Cardinals 4, Rockies 1

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—If nothing else, the St. Louis Cardinals have made the most of their few productive innings recently.

Pinch hitter Scott Spiezio and Adam Kennedy both drove in two runs in a four-run seventh inning, giving the Cardinals their best offensive output in 10 games in a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. They’ve scored in one inning each of the last four games, which hasn’t stopped them from winning three times.

“Looking at the numbers, it’s kind of unbelievable,” said David Eckstein, who was hit by a pitch and scored in the seventh. “It’s one of those things that you can’t explain.”

Brad Thompson worked five strong innings in his second major league start. He stepped in for the injured Chris Carpenter, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow earlier Tuesday. The team’s ace is expected to be out for at least three months after a procedure the Cardinals said presented no “unexpected findings.”

The Cardinals raised their record to 6-11 at home. They totaled 15 runs in the previous nine games, twice getting shut out.

In the last four games, they’ve been what manager Tony La Russa jokingly referred to as “one-inning wonders.” Given that they’ve been shut out twice in the last six games, they haven’t scored in multiple innings since May 1 when they scored single runs in the second and third of a 12-2 loss at Milwaukee.

St. Louis’ rally spoiled a dominant outing from the Rockies’ Taylor Buchholz, who allowed four hits in six scoreless innings while working on six days’ rest. Buchholz entered with an 8.04 ERA and gave up 10 runs in 8 1-3 innings in his previous two starts.

“There’s a lot of positives I’m going to be taking from this game,” Buchholz said. “It’s the first time in a long time I’ve been able to slow the game down.”

Matt Holliday was 3-for-4 with his sixth home run and two doubles for the Rockies. He’s 14-for-29 (.483) with five homers at new Busch Stadium, which opened last year, and leads the majors with 52 hits and eight three-hit games.

Kelvin Jimenez (1-0) allowed a walk in 1 1-3 innings, Ryan Franklin worked the eighth and Jason Isringhausen finished for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Jim Edmonds, who entered in an 0-for-20 slump, singled for his third hit with one out off Denny Bautista (2-1) to start the rally. Yadier Molina singled and David Eckstein was hit by a pitch to load the bases, chasing Bautista, and Spiezio lined the first pitch from Alberto Arias down the right-field line to put the Cardinals ahead 2-1.

“I don’t try to outthink them, I just try and look for what I want and if it’s there I swing and if it’s not, I don’t swing,” Spiezio said. “I really try to simplify it. I know I’m not that smart.”

Kennedy followed with a two-run single against a drawn-in infield for a three-run cushion.

“You can’t put guys on base in that situation, especially hitting guys right there,” the Rockies’ Todd Helton said. “It came back to haunt us, no doubt.”

Thompson allowed a run and six hits in five innings, the longest outing of his major league career. The only damage was Holliday’s homer in the third, and he’ll earn at least one more start after throwing a first-pitch strike to 15 of 20 hitters.

“I don’t know how you cannot give him the ball,” manager Tony La Russa said. “Absolutely, he gets it.”

Thompson worked around two hits and a walk in the second when left fielder Chris Duncan threw out Brad Hawpe at the plate trying to score on Omar Quintanilla’s single. Duncan also made the defensive play of the game, robbing Todd Helton of extra bases and an RBI in the sixth with a diving catch near the foul line in left.

“He dives for everything,” La Russa said. “He is absolutely fearless out there.”

Notes

Troy Tulowitzki was 0-for-4, ending a 10-game hitting streak in which he was 16-for-43 (.372) with two homers and nine RBIs. … The Rockies haven’t had an error in seven games, their longest stretch of the season. … The Cardinals had used seven different leadoff hitters in seven games before Adam Kennedy, who had a three-hit game in that slot on Sunday, got a second shot. Kennedy was 1-for-4 with an RBI. The regular leadoff man, David Eckstein, has been batting eighth to battle out of an early-season slump. … Spiezio is 2-for-7 as a pinch hitter with three RBIs.

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