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Cincinnati at St. Louis

Scoreboard
Cincinnati (10-11)000001001251
St. Louis (9-11) «00010004x571

Cardinals 5, Reds 2

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Braden Looper went back to being a set-up man for the Cardinals.

The reliever turned starter pitched his best game of the season, setting the table for Albert Pujols' two-run, tie-breaking double in the eighth inning, and St. Louis beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-2 on Wednesday.

It was only the second win in nine home games for the Cardinals, the first World Series winners to start the following season 1-7 at home.

Looper, who is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA, and three relievers combined on a five-hitter.

"It was probably some of the best control for the majority of the game that I've had," he said. "I just made one really bad pitch to the wrong guy. Luckily it didn't hurt us too bad."

Looper allowed one run on three hits in seven innings in his fifth career start, all of them lasting at least six innings, since the Cardinals plugged the former closer and setup man into the rotation.

"That's another outstanding outing for him," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's given us a terrific lift."

Josh Hamilton hit his sixth home run and drove in his 12th run, both tops among NL rookies, for the Reds. Hamilton homered five times in his first 29 at-bats and waited 17 more at-bats for his sixth long ball.

The Reds wasted another strong start by Bronson Arroyo, who gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. Arroyo has worked seven or more innings in four of his last five starts, but the Reds are 0-5 with him on the mound while scoring 11 runs.

"It's just the way it is, I guess," Arroyo said. "I felt I threw the ball well. It's always frustrating and disappointing when you don't win the ballgame."

David Eckstein was hitless in three at-bats and hadn't gotten the ball out of the infield before leading off the eighth with a bloop single against Kirk Saarloos (0-2). Chris Duncan walked on a full count and Pujols' liner to the gap in right-center scored both runners and made it 3-1.

"A lot of hitters try to be a hero and try to create something big," Pujols said. "I try to make it simple, go back to my basics and just get the ball deep."

Pujols has struggled in the early going, batting .234, but has 14 RBI.

"Obviously it doesn't matter how I'm swinging or what my batting average looks like, when it comes to that situation I'm a different person," Pujols said. "I know sooner or later I'm going to get a big opportunity."

A fourth run scored on shortstop Alex Gonzalez' wild throw to first on Preston Wilson's one-out grounder and Yadier Molina's sacrifice fly off Victor Santos gave the Cardinals a 5-1 lead.

Jim Edmonds had an RBI single in the fourth for the Cardinals, who had been outscored 44-20 during their first eight home games with 10 of their runs coming in the lone victory. They scuffled for offense in this game, too, mustering seven hits.

Randy Flores (1-0), St. Louis' third pitcher, struck out Hamilton and Brandon Phillips to end the eighth, then allowed an RBI single to Scott Hatteberg in the ninth. Jason Isringhausen came on to get the last out for his fifth save in six chances.

The Cardinals scored first for only the fifth time in 20 games, taking the lead in the fourth on Scott Rolen's leadoff double and Edmonds' RBI single.

Looper didn't allow a hit, permitting only two walks, until Gonzalez singled with one out in the fifth. He had retired 11 of 12 batters before Hamilton hit his first pitch of the sixth over the center field wall.

Saarloos allowed two hits and two walks to start the eighth. In his last two outings, he has allowed six runs in one-third of an inning.

"(I) stunk pretty much," Saarloos said. "I couldn't get anyone out. A bad effort for me."

Notes

Gonzalez is 6-for-9 the last two games, emerging from a 3-for-22 slump. ... Duncan singled twice, walked and lined out, and is batting .448 (13-for-29) at home. ... Skip Schumaker is 2-for-14 as a pinch hitter for the Cardinals after grounding out to end the seventh. ... The Reds' bullpen has five of the team's 11 losses.

 
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
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
St. Louis

B. Looper
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 2
K 4
 
Cincinnati Reds
Josh Hamilton, CF3111110 .298
Brandon Phillips, 2B3000010 .222
Adam Dunn, LF4110011 .273
Ken Griffey Jr., RF4000002 .254
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4000001 .182
Scott Hatteberg, 1B3011100 .302
Alex Gonzalez, SS4020001 .302
David Ross, C3000023 .130
   a- Javier Valentin, PH1000002 .240
Bronson Arroyo, P2000011 .083
   b- Ryan Freel, PH1000000 .284
    Kirk Saarloos, P0000000 .000
    Jon Coutlangus, P0000000 .000
    Victor Santos, P0000000 .000
Totals3225226  
a-hit into fielder's choice for Ross in the 9th
b-popped out for Arroyo in the 8th
Batting
2B - Adam Dunn (4, Flores)
HR - Josh Hamilton (6, Looper)
SH - Brandon Phillips (1)
RBI - Josh Hamilton (12), Scott Hatteberg (8)
2-OUT RBI - Scott Hatteberg (4)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Alex Gonzalez (3, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
Bronson Arroyo 7511120 2.86
Kirk Saarloos (L,0-2)0242200 5.59
Jon Coutlangus 0.1000000 3.68
Victor Santos 0.2000110 2.89
IBB - Rolen by Kirk Saarloos, Kennedy by Victor Santos
Pitches-Strikes - Bronson Arroyo 96-65, Kirk Saarloos 20-10, Jon Coutlangus 4-0, Victor Santos 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Bronson Arroyo 10-9, Jon Coutlangus 1-0, Victor Santos 1-1
Batters Faced - Bronson Arroyo 27, Kirk Saarloos 4, Jon Coutlangus 1, Victor Santos 4
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4110000 .227
Chris Duncan, LF3120100 .333
Albert Pujols, 1B3012111 .234
Scott Rolen, 3B3210102 .290
Jim Edmonds, CF3011002 .203
   a- So Taguchi, PH-CF1100002 .222
Preston Wilson, RF4000011 .226
Adam Kennedy, 2B3000101 .200
Yadier Molina, C3011000 .241
Braden Looper, P2000002 .111
   b- Skip Schumaker, PH1000000 .148
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P1000012 .000
    Jason Isringhausen, P0000000 .000
Totals3157443  
a-hit into fielder's choice-bunting for Edmonds in the 8th
b-grounded out for Looper in the 7th
Batting
2B - Albert Pujols (3, Saarloos), Scott Rolen (3, Arroyo)
SF - Yadier Molina (1)
RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (14), Jim Edmonds (5), Yadier Molina (4)
SB - Adam Kennedy (2, 2nd base off Santos/Ross)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - David Eckstein (4, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper 7311241 1.91
Russ Springer 0.1000000 4.05
Randy Flores (W,1-0) 1.1211020 1.13
Jason Isringhausen (S,5) 0.1000000 3.24
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 100-62, Russ Springer 6-3, Randy Flores 31-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 11-6, Randy Flores 1-1, Jason Isringhausen 2-0
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 26, Russ Springer 1, Randy Flores 6, Jason Isringhausen 2
Game Information
Attendance - 42225
Game Time - 2:31
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Tim Timmons, Second Base - Rick Reed, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether