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St. Louis (20-13)100000000150
Pittsburgh (13-19) «04003000x7110

Pirates slam Cardinals to end eight-game losing streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Albert Pujols' home run in the first inning struck halfway up the batter's backstop in center field, the kind of drive that can unnerve a pitcher. Instead, it almost seemed to calm down Zach Duke.

Duke responded to Pujols' homer by limiting St. Louis to three singles the rest of the way while pitching eight innings, and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended an eight-game losing streak by beating the Cardinals 7-1 on Tuesday night.

  Carpenter throws off mound

Adam LaRoche and Brandon Moss both broke out of slumps with homers for the Pirates.

"Man, it's so nice to get a win," Moss said.

Njyer Morgan's two-run triple finished off a four-run second inning that included Duke's run-scoring single and the Pirates -- back in last place in the NL Central -- won for the only second time in 14 games since April 26. They were 11-7 when the slide began but are now 13-19.

"We were desperate to get that streak over and start a winning streak," Duke said. "Who knows, maybe a 15-game or 20-game winning streak started tonight."

The Cardinals did almost nothing against Duke (4-3) following Pujols' 21st home run in 63 games at PNC Park, the most by an opposing player. Pujols' drive was his second off Duke in two games since Wednesday -- when the Cardinals beat the left-hander 4-2 -- and was his 13th this season.

Pujols is 15 for 33 against Duke, and the homer was his fourth consecutive hit off him in two games.

"That's what that guys does, he's paid to hit balls like that and he does a very good job of it," Duke said. "But it turned out differently after the first. ... My breaking pitches were working for me and I was able to keep them off balance."

Duke settled down to pitch seven shutout innings, striking out five and walking one. Duke has only one fewer victory in seven starts than he had while going 5-14 in 31 starts last season.

Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer (3-3) was roughed up by the Pirates for the second time in three starts, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He lost to them 7-4 on April 8, surrendering five runs and 12 hits in five innings.

Wellemeyer fell behind 4-1 while allowing five hits in the second, all singles except for Morgan's triple into the right-center gap. Cardinals right fielder Ryan Ludwick strained his right hamstring trying to make the catch and left the game.

"Luddy had the ball, but that last step is when he felt that yank," manager Tony La Russa said.

Ludwick didn't feel anything pop or tear, saying it was more like a cramp, but La Russa didn't sound optimistic he would be ready to play the next couple of days.

"I don't anticipate the news is going to be too good on it," La Russa said.

The Pirates made it 7-1 in the sixth on LaRoche's sixth homer, which followed a 1-for-30 slide. Two batters later, Moss hit his first of the season, a two-run shot that was his third consecutive hit off Wellemeyer. Moss began the game hitless in 15 at-bats.

Home plate umpire Randy Marsh warned both dugouts after Duke hit Yadier Molina with a pitch in the fourth and Wellemeyer threw behind Freddy Sanchez in the bottom of the inning. In their two previous series this season, Pirates pitchers hit four Cardinals batters.

A player from each side was hit by a pitch after that, Colby Rasmus by Duke in the sixth and the Pirates' Andy LaRoche by Brad Thompson in the seventh, but both pitchers were attempting to throw inside and neither was ejected.

Pirates closer Matt Capps pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, his first appearance since developing pain in his right elbow May 4. He loaded the bases by giving up a single and walking two, but had two strikeouts while retiring the next three batters.

Notes

  • Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter (strained rib cage muscle) threw off a mound for the first time since getting hurt April 14. He is expected to throw again Friday in St. Louis.
  • St. Louis starting pitchers have allowed 12 homers in 57 innings this month.
  • The Pirates had 11 hits after batting .212 during their losing streak.
 
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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Zach Duke greets Brandon Moss following Moss' two-run homer in the fifth inning.  (AP)
Zach Duke greets Brandon Moss following Moss' two-run homer in the fifth inning. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

Z. Duke
IP 8.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
Pittsburgh

B. Moss
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
St. Louis Cardinals
Skip Schumaker, 2B3000012 .298
   a- Brian Barden, PH-3B1000000 .291
Khalil Greene, SS4000010 .225
Albert Pujols, 1B4111000 .328
Ryan Ludwick, RF1010000 .274
    Colby Rasmus, CF2010000 .261
Yadier Molina, C2000001 .311
    Brad Thompson, P00000001.000
   b- Joe Thurston, PH0000100 .259
Chris Duncan, LF2000212 .283
Tyler Greene, 3B-2B4010014 .227
Todd Wellemeyer, P2000022 .143
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
    Trever Miller, P0000000 .000
   c- Jason LaRue, PH-C2000013 .368
Shane Robinson, CF-RF4010003 .222
Totals3115137  
a-grounded out for Schumaker in the 8th
b-walked for Thompson in the 9th
c-flied out for Miller in the 7th
Batting
HR - Albert Pujols (13, Duke)
RBI - Albert Pujols (34)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (5)
Team LOB - 8
St. Louis Cardinals
Todd Wellemeyer (L,3-3) 4.1977342 5.80
Blaine Boyer 0.2000010 8.31
Trever Miller 1100010 3.72
Brad Thompson 2100000 4.63
HBP - LaRoche (by Brad Thompson)
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Wellemeyer 93-57, Blaine Boyer 12-8, Trever Miller 16-11, Brad Thompson 29-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Wellemeyer 6-3, Blaine Boyer 1-0, Trever Miller 1-1, Brad Thompson 3-3
Batters Faced - Todd Wellemeyer 25, Blaine Boyer 2, Trever Miller 4, Brad Thompson 8
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nyjer Morgan, LF5122010 .305
Freddy Sanchez, 2B3010211 .317
Nate McLouth, CF4011102 .290
Adam LaRoche, 1B4111024 .224
Robinzon Diaz, C4120000 .400
Andy LaRoche, 3B3100012 .245
Brandon Moss, RF4232001 .200
Jack Wilson, SS4000004 .235
Zach Duke, P3111010 .188
   a- Craig Monroe, PH1000000 .222
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
Totals35711736  
a-popped out for Duke in the 8th
Batting
3B - Nyjer Morgan (3, Wellemeyer)
HR - Adam LaRoche (6, Wellemeyer), Brandon Moss (1, Wellemeyer)
RBI - Nyjer Morgan 2 (15), Nate McLouth (23), Adam LaRoche (15), Brandon Moss 2 (5), Zach Duke (2)
2-OUT RBI - Nyjer Morgan 2 (9), Nate McLouth (4), Zach Duke (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Duke-J. Wilson-LaRoche
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (W,4-3) 8411151 2.52
Matt Capps 1100220 6.75
HBP - Molina (by Zach Duke), Rasmus (by Zach Duke)
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 104-67, Matt Capps 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 12-6
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 30, Matt Capps 6
Game Information
Attendance - 11718
Game Time - 2:30
Temperature - 64
Umpires - Home - Randy Marsh, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Mike Estabrook