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St. Louis at Arizona

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St. Louis1002220007113
Arizona «00400032x9122

Diamondbacks 9, Cardinals 7

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Arizona manager Bob Melvin knew Tony Clark had raked St. Louis pitcher Jorge Sosa over the years.

Going into Sunday, Clark was 6-for-7 with four home runs off Sosa. So imagine Melvin's surprise when the Cardinals allowed Sosa to face Clark, a pinch-hitter, with the game tied in the eighth inning.

"I know that's my match-up there," Melvin said.

Clark drilled Sosa's first pitch into the pool area in right field to help lead the Diamondbacks to a 9-7 victory over the NL Central leaders, who dropped their third straight game.

That left Clark 7-for-8 with five home runs against Sosa.

"Just video-game numbers," Melvin said.

Eric Byrnes belted Sosa's next pitch into the left field seats to provide an insurance run.

Luis Gonzalez tied a career high with four hits, including his 544th career double, which gave him sole possession of 20th place on the all-time list.

Jose Valverde pitched the ninth inning for his 15th save in 18 chances, retiring Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Scott Spiezio after putting the potential tying runs on base. It was the first save since May 24 for Valverde, who was demoted to Triple-A Tucson after faltering in midseason.

Pujols had three hits, including his 45th home run. Pujols' homer, a 440-foot shot down the left field line, came off Arizona starter Enrique Gonzalez and put the Cardinals ahead 5-4 in the fifth inning.

It was an ugly loss for the Cardinals, who saw their lead over Cincinnati dwindle to 4½ games with 20 to play. St. Louis committed three errors and blew a 7-4 lead in the seventh inning. And manager Tony LaRussa was ejected by home plate Fieldin Culbreth for arguing balls and strikes in the fourth inning.

"We always go into the game trying to identify the (strike) zone and trying to make the adjustment," said LaRussa, who was ejected for the first time. "If its wide, we go wide. If it is narrow, its narrow. We had trouble identifying the zone, thats what I talked about and I went too far with it and he banged me."

As bad as they played, the Cardinals might have escaped with a split of the four-game series had it not been for Clark. Sosa (3-11) had retired the first two batters in the eighth when Melvin sent Clark up to hit for Luis Vizcaino (4-4).

Gonzalez said "everyone" in the Diamondback dugout knew Clark's numbers against Sosa. The Diamondbacks were hoping the Cardinals wouldn't make a pitching change.

"It's unbelievable when you look at something like that," Gonzalez said. "The pitcher's got to know it too, so you would think that maybe he'd bounce one or something just to give him a different look. But he threw that first one right down the middle and Tony let him know. He jumped all over it."

Asked if he knew why he had hit Sosa so well, Clark shook his head. "And to be honest with you, I'm not planning on trying to figure it out," Clark said.

Through an interpreter, Sosa said he was trying to throw a fastball inside. "I wasn't thinking out there, just trying to make a good pitch, obviously I didn't make a good pitch and he made me pay," Sosa said.

It was Clark's sixth home run and his second pinch homer of the season.

This has been a disappointing year for the 34-year-old Clark, whose production diminished after a superb 2005 season. The switch-hitter batted .304 with 30 homers and 87 RBI in 130 games, and club rewarded him with a two-year contract extension last August.

But Clark has struggled to regain that form this season. First he was pushed out of the line-up by Conor Jackson, and then he missed 36 games with a shoulder injury. Clark came into Sunday hitting .194 with far more strikeouts (38) than hits (25).

Facing Sosa helped Clark regain his clutch form.

"This game works in funny ways sometimes," Clark said.

Notes

Arizona SS Stephen Drew stole home as the Cardinals tried to throw Eric Byrnes out at second base. It was first steal of home by a Diamondbacks player since Gonzalez did it Sept. 25, 1999 at San Francisco.

 
Copyright 2014 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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Players of the Game
Arizona

E. Byrnes
AB 5
R 3
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, CF-LF5010012
Chris Duncan, LF4111022
    So Taguchi, CF0000000
   a- Aaron Miles, PH1010000
Albert Pujols, 1B5232012
Scott Rolen, 3B5000024
Scott Spiezio, 2B5222032
Juan Encarnacion, RF4100021
Jose Vizcaino, SS4021000
Yadier Molina, C4010003
Jeff Suppan, P0101200
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000
    Josh Kinney, P0000000
    Randy Flores, P0000000
   b- John Rodriguez, PH1000002
    Jorge Sosa, P0000000
    Josh Hancock, P0000000
Totals38711721118 
a-singled for Taguchi in the 9th
b-grounded out for Flores in the 8th
Batting
2B - Scott Spiezio (, En. Gonzalez), Jose Vizcaino (, Pena)
HR - Chris Duncan (, En. Gonzalez), Albert Pujols (, En. Gonzalez), Scott Spiezio (, Pena)
SH - Jeff Suppan ()
RBI - Chris Duncan (), Albert Pujols 2 (), Scott Spiezio 2 (), Jose Vizcaino (), Jeff Suppan ()
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (), Jose Vizcaino ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Vizcaino-Spiezio-Pujols, Rolen-Spiezio-Pujols
E - Scott Rolen 2 (, Missed catch of throw(Drew advanced to third on missed catch; Quentin scored on), Jose Vizcaino (, Throwing(Drew advanced to third on missed catch; Quentin scored on wild throw))
St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Suppan 5.1640110
Tyler Johnson (H,) 1000010
Josh Kinney (H,) 0.1122100
Randy Flores (BS,) 0.1211100
Jorge Sosa (L,-) 0.2322102
Josh Hancock 0.1000000
IBB - Jackson by Randy Flores
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 87-52, Tyler Johnson 13-7, Josh Kinney 10-4, Randy Flores 13-6, Jorge Sosa 21-12, Josh Hancock 2-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 7-8, Josh Kinney 1-0, Jorge Sosa 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 23, Tyler Johnson 3, Josh Kinney 3, Randy Flores 4, Jorge Sosa 6, Josh Hancock 1
Arizona Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes, CF-LF5321000
Orlando Hudson, 2B3211200
Luis Gonzalez, LF5141000
    Jose Valverde, P0000000
Johnny Estrada, C5023013
Conor Jackson, 1B3000101
    Chris Young, CF0000000
Chad Tracy, 3B4010004
Carlos Quentin, RF3100103
Stephen Drew, SS4110010
Enrique Gonzalez, P1000002
   a- Andy Green, PH1000000
    Tony Pena, P0000000
    Juan Cruz, P0000000
   b- Damion Easley, PH1000000
    Luis Vizcaino, P0000000
   c- Tony Clark, PH-1B1111000
Totals3691274213 
a-lined out for En. Gonzalez in the 5th
b-grounded out for Cruz in the 7th
c-homered for Vizcaino in the 8th
Batting
2B - Luis Gonzalez (, Suppan), Johnny Estrada (, Flores), Stephen Drew (, Suppan)
HR - Eric Byrnes (, Sosa), Tony Clark (, Sosa)
RBI - Eric Byrnes (), Orlando Hudson (), Luis Gonzalez (), Johnny Estrada 3 (), Tony Clark ()
2-OUT RBI - Eric Byrnes (), Luis Gonzalez (), Johnny Estrada 2 (), Tony Clark ()
SB - Eric Byrnes (, 2nd base off Suppan/Molina), Stephen Drew (, off Suppan/Molina)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Drew-Jackson
E - Stephen Drew (, Misplayed grounder), Conor Jackson (, Misplayed grounder)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Enrique Gonzalez 5655242
Tony Pena 1221001
Juan Cruz 1000030
Luis Vizcaino (W,-) 1100020
Jose Valverde (S,) 1200020
Pitches-Strikes - Enrique Gonzalez 88-55, Tony Pena 16-10, Juan Cruz 13-9, Luis Vizcaino 18-11, Jose Valverde 28-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Enrique Gonzalez 5-5, Tony Pena 3-1, Luis Vizcaino 2-0
Batters Faced - Enrique Gonzalez 22, Tony Pena 6, Juan Cruz 3, Luis Vizcaino 5, Jose Valverde 5
Game Information
Attendance - 25381
Game Time - 3:13
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Tim McClelland