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St. Louis at Atlanta

St. Louis (59-49) «02421003012130
Atlanta (49-56)0000020103102

Pujols, Looper help Cards pound depleted Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- St. Louis manager Tony La Russa took no great pleasure in watching his team chase Atlanta Braves rookie Charlie Morton in the fourth inning.

"They had to go with an emergency starter, and that gave us an edge," La Russa said. "We got to him early. We have to enjoy the moment."

Albert Pujols drove in three runs, Braden Looper won for the first time in six starts and the Cardinals beat the injury-riddled Braves 12-3 Monday night.

Joe Mather went 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI for St. Louis, which had lost six of seven. Ryan Ludwick also drove in two runs.

The Braves, struggling to stay in contention in the NL East, lost their third straight game on the same day they placed Chipper Jones, who leads the majors with a .369 average, and Tim Hudson, their No. 1 starter, on the disabled list.

Morton (2-4), recalled from Triple-A Richmond because of Hudson's elbow injury, lasted only 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander gave up eight runs and seven hits, with his ERA climbing from 6.00 to 7.26.

"It's frustrating not to contribute and to do the exact opposite," Morton said. "That's the worst part of it. It kills me to know that I'm sitting here and I did what I just did. I know that every great pitcher has bad outings like this early in their careers, but it doesn't make it any better."

Looper (10-8) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings, winning for the first time since an 8-4 victory at Detroit on June 24. He entered with a 3-2 record and a 6.48 ERA in 25 games at Turner Field, and promptly held the Braves scoreless through the first 5 1/3 innings.

"Atlanta has always hit me well over the last few years, so it doesn't hurt me for them not to have Chipper and (Brian) McCann in the lineup," Looper said. "With those guys in there, it's definitely not the same. They're All-Stars."

McCann sustained a mild concussion in a collision at home plate at Philadelphia on Sunday and is expected to miss three or four games.

Mather hit a two-run drive in the second inning for his third career homer, and St. Louis added four more runs in the third. The rookie outfielder had the first three-hit game of his career.

"Their pitcher wasn't necessarily bad," Mather said. "A lot of guys were swinging well."

Because of a throwing error by shortstop Yunel Escobar, three runners scored on Yadier Molina's two-run double. Pujols had already crossed the plate when Escobar took the cutoff throw and tried to get Troy Glaus at home.

Escobar's throw sailed past rookie catcher Clint Sammons. Glaus scored easily, and Molina, a slow-running catcher, also made it to extend the lead to 6-0.

Escobar, Mark Teixeira and Mark Kotsay each drove in a run for Atlanta, whose pitching staff has allowed 34 runs over the last three games.

"It's a better pitching staff than that. What's left of it," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "(Jo-Jo) Reyes was not good yesterday. Morton was not good today. And you're not going to look good without starting pitching, simple as that. He missed his location way too many times and paid for it."


  • Braves LHP Tom Glavine, out since June 11 with elbow inflammation, plans to throw 30-40 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday.
  • Cardinals CF Rick Ankiel missed his second straight game with a sore abdomen. La Russa doesn't know how long Ankiel will be out of the lineup, so the team recalled Nick Stavinoha from Triple-A Memphis. The club optioned reliever Mitchell Boggs to its top farm club to make room on the roster.
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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Albert Pujols helps the Cards by driving in two of his three RBI with this double in the eighth.  (AP)
Albert Pujols helps the Cards by driving in two of his three RBI with this double in the eighth. (AP)

Players of the Game

Y. Escobar
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
St. Louis

J. Mather
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

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St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, CF4110102 .302
Aaron Miles, 2B5210001 .321
Albert Pujols, 1B2213200 .353
    Brendan Ryan, SS0000000 .238
Ryan Ludwick, RF5032021 .292
    Adam Kennedy, 1B0000000 .266
Troy Glaus, 3B5101012 .276
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
    Randy Flores, P0000000 .000
Yadier Molina, C5222000 .303
Joe Mather, LF-RF5232020 .250
Braden Looper, P3000012 .293
   a- Nick Stavinoha, PH-LF2000000 .222
Cesar Izturis, SS-3B4221111 .228
a-grounded out for Looper in the 8th
2B - Albert Pujols (23, Ring), Yadier Molina (15, Morton), Joe Mather (3, Morton), Cesar Izturis (8, Ring)
HR - Joe Mather (3, Morton)
SF - Albert Pujols (6)
RBI - Albert Pujols 3 (63), Ryan Ludwick 2 (72), Troy Glaus (70), Yadier Molina 2 (38), Joe Mather 2 (7), Cesar Izturis (14)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols 2 (22), Ryan Ludwick 2 (30), Yadier Molina 2 (24), Cesar Izturis (4)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Izturis-Miles-Pujols, Glaus-Miles-Pujols, Ryan-Miles-Kennedy
St. Louis Cardinals
Braden Looper (W,10-8) 7722040 4.38
Ron Villone 0.2211220 5.26
Russ Springer 0.1000000 1.87
Randy Flores 1100000 4.56
Pitches-Strikes - Braden Looper 106-67, Ron Villone 29-14, Russ Springer 1-1, Randy Flores 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Braden Looper 9-6, Randy Flores 2-0
Batters Faced - Braden Looper 26, Ron Villone 6, Russ Springer 1, Randy Flores 3
Atlanta Braves
Gregor Blanco, LF-CF4100021 .262
Yunel Escobar, SS4221000 .284
Mark Teixeira, 1B4021011 .283
Mark Kotsay, CF3011001 .290
    Buddy Carlyle, P0000000 .200
    Royce Ring, P0000000 .000
   a- Martin Prado, PH0000100 .268
    Julian Tavarez, P0000000 .000
Kelly Johnson, 2B3000101 .264
Omar Infante, 3B4020003 .293
Jeff Francoeur, RF4010012 .232
Clint Sammons, C4010003 .250
Charlie Morton, P1000010 .000
    Jeff Bennett, P0000000 .143
   b- Ruben Gotay, PH1010000 .213
    Greg Norton, LF2000011 .241
a-walked for Ring in the 8th
b-singled for J. Bennett in the 6th
2B - Yunel Escobar (15, Looper), Mark Teixeira 2 (27, Looper, Villone)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (39), Mark Teixeira (78), Mark Kotsay (28)
2-OUT RBI - Mark Teixeira (33), Mark Kotsay (11)
Team LOB - 6
E - Yunel Escobar (9, Throwing), Omar Infante (7, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Charlie Morton (L,2-4) 3.2788411 7.26
Jeff Bennett 2.1211020 4.26
Buddy Carlyle 1000020 4.28
Royce Ring 1433000 7.71
Julian Tavarez 1000020 6.23
IBB - Pujols by Charlie Morton
WP - Jeff Bennett (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Charlie Morton 81-44, Jeff Bennett 28-18, Buddy Carlyle 12-10, Royce Ring 20-13, Julian Tavarez 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Charlie Morton 9-1, Jeff Bennett 3-2, Buddy Carlyle 1-0, Royce Ring 1-2, Julian Tavarez 1-1
Batters Faced - Charlie Morton 22, Jeff Bennett 9, Buddy Carlyle 3, Royce Ring 7, Julian Tavarez 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28705
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 92
Umpires - Home - Adrian Johnson, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jeff Nelson