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Cards beat erratic Lee, Phils in La Russa's return

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. LOUIS -- Albert Pujols volunteered to play third base last week and got turned down.

In Tony La Russa's first game back, the manager told Pujols yes.

The St. Louis Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak in La Russa's return from illness, capitalizing on Cliff Lee's career-high six walks and succeeding with the manager's novel lineup ploy behind Jake Westbrook in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night.

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"He said, 'Are you sure?"' Pujols remembered La Russa saying. "If I don't think I can play third, you know what, I would never bring that up. It would be stupid for me to go out and embarrass myself."

Westbrook (3-3) allowed a run in a season-high seven innings to outpitch Lee (2-4), who's winless in six starts since throwing a three-hit shutout at Washington on April 14 and departed after 122 pitches in 6 1/3 innings. Ryan Theriot, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman walked twice apiece off Lee, helping the Cardinals rebound after getting swept at Cincinnati.

"It was a special night," La Russa said. "A lot to feel good abut in this game."

The Phillies totaled four hits and had only three runners in scoring position against Westbrook (3-3), who went only 2 1/3 innings in his last start but got his sinker back on track.

"Incredible. I mean, he was spot on," Berkman said. "We absolutely needed a game like that."

Fernando Salas worked the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

Jimmy Rollins had two of the Phillies' five hits. The Phillies (25-15) have the best record in the NL, but injuries are mounting and they've scored six runs in a three-game losing streak.

"We couldn't get nothing going," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's what we usually do when we're banged up. That's what we've got to do."

The Phillies fielded a lineup lacking punch, minus Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco. Plus, Lee complained that he got squeezed by home plate umpire Gerry Davis.

"I felt like I threw a lot of strikes that were called balls, but whatever it is, it is," Lee said. "I'm the pitcher, he's the umpire. Its his job to calls balls and strikes and he felt like they were balls, I guess.

"It is what it is."

The 66-year-old La Russa was back on the job after missing a six-game trip while getting treated for shingles, during which St. Louis went 2-4. His first lineup card, revised a couple of hours before game-time for better defense against a team that has four left-handed hitters, featured Pujols at third base for the first time since Sept. 23, 2002.

Four players changed positions and Pujols said the biggest change was Allen Craig moving from second base, where he has very little experience, to right field.

Pujols started 89 games at third base in 2001-02, his first two seasons, but this was his first start other than first base or designated hitter since 2004. He bobbled a potential double play ball in the second and the Phillies ended up scoring on Ben Francisco's RBI single, but otherwise looked comfortable and started a double play on John Mayberry's grounder in the sixth.

"You catch the ball, try and make the routine play and don't try to be too cute," Pujols said. "Hopefully it doesn't happen too many times but whenever he needs me I'll be ready."

Lee entered averaging 1.2 walks per nine innings, best in the National League, and walked no more than two in any of his previous eight starts this year. He wasn't hit hard, allowing six singles that were well-placed, and the Cardinals left the bases loaded in the first and fourth.

Holliday and Berkman drew full-count walks to start the fourth and both scored on singles by Nick Punto and Theriot, the latter for a 2-1 lead. Jon Jay's RBI single chased Lee in the seventh.

Notes

  • Holliday misjudged Punto's single on a flare to right with the bases loaded in the fourth and narrowly beat a throw to the plate on a potential force.
  • Victorino missed his second straight game and Polanco didn't start due to a 4 for 22 slump, then struck out looking as a pinch hitter in the eighth and finished at 3B.
  • Ryan Howard walked his first three at-bats.
  • Theriot was 2 for 2 with two walks against Lee. He entered 2 for 11 against the lefty.
 
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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Nick Punto is safe at home as Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is unable to control the ball.  (AP)
Nick Punto is safe at home as Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is unable to control the ball. (AP)

Players of the Game
St. Louis

J. Westbrook
IP 7.0
H 4
ER 1
BB 3
K 1
Philadelphia

J. Rollins
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

Related Video

Philadelphia Phillies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jimmy Rollins, SS4020011 .276
Wilson Valdez, 3B3000003 .231
   a- Placido Polanco, PH-3B1000010 .338
Raul Ibanez, LF4000010 .223
Ryan Howard, 1B1000300 .258
John Mayberry Jr., CF4100003 .271
Ben Francisco, RF3011001 .225
Pete Orr, 2B3000001 .246
Carlos Ruiz, C3000000 .211
Cliff Lee, P2010000 .125
    Michael Stutes, P0000000 .000
   b- Ross Gload, PH1010000 .321
    J.C. Romero, P0000000 .000
Totals2915133  
a-struck out for Valdez in the 8th
b-singled for Stutes in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jimmy Rollins (8, Westbrook)
RBI - Ben Francisco (19)
SB - John Mayberry Jr. (3, 2nd base off Westbrook/Molina)
PK - Pete Orr (1, Westbrook)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Rollins-Orr-Howard, Rollins-Orr-Howard
Philadelphia Phillies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Cliff Lee (L,2-4) 6.1633640 3.84
Michael Stutes 0.2000000 3.38
J.C. Romero 1100000 3.60
HBP - Berkman (by J.C. Romero)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 117-70, Michael Stutes 5-2, J.C. Romero 20-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 8-5, Michael Stutes 1-0, J.C. Romero 1-2
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 29, Michael Stutes 1, J.C. Romero 5
St. Louis Cardinals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ryan Theriot, SS2021200 .295
Jon Jay, CF3011001 .300
Albert Pujols, 3B-1B4000002 .259
Matt Holliday, LF2100200 .373
Lance Berkman, 1B1100200 .344
    Fernando Salas, P0000000 .000
Allen Craig, RF4000016 .265
Yadier Molina, C4020010 .296
Nick Punto, 2B4121002 .266
Jake Westbrook, P2000023 .125
   a- Kyle Lohse, PH0000000 .136
    Eduardo Sanchez, P0000000 .000
    Daniel Descalso, 3B0000000 .222
Totals2637364  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Westbrook in the 7th
Batting
SH - Jon Jay (1), Kyle Lohse (3)
RBI - Ryan Theriot (14), Jon Jay (9), Nick Punto (11)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Theriot (9)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Pujols-Punto-Berkman, Punto-Theriot-Berkman
St. Louis Cardinals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jake Westbrook (W,3-3) 7411310 6.07
Eduardo Sanchez (H,5) 1100010 2.81
Fernando Salas (S,4) 1000010 1.08
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 109-64, Eduardo Sanchez 8-7, Fernando Salas 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 12-6, Eduardo Sanchez 1-0
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 26, Eduardo Sanchez 3, Fernando Salas 3
Game Information
Attendance - 34884
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Gerry Davis, First Base - Wally Bell, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Todd Tichenor