His career-high 100th RBI came on a third-inning groundout and gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. Montreal’s Hubie Brooks was the last NL shortstop to have at least 100, in 1985.
Renteria’s 100th came on a third-inning groundout and gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead. Montreal’s Hubie Brooks was the last NL shortstop to have at least 100, in 1985.
“They talk about all the shortstops in the other league,” Perez said. “What they miss is that this guy right here is outhitting all those shortstops in the other league. He’s driving in 100 runs, he’s getting on base and scoring and he’s playing great defense.”
Grace made what was expected to be his final major league start.
Grace, who announced his retirement Friday, got an ovation when he doubled into the right-field corner in the first, sending Steve Finley to third. Finley scored on Raul Mondesi’s sacrifice fly. Grace got another one when he singled and was lifted for pinch-runner Matt Kata in the sixth.
The move backfired when Kata was held at third on Alex Cintron’s single and then was forced at home in an inning-ending, 1-2-3 double play.
Grace shook off the early exit.
“They probably wanted some speed out there,” he said. “I told Kata I’d have scored on Alex’s hit.”
Sterling Hitchcock won for the first time in 11 starts against the Diamondbacks.
Hitchcock (5-1), acquired from the New York Yankees on Aug. 22, allowed one earned run on five hits—including a solo homer by Mondesi—and two wild pitches in 5 1-3 innings.
He struck out four to win his third straight.
“The bullpen behind me did an unbelievable job, and the offense has scored a lot of runs when I’ve been in there,” Hitchcock said. “The last few have been fortunate wins, but you don’t throw them back.”
Russ Springer, Steve Kline and Mike DeJean combined to hold the Diamondbacks scoreless into the ninth, and Jason Isringhausen finished for his 21st save in 24 chances, allowing two singles to put runners on first and third before retiring three in a row.
Pitching coach Dave Duncan handled the Cardinals again for manager Tony La Russa, who finished serving a two-game suspension for remarks made about the umpiring in a Sept. 20 game against Houston.
Watching from the suite level with general manager Walt Jocketty, La Russa won his 2,008th career game, tying Leo Durocher for seventh.
“It’s being in three great situations,” La Russa said. “Every place I’ve been has been perfect, and I’ve never taken it for granted and taken advantage of it.”
Mike Matheny also finished a two-game suspension, and Fernando Vina was absent from the Cardinals’ dugout on a one-game suspension for his tirade against plate umpire Matt Hollowell on Wednesday in Milwaukee.
St. Louis won for the eighth time in 11 games since dropping three straight at Houston to fall behind in the wild-card race.
Chris Capuano (2-4) worked 4 1-3 innings for the Diamondbacks, allowing three runs on four hits, three walks and a wild pitch.
He and relievers John Patterson and Oscar Villarreal held Albert Pujols hitless, damaging his chances of becoming the youngest player to win an NL batting title since the Dodgers’ Tommy Davis in 1962. Pujols was 0-for-3 with two walks, dropping his average to .358.
Villarreal struck out Pujols on a full count with the bases loaded to end the Cardinals ninth.
The Cardinals tied it in the second on a leadoff homer by Perez, snapping Capuano’s string of 11 scoreless innings that included a 2-0 win in seven innings against Los Angeles on Sept. 11.
Bo Hart hit an RBI single later in the inning.
St. Louis took a 3-1 lead in the third without a hit when Capuano walked Pujols, hit Perez and allowed both to advance with a wild pitch before Renteria’s grounder to shortstop Alex Cintron, who tagged Perez while Pujolsscored his NL-leading 135th run.
La Russa will be back in the dugout Sunday, and Duncan will finish the season serving a one-game suspension for his run-in with umpires on Sept. 20. … The double was Grace’s 511th, moving him ahead of Rickey Henderson forfourth among active players and Ed Delahanty for 34th all-time.