Cards sharing the spot at top
Posted: Friday, July 1, 2011 6:27 pm
By: By DAVID GINSBURG, AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) — Lance Berkman homered twice, Jon Jay hit a three-run shot, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-6 on Thursday night to complete a three-game sweep and give the Redbirds a share of first place.
The Cardinals never trailed in the series and outscored Baltimore 20-9. In the finale, St. Louis built an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning and coasted to its fourth win in nine games since slugger Albert Pujols went on the disabled list with a fractured wrist.
With the win, St. Louis is now tied atop the National League Central division’s standings. Both teams are 44-38 on the campaign.
Berkman hit a two-run drive in the second inning and led off the seventh with a clout that traveled an estimated 444 feet onto Eutaw Street. It was his 29th career multihomer game, the fourth this season.
Berkman has homered from both sides of the plate twice this year and four times in his career. He did it twice for Houston in 2006.
Nolan Reimold homered and had four RBI and Mark Reynolds hit a two-run drive for the Orioles, who fell a season-worst eight games under .500 (35-43).
Baltimore’s Nick Markakis extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games and Derrek Lee got his 1,900th career hit, a single in the second inning. He’s the 315th player to accomplish the feat, according to the Orioles.
Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia (7-3) gave up five runs, 10 hits and a walk in 51⁄3 innings.
It was only the second time in 17 starts this season that the left-hander allowed more than three earned runs.
Fernando Salas worked the ninth to earn his 13th save and conclude the Cardinals’ first sweep on the road this season.
Orioles starter Brian Matusz (1-4) yielded a career-high eight runs and nine hits in 31⁄3 innings and lost his fourth straight start.
He has allowed seven homers in his last three outings and owns a ghastly 8.77 ERA.
The left-hander has started six games since coming off the disabled list and still hasn’t regained the velocity he displayed before the injury. His fastball reached 90 mph at least once in this outing, but most of the time it was in the 86-88 range.
For a third straight game, the Cardinals took the lead for good in the second inning. David Freese singled, took second on a walk to Yadier Molina and scored on a single by Tony Cruz. Skip Schumaker followed with a sacrifice fly.
St. Louis made it 4-0 in the third when Matt Holliday doubled and Berkman drove a 1-2 pitch into the seats in left.
Matusz left during the Cardinals’ four-run fourth. After Ryan Theriot hit an RBI single, Jay hit his sixth homer with two aboard to chase Matusz, who was booed by many in the crowd of 28,340.
Reimold hit a three-run homer in the bottom half and Reynolds ended Garcia’s night with a two-run drive in the sixth.
Berkman made it 9-5 with his 20th home run of the season, a no-doubt blast off Alfredo Simon.
Baltimore got a run against Mitchell Boggs in the eighth on a single by Reimold.
NOTES: Markakis owns the longest current hitting streak in the majors. ... The Cardinals last previous sweep of an AL East opponent on the road came at Tampa Bay in 2005. St. Louis closes interleague play with a three-game series at the Rays this weekend. ... Molina went 0-for-3 and is hitless in his last 34 at-bats. ... Baltimore designated hitters have only one home run in the last 27 games ... Theriot went 2-for-5, his team-high 26th multihit game. ... Garcia had only one perfect inning, but was backed by three double plays.