Carpenter
IP 7.2
H 8
ER 3
BB 0
K 12

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Milwaukee Brewers
Brady Clark, CF4000022 .305
Jeff Cirillo, 3B4000030 .205
Geoff Jenkins, RF4120020 .269
Carlos Lee, LF4000012 .235
Russell Branyan, 1B4122021 .333
Junior Spivey, 2B4010032 .214
Bill Hall, SS4110012 .200
Chad Moeller, C3011010 .105
   a- Damian Miller, PH1010000 .322
Victor Santos, P1000000 .000
   b- Wes Helms, PH1010000 .083
    Jorge De La Rosa, P0000000 .000
   c- Wes Obermueller, PH1000000 .333
    Mike Adams, P0000000 .000
    Tommy Phelps, P0000000 .000
   d- Chris Magruder, PH1000011 .217
a-singled for Moeller in the 9th
b-singled for Santos in the 5th
c-grounded out for De La Rosa in the 7th
d-struck out for Phelps in the 9th
2B - Geoff Jenkins (5, Carpenter), Bill Hall (1, Carpenter)
HR - Russell Branyan (4, Carpenter)
RBI - Russell Branyan 2 (11), Chad Moeller (1)
2-OUT RBI - Russell Branyan 2 (5), Chad Moeller (1)
Team LOB - 6
PB - Chad Moeller (1)
Milwaukee Brewers
Victor Santos (L,1-1) 4755321 3.12
Jorge De La Rosa 2311100 3.72
Mike Adams 1100000 3.52
Tommy Phelps 1000010 7.11
IBB - Pujols by Victor Santos, Pujols by Jorge De La Rosa
Pitches-Strikes - Victor Santos 76-48, Jorge De La Rosa 32-17, Mike Adams 24-15, Tommy Phelps 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Victor Santos 5-5, Jorge De La Rosa 5-1, Mike Adams 2-1, Tommy Phelps 2-0
Batters Faced - Victor Santos 22, Jorge De La Rosa 10, Mike Adams 4, Tommy Phelps 3
St. Louis Cardinals
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5342000 .313
Larry Walker, RF5110022 .258
Albert Pujols, 1B3121200 .325
Jim Edmonds, CF4022003 .263
Scott Rolen, 3B3000102 .236
So Taguchi, LF4010003 .333
Abraham Nunez, SS4001001 .286
    David Eckstein, SS0000000 .270
Yadier Molina, C3110103 .153
Chris Carpenter, P3000011 .000
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
2B - Mark Grudzielanek (4, Santos), Larry Walker (4, Santos), Jim Edmonds (3, Santos)
3B - Mark Grudzielanek (1, De La Rosa)
HR - Mark Grudzielanek (1, Santos)
SH - Chris Carpenter (3)
RBI - Mark Grudzielanek 2 (7), Albert Pujols (16), Jim Edmonds 2 (13), Abraham Nunez (4)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (5), Jim Edmonds (5)
SB - So Taguchi (1, 2nd base off De La Rosa/Moeller)
Team LOB - 9
DP - Pujols-Nunez-Carpenter
E - Scott Rolen (1, misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Chris Carpenter (W,4-1) 7.28330121 4.01
Ray King (H,2) 0.1000010 0.00
Julian Tavarez (S,1) 1100030 4.91
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 115-80, Ray King 4-3, Julian Tavarez 19-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-2
Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 31, Ray King 1, Julian Tavarez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38343
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 55
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman