Cincinnati at St. Louis

St. Louis «01032010x7163

Cards pitching coach watches son hit go-ahead homer

CBS wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- The final day of the regular season was doubly pleasing to St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. His team won its first NL ERA title since 1969 and his son, Chris, hit the game-winning home run.

"I'm proud of them both," Duncan said after the Cardinals posted their 100th victory by rallying past Cincinnati 7-5 Sunday in the last regular-season game at Busch Stadium. "A lot of work goes into winning an ERA title, these guys have to really put their nose to the grindstone and be consistent.

"But I also know a lot of hard work has gone into Chris' career."

Reggie Sanders warmed up for the postseason with a home run and double for the NL Central champions, who will begin the best-of-5 playoffs Tuesday at home against NL West champion San Diego. The Padres won the season series 4-3.

"I know the stories that some people want to write, which is the team with the worst record beats the team with the best record," manager Tony La Russa said. "But during the season they played us very tough."

The Cardinals swept the three-game series with Cincinnati to reach the century mark in consecutive years for the second time in franchise history and first time since 1942-44. It's also the fourth 100-win season for La Russa, who did it twice with the Oakland Athletics.

The Cardinals finished 1,760-1,409 in regular-season games at Busch, which opened May 12, 1966. This has been their best decade with a 307-180 record.

St. Louis overcame a fourth straight mediocre outing by its starting pitcher, this one by Matt Morris, and came back from a 5-1 third-inning deficit. The Cardinals used eight relievers, tying a major-league record for a nine-inning game.

One of the relievers, Al Reyes, left with a sprained right elbow and his availability for the playoffs is in doubt.

"I'm pretty concerned," Dave Duncan said. "It sounds to me like the trainers and doctors are concerned, so naturally I'm concerned about it."

Sanders' 21st homer in the sixth off Brandon Claussen (10-11) gave him 10 RBI in the last six games and tied the score.

The next batter, Duncan, hit his first career homer to give the Cardinals a 6-5 lead. Dave Duncan led the welcoming committee in the dugout.

"He had a big grin on his face when I came in," Chris Duncan said. "It was pretty neat. It was a rush."

A sellout crowd of 50,434, the largest of the season, gave the Cardinals a franchise record 3,538,988 in attendance, with only 357 no-shows. They finished third in the majors behind the Yankees and Dodgers.

Felipe Lopez, Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns hit consecutive homers leading off the third for the Reds, who lost seven of their last eight and finished at 73-89, fifth place in the Central.

"We just kind of stopped after that," Ryan Freel said. "That's been our story a lot of the year."

As a consolation prize, the Reds hit 222 homers to break the franchise record of 221 set in 1956.

"You win games with pitching," manager Jerry Narron said. "It's nice to score a lot of runs ... but this game is all about pitching and defense."

Morris, the longest-tenured Cardinal who has been with the team since 1997, gave up five runs on eight hits in only three innings in his 128th appearance at Busch. Morris, who began the season 10-1 and finished 14-10 with a 4.11 ERA, is the likely starter for Game 3 of the division series against the Padres.

Morris was relieved the Cardinals won the ERA title in spite of him.

"Did we?" he said. "I was afraid to ask."

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 39th save in 43 chances. Brad Thompson (4-0) worked a perfect fifth.

Consecutive doubles by Austin Kearns and Jose Valentin produced the game's first run in the second and Lopez, Dunn and Kearns connected in a span of six pitches in the third to put the Reds ahead 5-1.

Sanders doubled and scored on Mark Grudzielanek's infield hit off the second-base bag in the bottom of the second, the Cardinals got five straight singles in a three-run fourth that cut the gap to a run.

David Eckstein's RBI single in the seventh off Josh Hancock put the Cardinals ahead 7-5.


  • The Cardinals won the ERA title by three percentage points over the Astros.
  • Broadcaster and former Cardinals player Mike Shannon threw out a pair of first pitches with Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst on the receiving end.
  • The last time the Reds hit three straight homers was Aug. 3, 2001, at San Diego when Dmitri Young, Jason La Rue and Pokey Reese connected.
  • Albert Pujols had an infield hit in four at-bats, finishing at .330 with 41 homers and 117 RBI -- all among the league leaders.
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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Chris Duncan hits the second of St. Louis' back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning.  (Getty Images)
Chris Duncan hits the second of St. Louis' back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

R. Sanders
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

A. Kearns
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

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Cincinnati Reds
Ryan Freel, LF4000124 .271
Felipe Lopez, SS4111112 .291
Adam Dunn, 1B5111023 .247
Austin Kearns, RF5221010 .240
Javier Valentin, C5121000 .281
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B5000022 .232
Chris Denorfia, CF5010012 .263
Aaron Holbert, 2B3011100 .222
Brandon Claussen, P2010002 .091
   a- Ray Olmedo, PH1010000 .221
    Jason Standridge, P0000000 .000
    Josh Hancock, P0000000 .000
   b- Jacob Cruz, PH0000100 .236
    David Weathers, P0000000 .000
a-singled for Claussen in the 6th
b-walked for Hancock in the 8th
2B - Austin Kearns (26, Morris), Javier Valentin (11, Morris), Chris Denorfia (3, Morris)
HR - Felipe Lopez (23, Morris), Adam Dunn (40, Morris), Austin Kearns (18, Morris)
RBI - Felipe Lopez (85), Adam Dunn (101), Austin Kearns (67), Javier Valentin (50), Aaron Holbert (2)
2-OUT RBI - Aaron Holbert (1)
Team LOB - 11
Outfield Assists - Ryan Freel 1
E - Edwin Encarnacion (10, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Brandon Claussen (L,10-11) 51166152 4.21
Jason Standridge 1100110 4.59
Josh Hancock 1310000 1.93
David Weathers 1100100 3.94
IBB - Pujols by Jason Standridge
WP - Jason Standridge (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Claussen 96-67, Jason Standridge 15-7, Josh Hancock 21-13, David Weathers 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jason Standridge 1-1, Josh Hancock 2-1, David Weathers 1-2
Batters Faced - Brandon Claussen 27, Jason Standridge 5, Josh Hancock 6, David Weathers 5
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5011003 .294
So Taguchi, CF-LF3011102 .288
Albert Pujols, 1B4010103 .330
Reggie Sanders, LF4221012 .271
    Ray King, P0000000 .000
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
    Skip Schumaker, RF1000001 .250
    Jim Edmonds, CF0000000 .263
Larry Walker, RF2110011 .289
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .167
   a- Chris Duncan, PH1111000 .200
    Al Reyes, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
   b- John Mabry, PH-LF^RF1000112 .240
Mark Grudzielanek, 2B5131002 .294
Yadier Molina, C5121012 .252
Abraham Nunez, 3B4121001 .285
Matt Morris, P1000012 .088
    Anthony Reyes, P0000000 .000
   c- Hector Luna, PH-RF3020011 .285
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
a-homered for Thompson in the 5th
b-struck out for Flores in the 6th
c-singled for An. Reyes in the 4th
2B - So Taguchi (21, Standridge), Reggie Sanders (14, Claussen)
HR - Reggie Sanders (21, Claussen), Chris Duncan (1, Claussen)
SF - So Taguchi (4)
RBI - David Eckstein (61), So Taguchi (53), Reggie Sanders (54), Chris Duncan (3), Mark Grudzielanek (59), Yadier Molina (49), Abraham Nunez (44)
2-OUT RBI - David Eckstein (35)
Team LOB - 12
E - David Eckstein (15, Wild throw), Abraham Nunez (14, Wild throw), Larry Walker (2, Wild throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
Matt Morris 3855133 4.11
Anthony Reyes 1000000 2.70
Brad Thompson (W,4-0) 1000000 2.95
Al Reyes (H,16) 0.2100100 2.15
Randy Flores (H,11) 0.1000010 3.46
Ray King (H,16) 0.1000000 3.38
Julian Tavarez (H,32) 1100010 3.43
Tyler Johnson (H,1) 0.2000220 0.00
Jason Isringhausen (S,39) 1000020 2.14
IBB - Holbert by Matt Morris
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Morris 74-45, Brad Thompson 10-6, Al Reyes 17-11, Randy Flores 7-4, Ray King 5-3, Julian Tavarez 18-14, Tyler Johnson 20-9, Jason Isringhausen 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Morris 4-2, Anthony Reyes 1-2, Brad Thompson 3-0, Al Reyes 2-0, Julian Tavarez 2-1, Jason Isringhausen 2-0
Batters Faced - Matt Morris 18, Anthony Reyes 3, Brad Thompson 3, Al Reyes 4, Randy Flores 1, Ray King 1, Julian Tavarez 5, Tyler Johnson 4, Jason Isringhausen 4
Game Information
Attendance - 50434
Game Time - 3:11
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Travis Reininger, Third Base - Gerry Davis