Webb, Drew lead Diamondbacks to win
Webb won his 22nd game while winding up a seven-inning, 121-pitch stint with a big strikeout of Pujols and Drew became only the third shortstop in major league history with 40 doubles, 10 triples and 20 homers in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night.
“It looked like he was about out of gas, but my best guy and their best guy and he ended up striking him out,” manager Bob Melvin said, recounting the Webb-Pujols confrontation with two men on and Arizona leading by a run. “With what was at stake, if he ends up giving a hit to him you can almost semi-live with it.”
Three weeks after hitting for the cycle against St. Louis right-hander Joe Pineiro, Drew came within a triple of another and drove in two runs. The others to reach the 40-10-20 milestone are Robin Yount (1980 and ’82) and Nomar Garciaparra (1997).
“He does it in non-dramatic fashion, just goes out there and does his thing,” Melvin said. “He probably won’t get too riled up about knowing what he accomplished tonight, but he’s in pretty fast company.”
The ever-steady Drew proved his manager right.
“I don’t look at stats until the end of the season,” he said. “It’s just a good feeling to get 20 but it’s also a good feeling to get the win. We’re coming down to the wire.”
Conor Jackson had two hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of eight and are two games behind the idle Dodgers with six games to go. Arizona has won three in a row on the road on the heels of a franchise-record 10-game road losing streak.
“It feels good,” Webb said. “We’re still going to take it day by day, but we’re playing with some confidence.”
Felipe Lopez and Cesar Izturis had three hits apiece for the Cardinals, who have lost 10 of 12 and are only four games above .500 for the first time since they were 24-20 on May 16. St. Louis’ magic number is one to be eliminated from postseason contention.
“It’s tough, nobody likes to lose,” Aaron Miles said. “It seems like we can’t get any of the breaks to go our way.”
Webb (22-7) tied the Indians’ Cliff Lee for the major league victory lead. Webb has won three straight starts, allowing only four earned runs in 22 innings. He allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings, one of them scoring on his first balk of the season. The Cardinals had only three hits in 18 at-bats with a runner on.
“We came so close so many times,” manager Tony La Russa said. “A lot of frustration in that game.”
Drew is 10-for-18 against the Cardinals with two homers and three RBIs, including a fourth-inning RBI double that put the Diamondbacks ahead 2-1 and his 20th homer in the sixth for a 3-1 lead. Drew also singled to open the game, advanced on a wild pickoff throw by Todd Wellemeyer (12-9) and easily scored on Jackson’s one-out double.
The Cardinals tied it in the bottom of the first, benefiting when Pujols got new life on an apparent swinging third strike that was ruled a foul tip. Pujols was on first when Webb flubbed a third-to-first pickoff move.
But Webb bested the Cardinals’ MVP candidate in the seventh, striking out Pujols on a 2-2 changeup to end the inning with runners on first and third. St. Louis narrowed the gap to 3-2 on Skip Schumaker’s run-scoring groundout earlier in the seventh and missed a chance to tie it when Izturis was held up at third with a good shot to score on Lopez’ single.
“He’s obviously one of the best hitters in the league,” Webb said of Pujols. “I went with what I thought was the best pitch at the time, it kind of stayed up and he swung over it. That was big.”
The Diamondbacks restored the two-run lead in the eighth on pinch hitter Chad Tracy’s RBI double off Russ Springer. Brandon Lyon escaped unscathed after the Cardinals had two on and none out in the eighth and Chad Qualls finished for his seventh save in 15 chances.
Wellemeyer lost his third straight start, allowing three runs on nine hits in six innings. He’s 1-5 in his last six decisions despite a 3.32 ERA in that span.
“I felt pretty good and had some good stuff working,” Wellemeyer said. “That’s an aggressive team and stuff didn’t go our way.”
The Cardinals just missed turning an inning-ending double play on Webb’s one-out grounder to second against a drawn-in infield in the fourth, a call at first that La Russa argued was an out, one at-bat before Drew’s RBI double. The Cardinals’ relay from right fielder Ryan Ludwick to Lopez at second to the plate caught Webb trying to score for the final out of the inning.
Cardinals C Yadier Molina has had only two at-bats in 11 games since bruising his right thigh in a home-plate collision with Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly on Sept. 10, although La Russa expects him to play sometime in the final week. … Adam Dunn walked twice and has a major league-high 117 walks. … Drew is batting .395 (17-for-43) in his last 10 games overall.