|St. Louis «||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||2||7||0|
ST. LOUIS -- The pressure of a tight game against the St. Louis Cardinals' closest pursuer in the NL Central brought out Scott Rolen's best.
Rolen tied the score with a home run in the seventh inning, then hit a winning single in the ninth that led St. Louis over the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Thursday and boosted the Cardinals' NL Central lead back to 2 1/2 games.
"The at-bats that are tough are ones in 8-1, 9-1, 10-1 games," Rolen said. "Those are filling up stat sheets. I enjoy the competitiveness of an at-bat. Today, every at-bat was worthwhile. Every at-bat was meaningful."
Ken Griffey Jr. put Cincinnati ahead in the seventh against Jeff Weaver with his 25th homer of the season. It also was the 561st of his career, which moved him within two of Reggie Jackson for 10th place on the career list.
The drive came after Griffey fouled off six straight pitches on a full count. It was his 1,042nd extra-base hit, breaking a tie with Pete Rose for 20th place.
"He wasn't going to give in," Griffey said. "That's just a guy out there competing who's not going to take anything for granted. I didn't give in."
Rolen hit his 17th homer of the season, his first since Aug. 7 at Cincinnati, in the bottom half off Kyle Lohse. He said he narrowly missed on the previous pitch, which he fouled straight back.
"I'm not up there trying to hit a home run," Rolen said. "If you get a ball in the middle of the plate and you put a good swing on it, something like that happens."
Chris Duncan, who had three hits in each game of the three-game series, singled off Ryan Franklin (2-6) starting the ninth and Albert Pujols walked on four pitches. Duncan scored easily on Rolen's single.
Franklin said he did his job, inducing ground balls.
"It's tough luck, pretty much, is what it is," Franklin said. "But you know, I'm not going to change anything. Probably eight, nine times out of 10, those ground balls will be where they're supposed to be."
St. Louis took two of three from the second-place Reds. The Cardinals won without Jim Edmonds, who missed his second straight game because of post-concussion syndrome, although trainer Barry Weinberg said Edmonds was feeling better and could play on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Chicago.
Weaver, acquired July 5 from the Los Angeles Angels, allowed one run and three hits in 7 1-3 innings. He was moved ahead of Jeff Suppan in the rotation after limiting the Reds to one run in six innings in a victory on Aug. 9.
Cincinnati finished 9-6 against the Cardinals, going 5-4 at new Busch Stadium after a 119-139 record at old Busch. Griffey is 9-for-17 at new Busch Stadium with four homers, six RBI and five walks. He homered only four times in 71 at-bats at old Busch, although one was the 500th of his career in 2004.
Lohse, making his third start for Cincinnati since being acquired from the Twins, worked seven innings and gave up five hits, struck out six and walked one. He has given up two earned runs in 13 1/3 innings his last two appearances, but has no victories to go with his 2.33 ERA.
"It's just been tough," Lohse said. "I hope the next four days go by real quick."
After Brandon Phillips doubled leading off the eighth and advanced on a sacrifice, Adam Wainwright relieved, struck out pinch-hitter Javier Valentin with the infield in and retired Ryan Freel on a flyout. It was his first outing since giving up four runs in one-third of an inning at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
|Chris Duncan's slide disrupts Brandon Phillips' DP attempt and the Reds' division pursuit. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ryan Freel, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.287|
|Scott Hatteberg, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.317|
|Ken Griffey Jr., CF||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.246|
|Edwin Encarnacion, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.297|
|Adam Dunn, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.251|
|Rich Aurilia, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Brandon Phillips, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.289|
|David Ross, C||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.270|
|Kyle Lohse, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Javier Valentin, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.238|
|Ryan Franklin, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Lohse in the 8th|
|2B - Brandon Phillips (23, Weaver)|
|HR - Ken Griffey Jr. (25, Weaver)|
|SH - David Ross (3)|
|RBI - Ken Griffey Jr. (66)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|DP - Lohse-Aurilia-Hatteberg|
|Ryan Franklin (L,2-6)||1||2||1||1||1||0||0||4.41|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 97-65, Ryan Franklin 20-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 8-5|
|Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 25, Ryan Franklin 6|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|David Eckstein, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.288|
|Chris Duncan, LF||4||1||3||0||0||1||0||.338|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.326|
|Scott Rolen, 3B||3||1||2||2||1||0||0||.321|
|Juan Encarnacion, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.278|
|Ronnie Belliard, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.288|
|So Taguchi, CF||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.270|
|Yadier Molina, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.215|
|Jeff Weaver, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.133|
|Adam Wainwright, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.500|
|a- Timo Perez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.200|
|Jason Isringhausen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-flied out for Wainwright in the 8th|
|HR - Scott Rolen (17, Lohse)|
|RBI - Scott Rolen 2 (75)|
|CS - Ronnie Belliard (1, 2nd base by Lohse/Ross)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Jason Isringhausen (W,4-5)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||3.02|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Weaver 108-69, Adam Wainwright 8-6, Jason Isringhausen 9-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Weaver 9-11, Jason Isringhausen 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Weaver 26, Adam Wainwright 2, Jason Isringhausen 3|
|Attendance - 40346|
|Game Time - 2:17|
|Temperature - 85|
|Umpires - Home - Dale Scott, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Lance Barksdale|