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St. Louis at Pittsburgh

St. Louis (50-54)000001000170
Pittsburgh (43-62) «50200107x15200

Pirates 15, Cardinals 1

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- Tony Armas waited all season for a night like this. Ronny Paulino could barely wait 24 hours to make up for a forgettable game that turned some of his own fans against him.

Paulino quieted some loud booing with a grand slam during a five-run Pittsburgh first inning, and Armas won as a starter for the first time in more than 10 months to carry the Pirates past St. Louis 15-1 Wednesday night.

Armas (1-3) became only the second Pirates pitcher to win since the All-Star break, limiting the Cardinals to an Aaron Miles home run over 6 1-3 innings. It was Armas' first victory since beating the Mets while with Washington on Sept. 24, 2006.

Pittsburgh had season highs in runs (15) and hits (20), scoring seven runs in the eighth against Mike Maroth. It was the Pirates' most lopsided victory since June 11, 2005, when they beat Tampa Bay 18-2.

"This was a breath of fresh air," said Jack Wilson, who hit a solo homer. "We had a lot of really good at-bats."

The loss was the Cardinals' most lopsided since June 20, 2006, when they dropped a 20-6 decision to the White Sox.

The Cardinals were denied their first five-game winning streak since they won seven in a row in early July 2006. The Pirates had lost their last four and seven of eight and were 2-14 since the break, with Paul Maholm getting their only previous two wins since July 8.

Braden Looper (8-9) dominated the Pirates in his first two starts against them this season, allowing only one run in 13 innings. But his first inning rapidly came apart after he retired the first two batters as Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche and Jason Bay singled in succession to make it 1-0.

Paulino -- booed upon being introduced because of his two fielding misplays that helped St. Louis to a 6-4 victory Tuesday -- followed with a drive into a left field walkway to put the Pirates up 5-0. Paulino's grand slam was the first of his career and Pittsburgh's first this season.

"That was hard. That's the first time in my career that's happened to me," Paulino said of the booed. "But they pay to see a good show and they can do whatever they feel like."

Even after he homered, Paulino heard mixed boos and cheers his next time up -- a reflection of his season-long offensive slump since he hit .310 as a rookie last year and his repeatedly sloppy defense. He drew an error for muffing a popup and also dropped a throw to the plate in the span of little more than a minute to allow St. Louis to score the go-ahead run Tuesday.

Manager Jim Tracy talked with Paulino before Wednesday's game, reinforcing that he is the Pirates' catcher and the way to overcome the ups and downs of the game is to play hard and concentrate.

"He's got a lot of faith in me," said Paulino, who is hitting .239. "He knows I can do better. He's a person that has given me a lot of respect, and I wanted to come back and play well."

Looper was lifted after pitching ineffectively for four innings, allowing seven runs and eight hits. He hasn't won consecutive starts since May 6 and 12.

"Basically, when I've been bad I've been bad," Looper said. "Tonight I could not make an adjustment mechanically and every pitch was up, and when that you do people are going to make you pay."

Manager Tony La Russa said Looper is learning a major league starter must take more to the mound than excellent stuff.

"Braden's finding out the demands of concentration over the span of 30 starts in six months," La Russa said. "He needs to do a better job of zeroing in."

Armas, yanked from the Pirates rotation after going 0-3 with an 8.46 ERA in his first seven starts, appeared to get straightened out while allowing only one run in 12 innings during July. The right-hander gave up four hits, struck out five and walked one in his first start since May 17.

"You could see it when he was pitching in relief - when his stuff started to come back, his confidence did, too," Tracy said.


Paulino's homer was his sixth and his first since June 5. ... The Cardinals' Chris Duncan cost the Pirates some money when his bat went flying into the stands during the first inning and struck a vendor's lemonade tray, causing nearly all the drinks to spill. No one was hurt. ... Miles' homer came one day short of the first anniversary of his last previous homer. ... Before losing, the Cardinals had won 40 of 57 against the Pirates since 2004 and were 38-15 in Pittsburgh since 2001. ... Bay doubled for the first time since June 26. ... Sanchez had his seventh career four-hit game and made a succession of standout plays at second base.. ... La Russa said Maroth was tipping his pitches, one reason he was roughed up. ... The Pirates hadn't hit a grand slam since Jose Bautista's shot last Sept. 19 against Los Angeles.
Copyright 2015 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

R. Paulino
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

F. Sanchez
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0

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St. Louis Cardinals
Aaron Miles, SS4111011 .280
Jim Edmonds, CF3000010 .223
   a- So Taguchi, PH-CF1010000 .300
Albert Pujols, 1B3000101 .317
Chris Duncan, LF4010021 .287
Scott Rolen, 3B2020000 .277
    Scott Spiezio, 3B2000011 .278
Juan Encarnacion, RF3010002 .294
    Mike Maroth, P0000000 .214
    Troy Percival, P1000011 .000
Adam Kennedy, 2B4000023 .220
Yadier Molina, C2000001 .250
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .158
   b- Ryan Ludwick, PH-RF1000001 .245
Braden Looper, P1000000 .161
   c- Gary Bennett, PH-C2010000 .235
a-singled for Edmonds in the 8th
b-flied out for Thompson in the 7th
c-grounded out for Looper in the 5th
HR - Aaron Miles (1, Armas)
RBI - Aaron Miles (17)
SB - Juan Encarnacion (2, 2nd base off Grabow/Paulino)
Team LOB - 6
Outfield Assists - Chris Duncan 2, Jim Edmonds 1
DP - Miles-Kennedy-Pujols, Edmonds-Spiezio
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (L,8-9) 4877102 5.23
Brad Thompson 2311001 5.13
Mike Maroth 1.2977120 6.67
Troy Percival 0.1000010 3.00
HBP - Castillo (by Mike Maroth)
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 74-48, Brad Thompson 21-14, Mike Maroth 61-38, Troy Percival 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 9-2, Brad Thompson 2-2, Mike Maroth 1-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 20, Brad Thompson 7, Mike Maroth 15, Troy Percival 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF5111000 .230
Jose Bautista, 3B5122000 .260
Freddy Sanchez, 2B5241000 .297
    Matt Kata, LF0000000 .194
Adam LaRoche, 1B5222012 .246
    Josh Phelps, 1B0000000 .272
Jason Bay, LF4332101 .264
    Matt Capps, P00000001.000
Ryan Doumit, RF4130111 .282
Ronny Paulino, C5224013 .239
Jack Wilson, SS4232000 .258
Tony Armas, P3000000 .182
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
   a- Jose Castillo, PH-2B0101000 .245
a-hit by pitch for Marte in the 8th
2B - Freddy Sanchez (26, Maroth), Jason Bay (17, Maroth), Ryan Doumit (18, Thompson)
HR - Adam LaRoche (15, Looper), Ronny Paulino (6, Looper), Jack Wilson (5, Thompson)
RBI - Nate McLouth (12), Jose Bautista 2 (35), Freddy Sanchez (39), Adam LaRoche 2 (59), Jason Bay 2 (69), Ronny Paulino 4 (30), Jack Wilson 2 (30), Jose Castillo (11)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bay 2 (20), Ronny Paulino 4 (13), Jack Wilson 2 (10)
Team LOB - 4
DP - J. Wilson-F. Sanchez-LaRoche
Pittsburgh Pirates
Tony Armas (W,1-3) 6.1411151 6.31
John Grabow 0.2000010 4.55
Damaso Marte 1200010 1.34
Matt Capps 1100010 2.15
Pitches-Strikes - Tony Armas 85-52, John Grabow 7-4, Damaso Marte 17-12, Matt Capps 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tony Armas 10-4, Damaso Marte 1-0
Batters Faced - Tony Armas 24, John Grabow 2, Damaso Marte 4, Matt Capps 4
Game Information
Attendance - 17041
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Randy Marsh, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt