Cardinals 8, Pirates 5

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Jim Edmonds took it upon himself to get the St. Louis Cardinals’ offense going again.

Edmonds hit a pair of two-run homers and matched a career high with five RBIs on Friday night, leading the Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-5.

“I just got lucky, just hit the ball on the barrel,” Edmonds said. “It’s nice to get a win. We’ve been flat and needed to pick up the momentum.”

Edmonds hit a two-run homer in the first inning and added another two-run shot in the third off Ryan Vogelsong (4-11) as St. Louis beat the Pirates for the fifth consecutive time.

The victory came after the Cardinals lost two of three to the Reds— including a 1-0 defeat Thursday—their first loss in nine series.

“I don’t care what the record is in the standings. We have something going, and we have to work hard to keep the edge on our side,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It was a nice bounce-back win.”

Jeff Suppan (13-6) matched his career high for victories, allowing nine hits and five runs in 6 1-3 innings. Suppan, who has won 10 of his last 12 decisions, struck out two and walked one.

Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth inning for his 37th save in 43 chances.

“It was a tough night, a battle for me,” Suppan said. “I was up in the zone a lot, and they put some good at-bats together. Fortunately, we did a good job with the bats, played well defensively and the bullpen did a nice job.”

Edmonds followed Scott Rolen’s double in the third with his 35th homer of the season. He added a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning for the fifth five-RBI game of his career to give St. Louis a 7-2 lead. Edmonds also walked and scored on pinch-hitter So Taguchi’s single in the eighth.

“He was one of the guys we had red-flagged to not let him beat us,” Pirates’ manager Lloyd McClendon said. “But they have so many quality bats in the lineup that you have to make quality pitches and keep the ball down in the zone. If you don’t, they’re going to take advantage of it.”

Suppan, who snapped an 0-for-48 streak at the plate with two singles, was knocked out of the game in the seventh. Jason Kendall, who went 3-for-3 and scored three times, doubled and scored on Jack Wilson’s single to make it 7-5.

Craig Wilson homered—his 25th—in the fifth inning as the Pirates scored twice to make it 7-4. Kendall was hit by a pitch leading off and later scored when Daryle Ward grounded into a double play.

“There’s always a chance we can make up that gap, and we kept trying to chip away,” Craig Wilson said. “It just didn’t work out tonight.”

Vogelsong allowed eight hits and six runs in four innings, striking out one while losing for the fourth time in five starts.

St. Louis took a 4-2 lead in the second inning when John Mabry singled, moved to third on Suppan’s single and scored on Tony Womack’s single to right. Womack extended his hitting streak to a season-high 13 games.

Suppan retired only one of the first five batters he faced as the Pirates pulled to 3-2. Kendall singled, moved to third on Jack Wilson’s double down the third-base line and scored on Ward’s groundout. Rob Mackowiak’s single to center scored Wilson.

Vogelsong, who has allowed 30 first-inning runs in 20 starts this season, again ran into early trouble.

With one out, Larry Walker tripled to center when his low liner bounced in front of a diving Tike Redman. Albert Pujols was hit by a pitch, and Walker scored when Rolen lined a pitch off Vogelsong’s glove and was thrown out at first by second baseman Bobby Hill. Edmonds followed with a homer to right field.

“I pitched this game in my mind a hundred times between Sunday and today, and I didn’t do anything that I thought about,” Vogelsong said. “I didn’t get ahead, didn’t throw strikes, didn’t keep the ball down.”

Notes

Mackowiak has hit safely in each of his last seven starts … St. Louis has homered in 15 of its last 16 games … The Cardinals have the best road record in the majors at 42-21 … Pittsburgh has homered in eight consecutive games, matching its season high … Jack Wilson had three hits.

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