Florida at St. Louis

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Pujols hitless, home run streak ends at five games

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols didn't come close to a home run, his streak ending at five consecutive games. The Florida Marlins finally built a lead they could not squander.

Josh Willingham homered twice with a career-best six RBI, including a grand slam in the third inning, helping the Marlins end an eight-game losing streak with an 11-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night.

Florida led in the seventh and eighth inning before faltering in the first two games of a three-game series.

The Marlins prevailed after manager Fredi Gonzalez ordered players, threatening fines, not to show up before 6 p.m. EDT, two hours before game time. Gonzalez used it as a change of pace.

"Anytime you lose eight in a row, you tend to press," Willingham said. "It was a good little breather, I think. It was a good call."

Starting pitcher Rick Vandenhurk watched Oceans 13 in his hotel room, completing a trilogy. Willingham visited the Gateway Arch with his wife and father-in-law, although he was unaware that one of the trams has broken down twice this summer, last month stranding visitors for several hours.

"No way," Willingham said. "That would not have been good."

Pujols was 0-for-3 with a popup, lineout to center and groundout, and was lifted after the sixth. Pujols' RBI streak also ended at seven games, during which he drove in eight runs, and left Busch Stadium without talking to reporters.

"He's that good of a hitter. He'll get plenty of streaks," Gonzalez said.

VandenHurk (4-4) allowed a run on four hits in five innings and the Cardinals had a shaky night on defense, tying a season high with four errors. A fifth ball to the wall was misplayed by left fielder Chris Duncan but ruled a hit, helping set the table for Willingham's second career grand slam -- both this year.

Hanley Ramirez was 1-for-2 with two walks and two steals, becoming the first Florida player to have 40 stolen bases and 20 homers in a season.

The Cardinals (61-63) missed a chance to make it back to .500 for the first time since a 3-2 loss to the Pirates on April 14 left the defending World Series champions' record at 6-6.

Rick Ankiel hit a third-inning sacrifice fly for St. Louis, which lost for only the third time in 11 games. He made one of the errors, misjudging a basket catch on Matt Treanor's fly ball to right in the second. But he compensated with a strong throw in the seventh to catch Mike Jacobs going for a double, and also made a strong throw to keep VandenHurk at third on Miguel Cabrera's fly ball in the third.

Willingham's 20th homer, a mammoth drive estimated at 448 feet that cleared the left-field bleachers, came off a 3-2 pitch from Anthony Reyes (2-13) for the first runs of the game. None of the runs was earned after third baseman Scott Rolen booted VandenHurk's grounder to open the inning, which included Duncan misjudging his proximity to the wall and whiffing on a leaping attempt on Dan Uggla's drive off the wall, ruled a single to load the bases.

"If I'd have gotten back quicker and found the wall, it probably would have been an easier play," Duncan said. "I tried to time it because I thought I was closer to the wall, and I misplayed it."

Manager Tony La Russa didn't absolve Reyes, who labored through 106 pitches.

"He wasn't blame-free," La Russa said. "He threw a lot of pitches for the amount of time he was out there."

Pinch hitter Cody Ross' three-run homer, also his 100th career hit, greeted Brad Thompson in the sixth and made it 7-1. Both benches were warned after Thompson hit the next batter, Ramirez. Willingham added a two-run homer in the ninth off Tyler Johnson.

St. Louis loaded the bases in the ninth, but managed only Juan Encarnacion's two-run single.

A lingering hamstring injury that left Pujols' right side numb for a time on Wednesday factored into his early exit. Pujols had homered in six of the previous seven games and became the only player in major league history to hit 30 homers in his first seven seasons, but never came close to a long ball in the series finale.

"You've got to do everything with Pujols. You've got to mix everything up," VandenHurk said. "He's a great hitter and you can't put it twice anywhere because he's going to hit it a mile."

The homer streak matched the franchise record last done by Jim Edmonds from July 6-11, 2004.

Notes

  • Willingham's grand slam gives the Marlins four 20-homer players for the second straight season. They're the first team in the majors to do it this season.
  • Cardinals INF Aaron Miles is due to rejoin the team on Friday after joining his wife in California for the birth of a son late Wednesday. He has missed the last two games.
  • The Marlins have homered in 23 of their last 25 games.
  • Willingham has three career multihomer games.
 
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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Josh Willingham gets much love at the plate after hitting his second career grand slam.  (AP)
Josh Willingham gets much love at the plate after hitting his second career grand slam. (AP)

Players of the Game
Florida

J. Willingham
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 6
St. Louis

J. Edmonds
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS2211200 .333
Dan Uggla, 2B5121003 .249
Miguel Cabrera, 3B4000116 .325
Mike Jacobs, 1B5120024 .264
Josh Willingham, LF5226030 .273
Jeremy Hermida, RF5120010 .275
Matt Treanor, C5110011 .306
Alejandro De Aza, CF5110003 .275
Rick VandenHurk, P2100000 .056
   a- Cody Ross, PH1113000 .304
    Lee Gardner, P0000000 .000
    Justin Miller, P0000000 .000
   b- Todd Linden, PH1000000 .234
    Armando Benitez, P0000000 .000
    Kevin Gregg, P0000000 .000
Totals4011121138  
a-homered for VandenHurk in the 6th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Miller in the 8th
Batting
HR - Josh Willingham 2 (21, An. Reyes, Johnson), Cody Ross (7, Thompson)
RBI - Hanley Ramirez (65), Dan Uggla (71), Josh Willingham 6 (84), Cody Ross 3 (26)
2-OUT RBI - Dan Uggla (15), Josh Willingham 4 (30), Cody Ross 3 (11)
SB - Hanley Ramirez 2 (41, 2nd base off An. Reyes/Bennett, 3rd base off Thompson/Bennett)
PK - Hanley Ramirez (1, An. Reyes)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Matt Treanor (3, Throwing)
Florida Marlins
Rick VandenHurk (W,4-4) 5411150 6.95
Lee Gardner 1100000 2.28
Justin Miller 1100010 3.38
Armando Benitez 1000010 4.84
Kevin Gregg 1222220 3.18
WP - Kevin Gregg (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Rick VandenHurk 73-46, Lee Gardner 15-11, Justin Miller 16-11, Armando Benitez 17-11, Kevin Gregg 38-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick VandenHurk 2-7, Lee Gardner 2-1, Justin Miller 1-1, Armando Benitez 1-1
Batters Faced - Rick VandenHurk 19, Lee Gardner 4, Justin Miller 4, Armando Benitez 3, Kevin Gregg 7
St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS5020012 .295
Rick Ankiel, RF3001021 .263
Albert Pujols, 1B3000002 .320
    Ryan Ludwick, LF1000000 .246
Jim Edmonds, CF3120111 .255
Scott Rolen, 3B3000003 .268
   a- So Taguchi, PH0100100 .295
Chris Duncan, LF-1B3010110 .269
Gary Bennett, C4000034 .230
Anthony Reyes, P1000010 .083
   b- Adam Wainwright, PH1010000 .277
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Brad Thompson, P0000000 .150
    Tyler Johnson, P0000000 .000
   c- Juan Encarnacion, PH1012000 .287
Brendan Ryan, 2B4110004 .344
Totals3238339  
a-walked for Rolen in the 9th
b-singled for An. Reyes in the 5th
c-singled for Johnson in the 9th
Batting
SF - Rick Ankiel (1)
SH - Brad Thompson (6)
RBI - Rick Ankiel (8), Juan Encarnacion 2 (46)
SB - David Eckstein (8, 3rd base off VandenHurk/Treanor), Brendan Ryan (3, 2nd base off VandenHurk/Treanor)
CS - Adam Wainwright (1, 2nd base by VandenHurk/Treanor)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Rick Ankiel 1
E - Rick Ankiel (1, Dropped fly), Gary Bennett (1, Throwing), Scott Rolen (7, Misplayed grounder), Brendan Ryan (4, Missed catch of throw)
St. Louis Cardinals
Anthony Reyes (L,2-13) 5340341 5.33
Randy Flores 0.2222010 4.46
Brad Thompson 2.1532031 5.07
Tyler Johnson 1222001 4.50
HBP - H. Ramirez (by Brad Thompson)
Pitches-Strikes - Anthony Reyes 106-68, Randy Flores 20-12, Brad Thompson 43-28, Tyler Johnson 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anthony Reyes 4-8, Brad Thompson 2-2, Tyler Johnson 1-2
Batters Faced - Anthony Reyes 22, Randy Flores 4, Brad Thompson 13, Tyler Johnson 5
Game Information
Attendance - 42123
Game Time - 3:26
Temperature - 95
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Bruce Froemming, Third Base - Brian Runge