ST. LOUIS (AP)—New closer Shawn Chacon is quickly learning about late-inning pressure.
The last out Sunday was definitely the toughest one for Chacon, who worked a scoreless but eventful ninth inning in the Colorado Rockies’ 8-5 victory over St. Louis. The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs before Chacon retired Albert Pujols on a fly ball to the right-field wall.
“He had his arms up like he knew he got it,” Chacon said. “So then I turned back and I was like, ‘Please stay in the yard.”’
Last year, Chacon went 11-8 as a starter and made his first All-Star team before being derailed by elbow problems in the second half. He was converted to short relief in spring training, and has three saves in four chances thus far.
“I won’t say I’m comfortable yet, but I’m starting to understand what needs to be done,” Chacon said. “I’ve still got the training wheels on.”
Vinny Castilla hit his fourth homer and rookie Kit Pellow had a three-run double for the Rockies, who roughed up Woody Williams to end a three-game skid. Colorado pitchers gave up 32 runs in those three games. Pellow also caught Pujols’ drive to end the game, glancing off the wall as he made the play.
“That’s as good of an at-bat as you can have,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “When he hit it, that ball was out of the park, and I think the wind knocked it down.”
Jennings (1-1) allowed five runs, four earned, in six innings with four strikeouts and a walk. He even added an RBI single in the fifth.
Last year, Jennings stopped the Rockies’ franchise-record 10-game road losing streak at Busch Stadium on Sept. 9, and ended eight- and nine-game skids in 2002.
“Yeah, it’s happened for me before,” Jennings said. “I don’t like having to do that. I’d rather we win more games.”
Marlon Anderson had a two-run homer and an RBI single for the Cardinals, who are 3-7 at home.
Williams (0-1) allowed seven runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He’s struggled after pitching only five innings in spring training due to shoulder tendinitis and has a 7.98 ERA, losing in his first appearance against the Rockies since 2001.
“I stink. I am not carrying my weight here,” Williams said. “I’m getting sick of the way I’m pitching.
“Spring training or no spring training, the bottom line is I’ve got to go out there and make pitches.”
Colorado chased Williams in a four-run sixth that made it 7-3, with the big blow Pellow’s bases-loaded double off the wall in left-center. The three RBIs matched Pellow’s career best, also accomplished against the Cardinals last September.
Matt Holliday was 3-for-3 with an RBI for Colorado, his first three major league hits.
Castilla hit his fifth homer in 28 career at-bats against Williams, putting the Rockies ahead in the second.
The Cardinals answered with three runs in the bottom half, including an RBI double by Edgar Renteria and a run-scoring single by Anderson. The third run scored when Williams barely beat the throw to first after second baseman Aaron Miles bobbled his sharp grounder for an error.
Helton cut the gap to one run with his third homer of the season with one out in the fourth. The Rockies tied it in the fifth on an RBI single by Jennings.
Anderson’s third homer in the sixth trimmed the deficit to 7-5. The Rockiesadded a run in the ninth on Miles’ RBI single.
Rockies catchers had been 0-for-13 in trying to throw out basestealers before Charles Johnson got Pujols going for second in the third. … The Cardinals turned three double plays to help Williams and made a few outstanding plays. CF Jim Edmonds robbed Johnson of extra bases or perhaps a home run with a leaping catch at the wall in the fifth, and 3B Scott Rolen snared Castilla’sgrounder down the line and threw to second for a forceout in the sixth.