St. Louis at Pittsburgh

Scoreboard
St. Louis (76-84) «1000000416110
Pittsburgh (68-92)000001000150

Cardinals 6, Pirates 1

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- The St. Louis Cardinals finally put together a three-game winning streak in September.

Too little, too late.

Jim Edmonds broke open a tight game with a three-run single in the eighth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Friday night for their third straight win.

St. Louis entered September in the thick of the National League Central playoff race. After closing to within a game of the division lead Sept. 6, the Cardinals promptly lost 14 of their next 16.

"You know what? It would be a lot nicer if we put this together a long time ago," Edmonds said. "Right now, nothing feels good. We're not in the playoffs, and we're just kind of hanging out. It doesn't feel that good anymore. We're just trying to get to the end of the year."

So Taguchi drove in two runs and David Eckstein scored three times for the defending World Series champions, who will be forced to watch the playoffs this time around when the three-game series concludes Sunday.

"I'm trying to have fun these past couple days and make sure they guys have a good time," Edmonds said. "I don't know why we're winning but we're winning."

Matt Kata had two hits and the lone RBI for the Pirates, who assured themselves of a last-place finish with their 11th loss in the past 13 games.

The go-ahead run scored without a hit, when Eckstein led off the eighth with a walk and stole second. Rick Ankiel sacrificed him to third and Albert Pujols was intentionally walked by John Grabow (3-2), who hit Ryan Ludwick with a pitch. After getting ahead of Taguchi 1-2, Grabow walked in the go-ahead run.

Two batters and two pitchers later, Edmonds delivered a pinch-hit single to right that Steve Pearce dove for and missed. All three runners scored to make it 5-1.

"It was luck," Edmonds said. "I hit the ball off the end of the bat, and the guy broke back. I'm just trying to put the ball in play; I'm not really trying to do anything special. I'll do whatever I can right now. I'm just trying to enjoy these last couple days."

Russ Springer (8-1) worked the seventh for his career-high eighth victory.

Each team had a pitcher trying to impress its management to earn a 2008 starting job on the mound, and both performed well.

Pittsburgh's Zach Duke, a rookie phenom two seasons ago, lowered his ERA to 5.53 in his third outing since coming off the disabled list due. He allowed one run and eight hits without a walk in seven innings.

"I felt real good," Duke said. "The ball was doing what it was supposed to do, and I was moving around and felt in control. It was definitely a good way to end the season."

"I think Zach Duke was out there tonight feeling a lot of what he felt in 2005," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "And what a good sendoff that is going into his offseason."

Todd Wellemeyer, a 29-year-old journeyman pitching for his fourth team in three years, made the start for St. Louis after coming out of the bullpen most of the second half. He allowed one run on three hits without a walk, striking out five in six innings.

"They're a very aggressive-swinging club," St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said of the Pirates. "If a different club's out her taking a lot of pitches, than you have a different looking game. He's got plus stuff, and it's tough to sit there and take strike one all the time."

Wellemeyer has worked 18 innings and allowed only two runs and six hits in his four starts since July 8.

Three of the first five batters of the game had hits off of Duke, culminating with a Taguchi RBI single.

Pittsburgh did not advance a runner past second until there were two outs in the sixth, when Matt Kata drove in Jack Wilson with a single to left. Wellemeyer's night ended a half-inning later when he was lifted for a pinch hitter.

"I was definitely wanting to finish strong," Wellemeyer said. "It's a good way to end the season."

Notes

Ludwick extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games with a single in the sixth inning. ... The Cardinals are 9-2 in games Wellemeyer has started this season. ... Pujols grounded into two double plays, giving him 27 for the season. ... Pujols has gone 102 consecutive plate appearances without striking out, the longest active streak in the majors. He has not struck out in September.

 
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

D. Eckstein
AB 4
R 3
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
St. Louis

S. Taguchi
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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St. Louis Cardinals
David Eckstein, SS4320101 .310
Rick Ankiel, CF4020022 .282
Albert Pujols, 1B4121102 .328
Ryan Ludwick, RF4110013 .270
So Taguchi, LF3112101 .289
Aaron Miles, 2B4000015 .292
Gary Bennett, C3020000 .238
   a- Jim Edmonds, PH1013000 .250
    Joel Pineiro, PR0000000 .056
    Kelly Stinnett, C0000000 .167
Todd Wellemeyer, P2000011 .125
   b- Miguel Cairo, PH1000011 .251
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   c- Skip Schumaker, PH1000001 .316
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .500
    Troy Percival, P0000000 .000
Brendan Ryan, 3B4000002 .287
Totals35611636  
a-singled for Bennett in the 8th
b-struck out for Wellemeyer in the 7th
c-hit into fielder's choice for Springer in the 8th
Batting
2B - David Eckstein (23, Duke), Albert Pujols (37, Torres), Gary Bennett (7, Duke)
SH - Rick Ankiel (1)
RBI - Albert Pujols (102), So Taguchi 2 (29), Jim Edmonds 3 (52)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (27), So Taguchi (10), Jim Edmonds 3 (23)
SB - David Eckstein (10, 2nd base off Grabow/Paulino), Brendan Ryan (7, 2nd base off Duke/Paulino)
Team LOB - 7
St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Wellemeyer 6311050 4.54
Russ Springer (W,8-1) 1100010 2.22
Ryan Franklin 1100000 2.72
Troy Percival 1000100 1.85
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 70-48, Russ Springer 19-13, Ryan Franklin 14-11, Troy Percival 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 6-7, Ryan Franklin 2-1, Troy Percival 2-1
Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 21, Russ Springer 4, Ryan Franklin 4, Troy Percival 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, CF4010011 .296
Matt Kata, 2B4021001 .226
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000001 .273
Xavier Nady, LF4000021 .280
Jose Bautista, 3B3000110 .256
Ronny Paulino, C4010001 .260
Steve Pearce, RF3000011 .283
Jack Wilson, SS3110000 .297
Zach Duke, P1000010 .250
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
    Franquelis Osoria, P0000000 .000
   a- Cesar Izturis, PH1000000 .256
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .000
Totals3115116  
a-grounded out for Osoria in the 8th
Batting
3B - Nyjer Morgan (4, Franklin)
SH - Zach Duke (3)
RBI - Matt Kata (16)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Kata (12)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - J. Bautista-Kata-LaRoche, J. Wilson-Kata-LaRoche
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke 7811040 5.53
John Grabow (L,3-2) 0.1044300 4.53
Damaso Marte 0.1000010 2.38
Franquelis Osoria 0.1100000 4.18
Salomon Torres 1211010 5.51
IBB - Pujols by John Grabow
HBP - Ludwick (by John Grabow)
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 91-59, John Grabow 22-6, Damaso Marte 5-3, Franquelis Osoria 7-5, Salomon Torres 17-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 8-7, John Grabow 1-0, Franquelis Osoria 1-0, Salomon Torres 1-1
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 27, John Grabow 5, Damaso Marte 1, Franquelis Osoria 2, Salomon Torres 5
Game Information
Attendance - 30603
Game Time - 2:35
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Paul Nauert