Cardinals 6, Pirates 4

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—On an unusual night that saw their six pitchers give up 17 hits in a winning effort, the St. Louis Cardinals’ best arm belonged to Jim Edmonds.

Albert Pujols and Bo Hart homered in the first inning and the Cardinals, relying again on solo homers and Edmonds’ exceptional throwing, held on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-4 Monday.

Edmonds twice threw out runners at the plate, including Abraham Nunez in the eighth with the potential go-ahead run on base. The Pirates had four consecutive singles in the eighth, yet didn’t score as relievers Pedro Borbon and Cal Eldred each retired a batter with the bases loaded.

“That’s why he’s got all that gold at home,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said, referring to Edmonds’ five Gold Gloves. “He’s the most accurate thrower (in the majors) … his ball is so true. He charges the ball good, he’s got that terrific carry on his throws and perfect rotation.”

The Cardinals won despite being outhit 17-10 as the Pirates stranded 13 runners. Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 13 opportunities and third in as many nights.

Miguel Cairo and Scott Rolen also homered for the Cardinals, who hit four solo homers in the first four innings off Kip Wells a night after hitting three solo shots in beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2.

Pujols, who won that game with a solo homer in the eighth off the often-unhittable John Smoltz, hit his second homer in as many at-bats in the first—two batters after Hart started the game with his fourth homer.

Pujols’ homer was his 32nd and his ninth in 21 career games at PNC Park. He extended his hitting streak to 25 games, the longest by a St. Louis hitter since Joe McEwing’s 25-game streak in 1999.

Cairo hit his third homer with one out in the second and Rolen hit his 23rd in the fourth, making it 4-0. After scoring seven consecutive runs via solo homers over two games, the Cardinals added a run in the sixth on Cairo’s RBI single and one more in the seventh on Kerry Robinson’s single to take a 6-1 lead.

Cardinals starter Dan Haren (3-3) was helped out repeatedly by his defense, giving up 10 hits but only run in 5 1-3 innings and earning his third victory in four decisions.

“I don’t know how many ways I can say it—I’m disappointed with what happened,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s a very disappointing night. When you get 17 hits and only score four runs, you can’t help but be disappointed.”

Case in point: Tike Redman doubled to start the Pirates’ first, only to be thrown out easily at the plate by Edmonds as he tried to score on Reggie Sanders’ mid-range fly ball.

“I wanted to get a double play there,” Haren said. “I just didn’t know it would be an 8-2 (center fielder-to-catcher) double play. His throws were huge plays.”

Edmonds also made an excellent catch of Jose Hernandez’s long fly to start the fourth.

“The type of plays he made are typical of what you see from a championship-type club,” Wells said. “They executed and made those type of plays and we didn’t. That’s why they’re in contention and we’re not.

That, and innings like the third. The Pirates got consecutive singles from Redman, Jason Kendall and Brian Giles, but again couldn’t score despite an apparent foulup by shortstop Cairo.

With the three runners holding on Sanders’ one-out flyout to right, Cairo cut off Robinson’s throw and appeared to have Kendall caught in a rundown between second and third. But Cairo chose instead to try to pick Redman off third—running by Kendall as he did so—only to have the runners get back safely.

Haren worked out of that jam by getting Randall Simon to bounce out harmlessly to second.

“We put the ball in play, we certainly gave ourselves a lot of chances, but what can we do?” Giles said. “It just didn’t happen.”

The Pirates stranded nine runners in the first six innings before scoring three times in the seventh on Giles’ triple off Steve Kline and Sanders’ two-run homer off Jason Simontacchi.

Wells (5-6) gave up four homers in a start for the second time in his career—the first came in 2000 with the White Sox—while giving up five earned runs in six innings. Wells had won three of his previous four decisions.


A moment of silence was held for Penguins player personnel director Herb Brooks, the former U.S. Olympic hockey coach who died Monday. … Kendall’s sacrifice bunt in the first was only the eighth of his career and his first since June 1, 2000. … St. Louis won its third straight and fourth infive games. … The Pirates lost their fifth in eight games.

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