|St. Louis (17-13) «||2||1||0||0||1||0||3||0||x||7||9||0|
ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols had another frustrating day at the plate. His Cardinals teammates picked up the slack.
Daniel Descalso hit his first career home run, a go-ahead three-run shot in the seventh inning, to lead St. Louis to a 7-5 victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night.
|More on Marlins at Cardinals|
"I'm not a big home run guy," said Descalso, who had 27 homers in 1,596 career minor league at-bats. "I just go up there and try to put a line-drive swing on it, and every once in a while they jump out of the park. Tonight was one of those times."
Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer in the first and had two hits, dropping his National League-leading average one point to .409.
Pujols was 0-for-5 with his league-leading 10th double-play ball and stranded six runners his first three at-bats, dropping his average to .231. Pujols is mired in a 4-for-25 slump (.160) and hasn't had an extra base hit in nine games -- already the second time that's happened this season. The three-time NL MVP hadn't had a similar stretch since going 10 games without extra bases from July 18-28, 2009.
"As long as he doesn't get discouraged," manager Tony La Russa. "He'll be fine because he's smart and tough-minded. He won't allow himself to be less than his best."
Gaby Sanchez had four singles, matching his career best for hits, one of them off Fernando Salas (1-0) in the top of the seventh to put Florida ahead 5-4.
"We had a chance all the way," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We had a chance, they had a chance. Somebody had to win. Hensley hung that breaking ball, and Descalso took care of it."
Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez had a season-high six walks in 4 1/3 innings, but Florida kept it close by limiting St. Louis to one run in bases-loaded opportunities in the second and fifth innings.
"He made way too many pitches in the first three innings so his pitch count was way up there," Rodriguez said. "They don't swing at bad pitches. They make you throw strikes and your pitch count goes up."
Descalso is getting regular playing time with third baseman David Freese and second baseman Skip Schumaker each on the 15-day disabled list. He's batting just .237 but pulled an 0-1 pitch from Clay Hensley over the right field wall with one out in the seventh.
Rookie Eduardo Sanchez allowed a hit and a walk in the ninth before finishing for his second save in two chances. Ryan Webb (0-3) gave up a hit and walk in the seventh for Florida, his second inning.
Ramirez singled with one out in the seventh for his first hit of the series, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Sanchez followed with his fourth straight hit to put the Marlins ahead.
Anibal Sanchez left with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, his shortest outing of the season, but reliever Edward Mujica turned pinch-hitter Jon Jay's comebacker into a double play.
The Marlins scored twice without a hit off Kyle McClellan in the third, parlaying walks to John Buck and Emilio Bonafacio, a failed bunt defense play to load them on Sanchez' comebacker, a wild pitch and Chris Coghlan's run-scoring groundout.
Florida opened a two-run fourth with four straight singles. Buck had two RBI and Greg Dobbs one.
"It was just frustrating, a bunch of broken-bat hits and balls that weren't hit real hard," McClellan said. "You break a bunch of bats, you like your chances."
Holliday's fourth homer put the Cardinals up 2-0 after one inning for the second straight game, but they missed a shot to break it open in the third with the bases loaded when Pujols grounded into a forceout at the plate and Holliday fouled out to first.
Marlins OF Logan Morrison, on the DL with a foot injury, may be close to a rehab assignment. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said Morrison is scheduled to take batting practice and perhaps shag some fly balls Wednesday. ... Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said SS Ryan Theriot, who led the majors with eight errors but was batting .306, has been a "significant plus" overall. ... The Cardinals have grounded into a major league-high 41 double plays. ... McClellan allowed four runs in five innings, his shortest outing in his first year in the rotation.
|Players of the Game|
|Chris Coghlan, CF||4||0||0||1||0||1||4||.271|
|Omar Infante, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||0||2||.217|
|Hanley Ramirez, SS||4||1||1||0||1||0||1||.194|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||5||1||4||1||0||0||2||.318|
|Mike Stanton, RF||5||1||1||0||0||2||5||.256|
|Greg Dobbs, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||.340|
|Clay Hensley, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|John Buck, C||3||1||1||1||1||0||0||.223|
|Emilio Bonifacio, LF||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.329|
|Anibal Sanchez, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.000|
|Edward Mujica, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Scott Cousins, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.138|
|Ryan Webb, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Wes Helms, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|a-walked for Mujica in the 6th|
|RBI - Chris Coghlan (17), Gaby Sanchez (15), Greg Dobbs (10), John Buck (15)|
|SB - Hanley Ramirez (4, 3rd base off Salas/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Mujica-Buck-G. Sanchez, Infante-H. Ramirez-G. Sanchez|
|E - Hanley Ramirez (6, Misplayed grounder)|
|Ryan Webb (L,0-3)||1.2||2||2||2||1||2||0||3.60|
|Clay Hensley (BS,2)||1.1||1||1||1||1||0||1||2.84|
|Pitches-Strikes - Anibal Sanchez 102-60, Edward Mujica 5-4, Ryan Webb 32-18, Clay Hensley 17-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Anibal Sanchez 6-6, Edward Mujica 1-0, Ryan Webb 2-0, Clay Hensley 2-2|
|Batters Faced - Anibal Sanchez 26, Edward Mujica 1, Ryan Webb 7, Clay Hensley 6|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Ryan Theriot, SS||4||0||0||0||1||1||0||.306|
|Allen Craig, 3B||1||1||1||1||2||0||0||.324|
|Nick Punto, 2B||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||.250|
|Albert Pujols, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||0||8||.231|
|Matt Holliday, LF||5||2||2||2||0||1||4||.409|
|Lance Berkman, RF||1||0||0||0||3||0||0||.402|
|Tyler Greene, RF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.219|
|Colby Rasmus, CF||4||1||2||1||0||2||1||.302|
|Yadier Molina, C||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.291|
|Daniel Descalso, 2B-3B||3||2||2||3||1||0||0||.237|
|Kyle McClellan, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.286|
|a- Jon Jay, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.212|
|Fernando Salas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Mark Hamilton, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.286|
|Jason Motte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Eduardo Sanchez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded into a double play for McClellan in the 5th|
|b-grounded out for Salas in the 7th|
|2B - Allen Craig (2, Sanchez)|
|HR - Matt Holliday (4, Sanchez), Daniel Descalso (1, Hensley)|
|RBI - Allen Craig (8), Matt Holliday 2 (20), Colby Rasmus (11), Daniel Descalso 3 (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Matt Holliday 2 (11), Daniel Descalso 3 (6)|
|SB - Ryan Theriot (4, 2nd base off Sanchez/Buck)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Pujols-Theriot-McClellan|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fernando Salas (W,1-0)||2||3||1||1||1||1||0||1.46|
|Jason Motte (H,5)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.32|
|Eduardo Sanchez (S,2)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||1.64|
|HBP - Coghlan (by Eduardo Sanchez)|
|WP - Kyle McClellan (2), Fernando Salas (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Kyle McClellan 74-42, Fernando Salas 43-25, Jason Motte 16-11, Eduardo Sanchez 16-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle McClellan 9-4, Fernando Salas 3-2, Jason Motte 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Kyle McClellan 23, Fernando Salas 10, Jason Motte 3, Eduardo Sanchez 5|
|Attendance - 32689|
|Game Time - 3:13|
|Temperature - 59|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Layne, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Third Base - Victor Carapazza|