Thursday, August 07, 2008
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Ludwick homers again, Cards beat Dodgers

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[August 07, 2008]  ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ryan Ludwick tied a franchise record with a homer in his fifth straight game, Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6 on Wednesday night.

Pujols' sixth career grand slam and Ludwick's drive during a five-run fourth chased Derek Lowe, who gave up eight runs and 13 hits in only 3 1-3 innings. Pujols finished 4-for-4 with a walk, and Ludwick was 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

RestaurantManny Ramirez hit his 513th homer run in the second inning to break a tie with Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 20th place on the career list. Ramirez added an RBI single in the third to give the Dodgers an early 3-1 lead, and is batting .600 (12-for-20) with three homers and six RBIs in five games since joining the Dodgers.

Fans booed him before every at-bat, and rode him when he took his time getting back into the box after running out a foul grounder in the sixth.

Joel Pineiro (4-5) needed only 78 pitches to get through seven innings for his first victory in five starts and only his second in 15 appearances since April 29. Pineiro's strong effort bailed out a beleaguered bullpen that blew its major league-leading 27th save on Tuesday.


Ludwick, in his first year as a full-time starter at age 30, is the fifth Cardinals player to homer in five straight games and the first since Pujols from Aug. 17-22, 2007. He has totaled six homers during the streak, including a game-winning two-run shot in the 11th inning off Jason Johnson on Tuesday, and is batting .486 (18-for-37) during a nine-game hitting streak.

The runs allowed were one shy of Lowe's career-worst and the hits matched his career-worst, done twice previously. He also threw a pair of wild pitches -- both times with Ludwick at the plate -- after allowing only two earned runs in 14 1-3 innings his previous two outings.

Lowe (8-10) pitched the clinching Game 4 in the 2004 World Series for the Red Sox with seven shutout innings, but in the regular season he's 1-6 with a 6.69 ERA against the Cardinals and 0-3 with an 8.80 ERA in three starts at 3-year-old Busch Stadium.

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The Cardinals, who had lost six of seven at home entering the series, have won 10 of the last 11 over the Dodgers at home. Los Angeles is 1-7 at new Busch Stadium.

The Dodgers finished the game under protest after manager Joe Torre burned pinch hitter Mark Sweeney, replacing him with Jeff Kent, after believing the Cardinals had signaled for a pitching change during a two-run eighth. Torre and the Cardinals' Tony La Russa took turns discussing the situation with the umpires, delaying the game for several minutes.

La Russa did change pitchers after the game resumed, and rookie Chris Perez caught Kent on a called third strike and Angel Berroa on an infield pop-up to end the inning. Perez also worked the ninth for his first career save in two chances.

[Associated Press; By R.B. FALLSTROM]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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