ST. LOUIS (AP)—Dan Haren pitched like a future member of the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation, giving the bullpen some relief in the process. Then he left for Triple-A Memphis.
Haren threw 6 2-3 innings of three-hit ball, helping the Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader Friday. He retired 13 batters in a row before hitting Jason Bay in the sixth, then retired another three straight before Jose Castillo hit his sixth homer with two outs in the seventh.
“The only thing he lacks is experience,” manager Tony La Russa said of the 23-year-old Haren, a second-round draft pick in 2001. “He’s just a baby. He’s learning, and he’s getting better and better.”
Isringhausen struck out Jason Kendall for the second out with the potential tying run on first. Jack Wilson followed with a comebacker that hit off Isringhausen, and rolled toward first base. The Cardinals closer chased the ball down and flipped it to first for the final out and his 34th save, matching his career high.
“We made a little run,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We had some good things going. Lady luck was on their side.”
The Cardinals optioned Haren (2-2), who is 9-4 at Triple-A Memphis, back to the minors after the game and purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Al Reyes for bullpen depth. St. Louis is in the midst of playing 14 games in 13 days.
“I know the situation, I’m not stupid,” Haren said. “I knew we needed extra protection in the bullpen. I think I did my job.”
Larry Walker and Scott Rolen, who both struggled in a 3-2 10-inning loss on Thursday, played prominent roles as the Cardinals recovered from losing consecutive games for the first time since July 23-24. Walker, who was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and two double play balls Thursday, singled in the first to help produce a run, and doubled and scored on Rolen’s single in the third.
Rolen had his first two-error game in more than three seasons Thursday, bobbling a grounder to allow the go-ahead run to score. He also had a nice fielding play to rob Kendall in the second on Friday.
“Scott, he made a statement right away,” La Russa said. “Those guys are stars, and that’s what stars do.”
The NL Central leaders have won 12 of 16 and ended a four-game losing streak against the Pirates.
The Cardinals nicked Josh Fogg (7-9) for single runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth.
“Their guy threw a great game,” Fogg said. “I wasn’t able to go out there and match him, so I got the short end of the stick.”
Fogg, who gave up eight hits in six innings, is 1-6 with a 9.59 ERA for his career against the Cardinals. He is 0-3 this year, giving up 18 earned runs in 16 innings.
After the game the Pirates purchased the contract of RHP Nelson Figueroa from Triple-A Nashville to start the second game of the doubleheader, and they optioned Snell back to Double-A Altoona. … The Pirates outrighted RHP Willis Roberts to Nashville after he cleared waivers. … CF Tike Redman robbed Edmonds of a homer with a leaping catch in the seventh. … Despite the loss, the Pirates remain one of the hottest teams in the majors with nine victories in 13 games. … There were more than 15,000 no-shows for the game, which began in steady rain. … Reliever Julian Tavarez was ejected after umpires conducted a lengthy inspection of his dirty, smudged cap before the eighth. Tavarez flipped his hat to a fan in the stands behind the dugout on his way off the field. It’s the third time this season that Tavarez’ cap has come under scrutiny, with the Braves and Phillies also complaining, but it was the first time he was ejected.