Cardinals 2, Marlins 1, 10 innings
MIAMI (AP)—The St. Louis Cardinals had just two hits, lost their starting pitcher to a stiff back and won anyway.
Albert Pujols ended Josh Beckett’s no-hit bid with a home run in the sixth inning Tuesday night, and Jim Edmonds homered on the first pitch in the 10th inning to help St. Louis beat the Florida Marlins, 2-1.
“We’ve won some unusual games this year, and I’d put this one right up there with them,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Truth is stranger than fiction. You couldn’t write that. They wouldn’t believe it.”
With their sixth win in a row, the NL Central leaders improved to 19-5 since the All-Star break. They’re 37-17 on the road, best in the major leagues.
The Marlins had seven hits but were shut out after Alex Gonzalez doubled home a run in the second. The defending World Series champions have struggled offensively much of the season, and they’ve scored two runs in the past 24 innings.
“It’s the same old thing,” manager Jack McKeon said. “I don’t have the answer. It’s been that way all year. We’ve got good hitters. We’re just not connecting at the right time.”
Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter pitched just 2 1-3 innings—his shortest outing this season—before departing because of tightness in his lower back. Four relievers allowed just two hits, and the bullpen retired the last 13 Florida batters.
“Everybody talks about our offense, but our pitching staff has been carrying us all year,” Edmonds said.
Guillermo Mota (8-5) gave up Edmonds’ 31st home run, which traveled an estimated 421 feet and cleared the center-field wall.
“This game got our blood pumping a little bit,” Isringhausen said.
It left the struggling Marlins stewing. They fell one game below .500 and remained 5 1/2 games behind in the NL wild-card race.
“We can’t keep marching along through the season thinking what happened last year is going to happen,” Beckett said. “We definitely have to have some urgency around here if we want to make it back to the postseason.”
Beckett allowed no hits through 5 2-3 innings before Pujols hit his 32nd home run to make the score 1-all. The hit came on the 92nd pitch from Beckett, who left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth.
It was the longest outing since May 25 for Beckett, who has battled finger blisters and spent three stints on the disabled list this year. He walked three and struck out five.
“I didn’t pitch good enough for us to win,” he said.
But Beckett outlasted the often-injured Carpenter, who said he began battling back spasms in the second inning.
“It just got worse in the third,” he said. “I was trying to work it out, but enough was enough.”
Carpenter threw just 55 pitches and left trailing 1-0. He said he expects to make his next start as scheduled Sunday.
The only run off Carpenter scored in the second when Gonzalez pulled the 10th pitch to him for a two-out RBI double.
Isringhausen said he pulled a muscle in his left hip in the 10th but expects to be fine. … Edmonds, the Cardinals’ Gold Glove center fielder, casually fielded a two-out hit in the first by hustling Paul Lo Duca, who took advantage and kept running for a double. Lo Duca was ejected in the 10th by plate umpire Chris Guccione for arguing a called third strike. … St. Louis’ Scott Rolen fielded a grounder barehanded behind third base and threw out Miguel Cabrera. … How muggy was it? On an 86-degree evening, a pitch by the Cardinals’ Cal Eldred in the fifth inning slipped from his hand and rolled toward third base. Guccione ruled the pitch didn’t count.