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Pittsburgh at St. Louis

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Pittsburgh (25-29)1000000034102
St. Louis (33-23) «21000020x590

Pujols continues hot streak with another homer; Cards win

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Start after start, Todd Wellemeyer makes his case for being in the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation for good.

The former waiver-wire pickup worked seven sharp innings and Albert Pujols homered for the third time in four games in a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

"I kind of know I belong," Wellemeyer said. "They gave me an opportunity and I'm going to make the best of it. I'm not trying to think too much out there, just pitching."

Rookie Joe Mather, recalled from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day after struggling Chris Duncan was demoted, had a memorable debut both at the plate and in right field. He hit an RBI single in the seventh and made a diving catch in the second, fully extending to rob Adam A. LaRoche of a likely RBI double on a liner down the line, helping the Cardinals win for the sixth time in eight games.

Mather got a standing ovation after the catch on a ball Wellemeyer thought would go to the wall for sure. He was on his way to back up home plate.

"That'll go down as one of the best I've made, for sure," Mather said. "That's what you dream of."

Pujols' 14th homer was a two-run shot to straightaway center in the bottom of the first that answered Nate McLouth's 13th homer, a solo shot just over the right-field wall, in the top half for Pittsburgh. Wellemeyer added a sacrifice fly in the second and Cesar Izturis had an RBI single in the seventh through a drawn-in infield.

Pinch hitter Jason Michael's three-run double off stand-in closer Ryan Franklin with two outs in the ninth, his second hit in 11 pinch appearances and first RBI, cut the deficit to one before McLouth's comebacker gave Franklin his fifth save in seven chances.

"We had the right guy at the plate at the end," manager John Russell said. "We just couldn't finish it off."

Zach Duke (2-4) worked six innings and gave up three runs, two earned, and five hits. Duke's start was pushed back a day because a callus on his left middle finger. He allowed hits to three of the first six hitters before settling in.

"I'm glad I kept us in the game," Duke said. "At the same time, I didn't pitch well enough to win."

Wellemeyer (6-1) won his career-best fourth straight decision and doubled his victory total from last season, when the Cardinals picked him up on waivers from the Royals and gave him his first opportunity as a starter. He worked seven innings, a career high he's reached four times this season, and allowed one run and six hits.

"It woke me up a little bit in the first inning," Wellemeyer said. "Mather really helped me out and I ended up getting in a nice little groove."

Entering the season, Wellemeyer had a career record of 9-10 with a 4.98 ERA for four teams, making him the most likely pitcher to get bumped from the rotation when any of the team's several injured starters returned.

McLouth's homer was his first since May 17, and the Pirates' 32nd homer this month. Pittsburgh had only two runners in scoring position the last six innings against Wellemeyer.

Duke's throwing error led to an unearned run in the second. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez was late covering first base on a sacrifice bunt and Duke held up on a wild toss to first that dribbled into right field.

"I tried to throw the ball, it just slipped out of my hand," Duke said. "I hesitated and then I couldn't get a grip on it."

Notes

  • RHP Mike Parisi makes his first career start Saturday for the Cardinals, subbing for injured Joel Pineiro. Parisi has a 2.87 ERA in 15 2/3 innings of relief over eight outings and was the opening day starter at Triple-A Memphis.
  • Pujols also singled in the third and has 10 hits in his past 18 at-bats, raising his average to .364.
  • La Russa will manage his 2,000th game with the Cardinals on Saturday.
  • Pirates outfielders lead the majors with 34 homers.
  • McLouth is 4-for-22 against the Cardinals, but with three homers and five RBI.
  • Wellemeyer had four strikeouts, giving him 36 in 37 2/3 innings for his career against the Pirates.
 
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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Albert Pujols gives thanks after clubbing his 14th homer -- third in his past four games.  (AP)
Albert Pujols gives thanks after clubbing his 14th homer -- third in his past four games. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

A. Pujols
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Pittsburgh

J. Michaels
AB 1
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4110100 .239
Jack Wilson, SS4020002 .276
    Tyler Yates, P0000000 .000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1013000 .242
Nate McLouth, CF5111013 .308
Jason Bay, LF4010021 .293
Xavier Nady, RF3020101 .327
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000004 .226
Doug Mientkiewicz, 3B3000002 .207
   b- Jose Bautista, PH1110000 .228
Raul Chavez, C4010012 .235
Zach Duke, P2000020 .091
   c- Chris Gomez, PH-SS1100000 .318
Totals36410426  
a-doubled for Burnett in the 9th
b-singled for Mientkiewicz in the 9th
c-grounded out for Duke in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jack Wilson (2, Wellemeyer), Jason Michaels (7, Franklin)
HR - Nate McLouth (13, Wellemeyer)
RBI - Jason Michaels 3 (16), Nate McLouth (40)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Michaels 3 (8), Nate McLouth (20)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Xavier Nady 1
DP - Nady-Chavez-Mientkiewicz
E - Raul Chavez (1, Throwing), Zach Duke (1, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (L,2-4) 6532121 4.41
Tyler Yates 1322100 4.38
Sean Burnett 1100020 7.36
IBB - Pujols by Tyler Yates
WP - Tyler Yates (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 97-64, Tyler Yates 24-13, Sean Burnett 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 8-8, Tyler Yates 2-1, Sean Burnett 1-0
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 24, Tyler Yates 7, Sean Burnett 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Brendan Ryan, 2B4110001 .297
Joe Mather, RF4011001 .250
Albert Pujols, 1B3122100 .364
Ryan Ludwick, CF-LF4010003 .325
Troy Glaus, 3B3000120 .257
Yadier Molina, C4120002 .291
Brian Barton, LF1000000 .265
    Rick Ankiel, CF2110011 .274
Todd Wellemeyer, P1001010 .174
   a- Adam Kennedy, PH1000001 .242
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
   b- Aaron Miles, PH1000001 .318
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Cesar Izturis, SS3111000 .264
Totals3159524  
a-grounded out for Wellemeyer in the 7th
b-grounded out-bunting for Springer in the 8th
Batting
2B - Yadier Molina (7, Burnett)
3B - Rick Ankiel (1, Yates)
HR - Albert Pujols (14, Duke)
SF - Todd Wellemeyer (1)
SH - Brian Barton (2)
RBI - Joe Mather (1), Albert Pujols 2 (37), Todd Wellemeyer (3), Cesar Izturis (11)
2-OUT RBI - Joe Mather (1)
SB - Cesar Izturis (5, 3rd base off Yates/Chavez)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Izturis-Ryan-Pujols
St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Wellemeyer (W,6-1) 7611241 3.16
Ron Villone 0.1000010 3.92
Russ Springer 0.2100000 3.46
Randy Flores 0.2122010 4.20
Ryan Franklin (S,5) 0.1211000 2.13
HBP - Gomez (by Randy Flores)
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 94-62, Ron Villone 3-3, Russ Springer 8-7, Randy Flores 16-10, Ryan Franklin 10-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 5-12, Russ Springer 1-0, Ryan Franklin 1-0
Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 29, Ron Villone 1, Russ Springer 2, Randy Flores 4, Ryan Franklin 3
Game Information
Attendance - 42791
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - C.B. Bucknor, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Ed Rapuano