|St. Louis «||0||1||1||0||0||0||4||3||x||9||11||1|
ST. LOUIS -- Considering his puny 2-for-18 showing as a pinch hitter, So Taguchi hardly struck fear into the Florida Marlins when he strode to the plate.
So much for history.
Taguchi hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the seventh inning, the first pinch hit homer of his career including 10 years in Japan, leading the St. Louis Cardinals past Florida 9-6 on Wednesday night.
"My first pinch-hit home run anywhere, I can't believe it," Taguchi said. "I was waiting for middle (of the plate). I saw the ball come middle."
David Eckstein had three hits and two RBI along with a nice running catch in shallow left center to rob Mike Lowell in the third, and Mark Grudzielanek had three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who have won four of five.
Damion Easley homered for Florida, which led 3-0 in the second and 4-2 in the seventh, and Paul LoDuca and Jeff Conine each had two hits and an RBI. After the game, Lenny Harris had a yelling fit in the Marlins clubhouse, saying "We need to stop disrespecting each other! We're better than this! We've got to quit feeling sorry for ourselves!"
The Cardinals had 10 batters in a four-run seventh, highlighted by Taguchi's sixth homer on a 1-0 pitch from Ron Villone (0-1), who was working for the third straight day after being acquired from the Mariners on the trade deadline.
Taguchi was batting for another pinch hitter, John Mabry, after Marlins manager Jack McKeon pulled starter Josh Beckett following a one-out single by Grudzielanek and a walk to Abraham Nunez.
"Did you think Taguchi would hit it out?" McKeon asked. "We wouldn't, either. That's what happens once in a while. He's been hitting singles to right field."
A wild pitch by Antonio Alfonseca allowed the fourth run to score in the inning to make it 6-4. Nunez had an RBI single, and Einar Diaz and Eckstein had run-scoring doubles in the eighth off Guillermo Mota.
Taguchi has five pinch-hit RBIs despite his 3-for-19 overall showing and the homer, punctuated by a dugout curtain call, allowed Matt Morris (12-4) to avoid losing three straight starts for the first time in his career.
In seven innings, Morris gave up four runs and nine hits. He's 7-1 with a 3.79 ERA against the Marlins. In his previous two starts -- losses to Los Angeles and Chicago -- Morris had surrendered 11 runs in 13 innings.
"Early on they seemed to be on every ball I threw," Morris said. "Luckily I was in there until the seventh."
Luis Castillo hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Ray King to make it 9-6, before Jason Isringhausen came on to the get last out.
Two of the first three games in the four-game series have been decided by pinch hitters, with Harris hitting a go-ahead three-run double in the sixth inning of Monday's series opener.
Beckett pitched 6 1/3 innings in his third outing since coming off the 15-day disabled list due to a strained left stomach muscle, allowing four runs and four hits. He had five strikeouts and two walks.
Villone had worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, in his first two appearances with the Marlins. He lasted one-third of an inning in the third appearance, giving up two runs and three hits.
"I'm feeling good and I'll be ready tomorrow," Villone said. "I've got to scrap this one and forget about it."
A run-scoring groundout by Conine and an RBI single by Miguel Cabrera gave the Marlins the lead in the first for the second straight game. Easley hit his ninth homer in the second for a 3-0 lead.
Jim Edmonds doubled and scored on Grudzielanek's one-out hit in the second and Eckstein's second homer in four days came in the fourth to cut the gap to a run.
Edmonds also made a diving catch going back toward the wall in center field on a ball hit by pinch-hitter Chris Aguila in the ninth.
The Cardinals are 9-9 against the NL East, but Morris is 3-0 against the division. ... In three starts at Busch Stadium, Beckett is 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA. ... Edmonds is 7-for-14 against Beckett with six doubles, a homer and four RBI.
|Players of the Game|
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|Juan Pierre, CF||5||2||1||0||0||1||0||.269|
|Luis Castillo, 2B||4||3||2||2||1||0||0||.310|
|Jeff Conine, 1B||5||0||2||1||0||0||0||.296|
|Miguel Cabrera, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.348|
|Paul Lo Duca, C||3||0||2||1||1||0||0||.303|
|Juan Encarnacion, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.299|
|Mike Lowell, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.240|
|Guillermo Mota, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Damion Easley, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||0||.233|
|Josh Beckett, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.100|
|Ron Villone, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Antonio Alfonseca, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Lenny Harris, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.319|
|a- Chris Aguila, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a-flied out for Harris in the 9th|
|2B - Luis Castillo (11, Morris), Jeff Conine (10, Morris)|
|HR - Luis Castillo (3, King), Damion Easley (9, Morris)|
|RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (25), Jeff Conine (15), Miguel Cabrera (77), Paul Lo Duca (44), Damion Easley (24)|
|2-OUT RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (7), Paul Lo Duca (16)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Castillo-Conine|
|E - Damion Easley (7, Wild throw), Paul Lo Duca (5, Wild throw)|
|Ron Villone (BS,6; L,2-4)||0.1||3||2||2||0||0||1||2.70|
|IBB - Edmonds by Antonio Alfonseca|
|WP - Antonio Alfonseca (1), Guillermo Mota (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Beckett 101-63, Ron Villone 13-9, Antonio Alfonseca 7-5, Guillermo Mota 29-20|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Beckett 8-6, Ron Villone 1-0, Antonio Alfonseca 1-0, Guillermo Mota 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Josh Beckett 25, Ron Villone 4, Antonio Alfonseca 3, Guillermo Mota 7|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Eckstein, SS||5||2||3||2||0||0||0||.269|
|John Rodriguez, RF-LF||5||0||1||0||0||2||1||.340|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||3||0||0||0||2||0||2||.340|
|Jim Edmonds, CF||3||1||1||0||1||1||1||.271|
|John Gall, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.200|
|Julian Tavarez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ray King, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Isringhausen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mark Grudzielanek, 2B||4||2||3||1||0||1||0||.293|
|Abraham Nunez, 3B||3||2||1||1||1||0||1||.313|
|Mike Mahoney, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.205|
|a- John Mabry, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.272|
|b- So Taguchi, PH-RF||2||1||1||3||0||0||0||.278|
|Matt Morris, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.105|
|c- Einar Diaz, PH-C||2||1||1||1||0||0||0||.213|
|a-announced for Mahoney in the 7th|
|b-homered for Mabry in the 7th|
|c-grounded out for Morris in the 7th|
|2B - David Eckstein (14, Mota), Jim Edmonds (25, Beckett), Mark Grudzielanek (22, Mota), Einar Diaz (4, Mota)|
|HR - David Eckstein (4, Beckett), So Taguchi (6, Villone)|
|RBI - David Eckstein 2 (34), Mark Grudzielanek (39), Abraham Nunez (29), So Taguchi 3 (29), Einar Diaz (15)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Grudzielanek-Pujols|
|E - Abraham Nunez (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Matt Morris (W,12-4)||7||9||4||4||2||2||1||3.68|
|Julian Tavarez (H,24)||1.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.77|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Morris 101-64, Julian Tavarez 14-10, Ray King 10-6, Jason Isringhausen 4-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Morris 11-7, Julian Tavarez 1-2, Ray King 1-1, Jason Isringhausen 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Matt Morris 31, Julian Tavarez 4, Ray King 3, Jason Isringhausen 1|
|Attendance - 43111|
|Game Time - 2:54|
|Temperature - 94|
|Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Doug Eddings|