The Pittsburgh Pirates' closer, who had a loss and a blown save during St. Louis' three-game sweep in Pittsburgh last week, got Albert Pujols to foul out with the bases loaded for the final out in a 3-2 victory on Monday night.
"Everybody knows how dangerous he is, and I just let the sinker do the job," Torres said. "Boy, I was excited when I saw the popup."
Pujols hit two homers and drove in five runs on Sunday, appearing to end an April drought. He was 0-for-4 with a walk on Monday with no balls hit out of the infield, dropping his average back down to .170.
"That's why the game keeps you humble," Pujols said. "As I was stepping into the batter's box, I saw myself getting a line drive back through the middle. He just made a great pitch."
Ian Snell threw seven innings of three-hit ball and Xavier Nady had two RBI to help the Pirates snap a four-game losing streak. Torres bore little blame for the ninth-inning jam, created when first baseman Adam LaRoche booted Adam Kennedy's grounder at the start of the inning -- the Pirates' first error in 65 innings. Pinch-hitter Aaron Miles' infield single hit the third-base bag and bounded high over Jose Bautista to put runners on first and third.
"He got a little bit of everything within the framework of three outs," manager Jim Tracy said. "He never wavered one bit. He showed his mettle."
Anthony Reyes barely made it out of the first inning for the Cardinals, 1-5 at home since winning the 2006 World Series. St. Louis swept a three-game series at Pittsburgh last week, beating Snell even though he allowed only one run in seven innings.
Freddy Sanchez singled and tripled for the Pirates, who are 5-2 on the road after finishing an NL-worst 24-57 away from home last year. Pittsburgh, which returned to action after two rainouts at home last weekend, was 1-13 on the road to start 2006 and didn't win its fifth road game until June 5.
Snell (1-1) allowed one run with six strikeouts and four walks, two coming in his final inning when the Cardinals got an RBI single from Kennedy and had the bases loaded with one out before pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker fouled out and Eckstein grounded out.
"He did a pretty good job a week ago," Eckstein said. "Today, he was really on. The slider was where you couldn't see the spin, and that gave us fits."
Scott Rolen singled twice for the Cardinals, one with two outs in the first and the other leading off the seventh. Between those at-bats, Snell retired 16 of 17 batters with the stretch interrupted only by Yadier Molina's two-out walk in the fifth.
His toughest inning by far was the seventh, when he faced seven hitters. Tracy wanted to see how Snell, who won 14 games as a rookie last season, would deal with adversity.
"To not give him the opportunity, to take the game away, would have been wrong," the manager said. "The seventh inning was fabulous."
Jim Edmonds drove in his first run of the season with a bloop single off Damaso Marte that cut the deficit to one in the eighth. Torres worked the ninth for his fifth save in six chances, completing a six-hitter.
Reyes (0-2) needed 47 pitches to escape the first, allowing three hits and walking two while the Pirates took a 3-0 lead. The first run scored on Jason Bay's bases-loaded, full-count walk, and Nady followed with a two-run single.
Reyes held off the Pirates his last four innings, stranding Sanchez after a leadoff triple in the third and getting Adam LaRoche on a double-play ball with runners on first and third to end the fifth. In five innings, Reyes gave up three runs and six hits.
"I was just trying to give us innings," Reyes said. "I didn't want the bullpen to get crushed."
Duncan was 1-for-5, making him 8-for-15 the last four games. Much criticized for his outfield play last season, Duncan also made the defensive stop of the game with a diving grab on Sanchez's sinking liner for the first out in the eighth.
- Pirates LHP John Grabow (elbow irritation) allowed two hits and struck out one in a scoreless inning in his second rehab appearance for Triple-A Indianapolis.
- Pittsburgh went 64 innings without an error before LaRoche botched a slow grounder to first in the ninth.
- The Pirates were 1-5 at Busch Stadium last year.