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Pittsburgh at St. Louis

St. Louis
W: K. Jimenez (2-0) L: B. Bullington (0-1)
HR: PIT - None   STL - R. Ankiel (8), R. Ankiel (9)

Ankiel homers twice, finishes with seven RBI in Cards' rout of Bucs

CBSSports.com wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- Rick Ankiel isn't just hitting, he's turning into a force.

Ankiel hit two home runs and had a career-high seven RBI, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 16-4 on Thursday in a game shortened to eight innings because of rain.

"Marvel is a good word," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's kind of amazing, isn't it? Clutch, too."

Ankiel hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-2 lead against Bryan Bullington (0-1), who made his first major league start five years after he was the No. 1 overall pick in the amateur draft. Ankiel made it 11-3 with a two-run drive in the fifth against John Grabow and added a two-run double in the sixth off Dave Davidson, also making his big league debut.

Brought up Aug. 9 in his first major league appearance since he pitched for the Cardinals in 2004, Ankiel is batting .358 with nine home runs and 29 RBI in 23 games. He also went deep twice against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 11.

"It feels as good as it can feel," Ankiel said. "The thing to remember when you get up there with runners on base is that the pitcher is the one that's in trouble."

He made his second start in center field, hauling in Steve Pearce's drive at the wall in the third. He barely missed a diving catch on pinch-hitter Matt Kata's slicing drive that fell for a double in the fourth, getting a round of applause for the effort, in addition to making a pair of curtain calls after his home runs.

"It was a good day, that's for sure," Ankiel said. "It's been unbelievable."

St. Louis (69-68) is one game behind NL Central co-leaders Chicago and Milwaukee, scoring its most runs since Aug. 29, 2001, against San Diego. The Cardinals had 22 hits, their highest total since April 27, 2003, at Florida.

"They took some of our young kids and hit them hard -- period," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "Flat pitches in the middle of the plate get hit often, and hard."

The Cardinals are 17-9 since the Ankiel callup.

"It seems like we've been winning since I've been here," Ankiel said. "Hopefully we can continue."

Mike Maroth, back from a bout of elbow tendinitis, allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in 1 2/3 innings, throwing 54 pitches in his first appearance since Aug. 4. On Wednesday, Mark Mulder pitched for the first time in over a year and gave up six runs over four innings in an 8-2 loss.

"It was a matter of just not being aggressive enough early in the count," Maroth said. "I made a lot of pitches that would have been good with two strikes, or when I was ahead in the count but early in the count you've got to make them put it in play.

Kelvin Jimenez (2-0) got one out for the victory, throwing a called third strike past Jason Bay to end the second with the based loaded.

Bullington gave up five runs and seven hits over three innings in his second big league outing. He received a $4 million bonus when he signed with the Pirates out of Ball State, then went 34-17 in three minor league seasons, his climb through the minors slowed by a shoulder injury that sidelined him for 2006.

He also singled in his first career plate appearance in the second and scored his first run later in the inning.

"My fastball was a little flat and my slider was a little loopy at times," said Bullington, who made one relief appearance for Pittsburgh in September 2005. "They took advantage of it, that's for sure."

Davidson worked the sixth and allowed four runs -- three earned -- and four hits.

Aaron Miles and David Eckstein each had three hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who split the four-game series. Jose Bautista had two hits and two RBI for the Pirates.

Maroth escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, getting Pearce on a called third strike. Bautista and Freddy Sanchez hit back-to-back RBI singles in the second tie it at 2.


  • The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 26 minutes because of rain, and there was a mandatory 30-minute delay before the game was called with no outs in the top of the ninth. Wednesday's game began after a 49-minute rain delay.
  • One of the biggest cheers of the day came when the crowd noticed on the jumbo scoreboard that the Dodgers had taken the lead in a four-run ninth against the Cubs in a 7-4 victory. "The crowd goes crazy and you've got to look up yourself," Ankiel said.
  • Miles is batting .476 (20-for-42) with six RBI against the Pirates.
  • The Cardinals' previous seven-RBI game was by Scott Rolen on Sept. 15 last year at home against the Giants.
  • Jack Wilson had two hits and was 11-for-16 in the series. He's batting a major league-best .409 (36-for-88) since Aug. 1.
Copyright 2016 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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Rick Ankiel hits the first of his two HRs of the day and now has nine dingers and 29 RBI in 23 games.  (AP)
Rick Ankiel hits the first of his two HRs of the day and now has nine dingers and 29 RBI in 23 games. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

R. Ankiel
AB 4
R 4
H 3
HR 2
St. Louis

D. Eckstein
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0

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Jose Bautista, 3B4022000 .261
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   a- Ronny Paulino, PH0000100 .256
    Shane Youman, P0000000 .083
Freddy Sanchez, 2B3021001 .316
   b- Cesar Izturis, PH-3B2000002 .254
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a-walked for J. Perez in the 8th
b-flied out for F. Sanchez in the 7th
c-hit into fielder's choice for Bay in the 7th
d-doubled for Bullington in the 4th
e-grounded out for Grabow in the 6th
2B - Jack Wilson (25, An. Reyes), Carlos Maldonado (1, An. Reyes), Matt Kata (8, Percival)
RBI - Jose Bautista 2 (58), Freddy Sanchez (72), Carlos Maldonado (2)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Bautista (21), Freddy Sanchez (28)
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John Van Benschoten 1.1655210 10.86
John Grabow 0.2522011 3.64
Dave Davidson 1443000 27.00
Juan Perez 1000010 3.68
Shane Youman 1000000 6.66
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SH - David Eckstein (6)
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Randy Flores 1000000 4.47
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Game Information
Attendance - 42330
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Brian Runge, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Bruce Froemming, Third Base - Mark Wegner