Friday, May 15, 2009
Sports NewsMayfield's Mutterings: Springing into Mutterings

Rasmus, relievers lead Cards over Pirates 5-1

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[May 15, 2009]  PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Colby Rasmus' two-run homer in the second inning gave St. Louis' slumping offense a lift and the Cardinals avoided being swept by last-place Pittsburgh, getting a strong effort from their bullpen in a 5-1 victory on Thursday night.

InsuranceThe Cardinals had lost five consecutive games in Pittsburgh and were in jeopardy of being swept in a three-game series for the first time since Sept. 12-14, also in PNC Park. Depleted by injuries, St. Louis had lost four of five and seven of 10.

Cardinals starter Mitchell Boggs didn't pitch long enough to get the victory, but helped out an offense that was held to three runs in the first two games of the series by lining a double for his first major league hit and scoring on Shane Robinson's sacrifice fly in the fifth.

The inning before, Adam LaRoche tripled for the first of four consecutive hits to start the Pirates' fourth, but Boggs gave up only one run. Rookie catcher Robinzon Diaz was thrown out trying to move from first to third on Eric Hinske's single and Jack Wilson hit into a double play.

Boggs was lifted after the Pirates loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but Trever Miller (1-0) retired LaRoche on a popup and Diaz on a flyball. Miller, Kyle McClellan, Dennys Reyes, Chris Perez and Ryan Franklin combined to shut out the Pirates on three hits after Boggs was lifted.

Albert Pujols added a two-run single for St. Louis in the eighth.

Leadoff hitter Nyjer Morgan reached base four times and No. 2 hitter Freddy Sanchez had three of Pittsburgh's 12 hits, but the Pirates stranded 10 runners, hit into three double plays and ran themselves out of a possible big inning when Diaz was easily thrown out by right fielder Robinson.

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The Pirates lost their ninth in 11 games and 13th in 16 games despite outscoring the Cardinals 12-3 in the first two games of the series.

Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (1-2) gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings in his first career start against St. Louis. The Cardinals had 10 hits against four Pirates pitchers, only one fewer than they had in the first two games combined.

Notes: Rasmus' homer was his second and followed Yadier Molina's one-out single. ... Boggs threw 49 of his 83 pitches for strikes. He had only 42 strikes in 86 pitches during a start against Pittsburgh last week. ... St. Louis has homered in nine consecutive games. ... Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche wasn't in the lineup after starting 26 consecutive games. Hinske started at 3B for the first time this season. ... Karstens didn't have any walks for the second game in a row after walking 13 in his first four starts. ... Pirates Gold Glove CF Nate McLouth made an excellent sliding catch of Chris Duncan's sinking liner to end the third.

[Associated Press; By ALAN ROBINSON]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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