Pittsburgh at St. Louis

Scoreboard
Pittsburgh (26-30)0100110104110
St. Louis (34-24) «05010010x7111

Starting pitcher Looper continues hot hitting in Cardinals' victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitcher Braden Looper was on the field more than he expected Sunday -- the price of getting two hits on a hot day.

Looper continued his torrid hitting to help earn himself a win in the Cardinals' 7-4 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had two singles, scored twice, and drove in a run to raise his batting average to .429 -- tops among pitchers in the majors. On the mound, Looper (7-4) allowed eight hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings.

"That's really icing on the cake for me," Looper said about his hitting. "It's not like going up there planning on that. I just trying to put the bat on the ball. I don't have much of a game plan.

"But you know, it was pretty hot out there today and to be on the bases twice running around like that, I had to really concentrate in that last inning. I was drinking as much Gatorade as I could."

Ryan Franklin, the fifth Cardinals pitcher, got three outs for his sixth save in eight attempts. Franklin made it exciting as he gave up a single and double with two outs before retiring Doug Mientkiewicz on a fly to left.

Skip Schumaker drove in a career-high three runs to help the Cardinals.

Ian Snell (2-5) lost his fifth consecutive decision and is 0-5 in his past nine starts. His last victory came April 12. Snell pitched to one batter in the fifth before being lifted. He allowed six runs and eight hits.

Looper got some defensive help from Rick Ankiel. The center fielder made a highlight-reel catch when he turned his back to home and drove headfirst at the warning track to catch a deep fly hit by Xavier Nady in the second.

"That play obviously was huge," Looper said. "I knew it was a great catch because the ball was scorched."

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa agreed.

"It was probably the best play of the year for us," La Russa said. "Ankiel set the tempo. Our defense had a huge day."

The Cardinals broke the game open in the second inning when they scored five runs off Snell.

"They got a five-run inning and they didn't get the ball past the outfield," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "You take away that five-run inning and it's a totally different game."

With the bases loaded, Adam Kennedy singled up the middle to score Troy Glaus, who led off with a single. Looper followed with an RBI single.

"It was a slider and normally I can't hit sliders very well," Looper said. "It's one of those things."

Yadier Molina, who singled, scored on a fielder's choice. Schumaker ended the scoring with a two-run single to left field.

"They didn't hit the ball hard, they just got it through, Snell said. "I was frustrated but I didn't want to show it. I coldn't get an out."

St. Louis made it 6-1 in the fourth on an RBI double by Schumaker.

Pittsburgh scored in the second on an RBI single by Jose Bautista and in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Freddy Sanchez.

The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs on two singles and a walk to chase Looper in the sixth. Reliver Kyle McClelland hit Nate McLouth before ending the inning on a ground out by Luis Rivas. McLouth also was hit by Looper to lead off the game.

A one-out homer by Troy Glaus gave St. Louis a 7-3 lead in the seventh. Glaus also made a nifty backhanded grab of a hard-hit ball by Nady to end the seventh.

"You can't win without guys making plays," Looper said. "We have a good defensive club."

Pittsburgh scored its final run in the eighth on an RBI double by Bautista.

The game was delayed 13 minutes in the fifth when an electric advertising board malfunction located in the batter's eye in center wouldn't close.

Notes

  • Pittsburgh was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
  • La Russa was honored before the game. On Saturday, he will manage his 2,000th game as the St. Louis manager, passing Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst (1965-76, 1980, 1990) for the franchise's top spot. He was given a check for $20,000 for his Animal Rescue Foundation.
  • Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson was a late scratch. He has a sore left calf. "It was more of a precautionary today," Russell said about Wilson. "Hopefully, he'll be ready tomorrow."
 
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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Looper sure doesn't swing like a pitcher. His average is up to .429 -- best among big league hurlers.  (AP)
Looper sure doesn't swing like a pitcher. His average is up to .429 -- best among big league hurlers. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Bautista
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
St. Louis

S. Schumaker
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF2001101 .309
Luis Rivas, SS5010015 .239
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4001012 .242
Jason Bay, LF4110102 .291
Xavier Nady, RF5020001 .327
Doug Mientkiewicz, 1B4120103 .217
Jose Bautista, 3B4132001 .259
Raul Chavez, C4010004 .238
Ian Snell, P2110002 .136
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
   a- Adam LaRoche, PH0000100 .220
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Michaels, PH1000001 .245
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
Totals35411442  
a-walked for Marte in the 6th
b-lined out for Grabow in the 8th
Batting
2B - Luis Rivas (3, Looper), Xavier Nady (18, Franklin), Jose Bautista (10, Perez)
SF - Freddy Sanchez (4)
RBI - Nate McLouth (42), Freddy Sanchez (25), Jose Bautista 2 (21)
2-OUT RBI - Nate McLouth (22)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Rivas-F. Sanchez-Mientkiewicz
PB - Raul Chavez (1)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Ian Snell (L,2-5) 4866230 5.94
Damaso Marte 1000000 4.15
John Grabow 2211101 1.59
Sean Burnett 1100000 6.75
WP - Ian Snell (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Ian Snell 84-54, Damaso Marte 7-6, John Grabow 35-19, Sean Burnett 15-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ian Snell 5-3, Damaso Marte 1-2, John Grabow 4-2, Sean Burnett 2-1
Batters Faced - Ian Snell 21, Damaso Marte 3, John Grabow 9, Sean Burnett 4
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, LF-CF4023101 .293
Ryan Ludwick, RF-LF4000024 .314
Albert Pujols, 1B3000111 .363
Troy Glaus, 3B4231001 .269
Rick Ankiel, CF2100102 .265
    Kyle McClellan, P0000000 .000
   a- Brian Barton, PH1000000 .267
    Chris Perez, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Franklin, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C4110002 .290
Adam Kennedy, 2B4111000 .243
Braden Looper, P2221000 .429
    Joe Mather, RF2010000 .200
Cesar Izturis, SS4011001 .264
Totals34711733  
a-grounded out for McClellan in the 7th
Batting
2B - Skip Schumaker (12, Snell)
HR - Troy Glaus (4, Grabow)
RBI - Skip Schumaker 3 (18), Troy Glaus (34), Adam Kennedy (15), Braden Looper (3), Cesar Izturis (12)
2-OUT RBI - Skip Schumaker (6)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Glaus-Kennedy-Pujols, Kennedy-Izturis-Pujols
E - Ryan Ludwick (1, Misplayed grounder)
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (W,7-4) 5.2833310 5.03
Kyle McClellan (H,15) 1.1000000 2.15
Chris Perez 0.2111100 1.29
Randy Flores (H,9) 0.1000000 4.11
Ryan Franklin (S,6) 1200010 2.05
HBP - McLouth (by Braden Looper), McLouth (by Kyle McClellan)
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 92-54, Kyle McClellan 18-13, Chris Perez 16-9, Randy Flores 4-3, Ryan Franklin 17-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 7-7, Kyle McClellan 2-2, Chris Perez 1-1, Ryan Franklin 1-1
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 27, Kyle McClellan 5, Chris Perez 4, Randy Flores 1, Ryan Franklin 5
Game Information
Attendance - 43462
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Todd Tichenor, First Base - Ed Rapuano, Second Base - C.B. Bucknor, Third Base - Joe West