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Cardinals lose, stay tied for first

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The St. Louis Cardinals are heading toward October with plenty at stake, while the Colorado Rockies are trying to avoid a last-place finish, playing mostly for pride.

But on Monday night, the Rockies beat the Cardinals 6-2, erupting for four runs in the eighth after the Cardinals had tied the game in the top of the inning.

The loss left the Cardinals tied for first in the National League Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who lost 2-0 at home to San Diego.

"We're aware, and we just need to win games," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We win games, we'll be where we're supposed to be."

Trevor Rosenthal opened the eighth with a walk and gave up a one-out single to Todd Helton, who played his first game at Coors Field since announcing two days earlier he was retiring after this season.

Wilin Rosario followed with a run-scoring single, and after Josh Rutledge grounded into a fielder's choice with Helton being thrown out at home, Charlie Blackmon, who had three hits and two RBIs, doubled home a run. Pinch-hitter Ryan Wheeler delivered a two-run single.

The Rockies received a somewhat unexpected lift from Collin McHugh, who started in place of Jorge De La Rosa. De La Rosa was bothered by a lingering bone bruise in his left thumb.

McHugh, who was told Friday he would start Monday, held the Cardinals to one run in five innings.

It was a far cry from McHugh's debut with the Rockies on July 27, when he yielded nine hits and six runs to Milwaukee in five innings at Coors Field and lost, 7-5. Although he had been recalled when the rosters were expanded at the start of the month, McHugh had not pitched since Aug. 30 for Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"Honestly, I'm not going to lie and say I didn't feel like I needed it, like I needed to get out there and have a little bit of success," McHugh said.

Lance Lynn worked 6 1/3 innings for the Cardinals and was charged with two runs but threw 65 of 97 pitches for strikes and threw first-pitch strikes to 18 of 25 batters.

"That's as good as we've seen him throw," Matheny said. "He had good late, heavy movement like he always does when he's going good, but he was locating it well. Did throw some secondary pitches but really controlled that game with a fastball."

Lynn, who last won on Aug. 4, avoided losing his sixth straight game when the Cardinals tied the game in the eighth against rookie Chad Bettis, who ended up with his first major league victory after the Rockies rallied in the eighth.

Colorado pushed across a run in the seventh to go ahead 2-1. One-out singles by Rosario and Rutledge finished Lynn and put runners on first and third. Left-hander Kevin Siegrist gave up a run-scoring single to Blackmon, who lined the ball over shortstop.

Bettis, perhaps auditioning for a late-inning bullpen role next season, hit the first batter he faced in the eighth. With two out and a runner on second, Bettis yielded a game-tying double to Matt Carpenter. It was his 51st double of the season, putting Carpenter two doubles behind Stan Musial, whose 53 doubles in 1953 are a club record for a left-handed hitter.

Troy Tulowitzki doubled home Colorado a run in the first after Corey Dickerson led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second.

"You put yourself in a tough spot in a tight game in this park when you give bases," Matheny said. "That usually comes back and gets you. It got us in the first, and it got us in the eighth."

NOTES: Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado left the game after the second, having re-aggravated the right thumb he jammed weeks ago... Rosario was lifted for a pinch runner in the eighth with a cramp in his right calf...Rockies RHP Rafael Betancourt will undergo Tommy John surgery Wednesday. Dr. James Andrews will perform the operation. Recovery time is typically 12-18 months, meaning Betancourt, 38, will miss the 2014 season. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez will be examined Thursday in Cleveland by a hand specialist. He expects to undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz relieved McHugh and pitched a scoreless sixth in his first appearance for the Rockies since July 22. He had been sidelined due to left biceps tendinitis. ... De La Rosa played catch before the game. He hopes to throw a bullpen session Tuesday and start Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. ... Cardinals assistant hitting coach Bengie Molina stayed in St. Louis to be with his mother, who is ill but improving. C Yadier Molina, Bengie's brother, was in the Cardinals' lineup.
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