|St. Louis «||0||0||0||2||0||1||0||0||2||5||7||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Any win is exciting for the St. Louis Cardinals right now, no matter how it falls into their lap.
Jhonny Peralta's throwing error, one of two by the Cleveland Indians in the ninth inning, allowed the winning run to score in the Cardinals' 5-4 victory Wednesday night that ended an eight-game losing streak. The skid was the franchise's longest since 1988.
"After all those games, you just want to find a way to win one," said David Eckstein, whose routine grounder ended up producing the big run. "The bottom line is ending up winning."
Backup catcher Kelly Shoppach, who entered as part of a double switch in the eighth, dropped So Taguchi's pop fly just in front of home plate to start the inning for a two-base error. Aaron Miles' RBI double off Bob Wickman (1-3) with one out tied the score. Miles was on third for Eckstein's routine, two-out grounder to shortstop, and Peralta's throw in the dirt eluded first baseman Victor Martinez.
Peralta admitted hurrying his throw to Martinez, who moved from catcher to first in the eighth.
"I know he's running as fast as he can," Peralta said. "I tried to throw it as fast as I could. It had a bad hop."
Shoppach blamed himself for getting the rally going.
"It was my ball," he said. "I've made that play before. I wanted that ball in that situation."
When the winning run scored, fans tossed hundreds of seat cushions, the giveaway for the game, onto the field.
Jason Isringhausen (2-3) gave up Aaron Boone's go-ahead sacrifice fly in the Indians' three-run eighth. Isringhausen, who allowed two hits and no runs in 1 2/3 innings, was one of four relievers used by the Cardinals in the eighth.
Grady Sizemore had four hits and an RBI for the Indians, who ended a string of seven straight series losses by winning the first two games. Not that it was any consolation to manager Eric Wedge.
"It was a total defensive collapse," Wedge said. "We gave it back to them a lot easier than we took it from them. It was an embarrassing ending to what potentially could have been a real big game for us."
Chris Carpenter left with a 3-1 lead after working seven strong innings, getting his last out after medical attention for a cramp in his hand, and Scott Rolen homered for the Cardinals. Juan Encarnacion and Yadier Molina had an RBI apiece for St. Louis, which was outscored 68-28 during the losing streak, most of the games blowouts.
Todd Hollandsworth's shallow pop fly with the bases loaded that fell between left fielder Taguchi, inserted as a defensive substitute in that inning, and shortstop Eckstein, was the key to the Indians' eighth. Eckstein appeared to peel away and Taguchi had his glove out but missed the ball, then recovered too late for any play on a ball ruled a hit.
Eckstein said Taguchi called for the ball.
"I probably could have caught it, but So called it," Eckstein said. "It's one of those things that nothing just seemed to go our way."
Sizemore singled off Randy Flores to start the eighth and Ronnie Belliard followed with a double off Braden Looper when Encarnacion missed a diving attempt in right. Martinez's infield hit, a chopper that Tyler Johnson could not glove cleanly, cut the deficit to one.
Travis Hafner, making his first pinch-hit appearance of the season, walked against Isringhausen to load the bases. The misplay on Hollandsworth's popup, ruled a single, tied it. Boone followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Indians their first lead.
The Cardinals scored twice in the fourth despite a baserunning gaffe by Jim Edmonds that might have prevented a bigger inning. Edmonds overran third on a wild pitch by Jake Westbrook that would have put runners on second and third with one out, and was thrown out trying to get back by Martinez, the catcher. Encarnacion and Molina took Edmonds off the hook with RBI singles for a 2-0 lead.
Sizemore's RBI single cut the deficit to one in the fifth and Rolen restored the two-run cushion for the Cardinals with his 10th homer to straightaway center in the sixth.
|Jake Westbrook's quality start goes to waste after a ninth-inning meltdown. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Grady Sizemore, CF||5||1||4||1||0||0||0||.307|
|Ron Belliard, 2B||4||1||1||0||1||1||3||.288|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||4||0||0||0||1||2||4||.248|
|Victor Martinez, C-1B||4||1||1||1||0||1||3||.293|
|Ben Broussard, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.325|
|a- Eduardo Perez, PH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.303|
|b- Travis Hafner, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.310|
|Fausto Carmona, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Bob Wickman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Todd Hollandsworth, LF||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.198|
|Aaron Boone, 3B||3||0||0||1||0||0||1||.250|
|Franklin Gutierrez, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.184|
|Jake Westbrook, P||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|c- Ramon Vazquez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.163|
|Rafael Betancourt, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kelly Shoppach, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|a-announced for Broussard in the 8th|
|b-walked for Perez in the 8th|
|c-flied out for Westbrook in the 7th|
|2B - Ron Belliard (16, Looper)|
|SF - Aaron Boone (1)|
|SH - Jake Westbrook (1)|
|RBI - Grady Sizemore (39), Victor Martinez (50), Todd Hollandsworth (16), Aaron Boone (27)|
|SB - Grady Sizemore (13, 2nd base off Isringhausen/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|E - Jhonny Peralta (11, ), Kelly Shoppach (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Fausto Carmona (H,4)||1||0||0||0||2||1||0||4.72|
|Bob Wickman (BS,3; L,1-3)||0.2||1||2||0||0||0||0||3.09|
|WP - Jake Westbrook (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 88-0, Rafael Betancourt 12-0, Fausto Carmona 22-0, Bob Wickman 16-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 10-3, Rafael Betancourt 1-2, Fausto Carmona 1-1, Bob Wickman 4-0|
|Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 24, Rafael Betancourt 3, Fausto Carmona 5, Bob Wickman 5|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Eckstein, SS||4||0||0||0||1||1||0||.319|
|Jim Edmonds, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.255|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.307|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||4||2||2||1||0||1||2||.344|
|Juan Encarnacion, RF||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.282|
|John Rodriguez, LF||2||0||1||0||1||0||0||.302|
|So Taguchi, LF||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||.283|
|Yadier Molina, C||3||0||1||1||0||0||1||.212|
|Aaron Miles, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||0||2||.271|
|Chris Carpenter, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.074|
|a- Timo Perez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Randy Flores, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Braden Looper, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Tyler Johnson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Isringhausen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Scott Spiezio, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.279|
|a-grounded out for Carpenter in the 7th|
|b-grounded out for Isringhausen in the 9th|
|2B - Aaron Miles (11, Wickman)|
|HR - Scott Rolen (10, Westbrook)|
|SH - Yadier Molina (7)|
|RBI - Scott Rolen (50), Juan Encarnacion (43), Yadier Molina (27), Aaron Miles (14)|
|2-OUT RBI - Juan Encarnacion (21), Yadier Molina (17)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - Eckstein-Miles-Pujols|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Braden Looper (H,12)||0.1||1||1||1||0||1||0||3.27|
|Jason Isringhausen (BS,6; W,2-3)||1.2||2||0||0||2||1||0||3.86|
|Pitches-Strikes - Chris Carpenter 102-0, Randy Flores 6-0, Braden Looper 9-0, Tyler Johnson 7-0, Jason Isringhausen 32-0|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Carpenter 9-8, Jason Isringhausen 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Chris Carpenter 27, Randy Flores 1, Braden Looper 2, Tyler Johnson 1, Jason Isringhausen 8|
|Attendance - 44628|
|Game Time - 3:06|
|Temperature - 87|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Gerry Davis|