Surging Cards topple Cincy
Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 6:00 pm
By: By R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer
ST. LOUIS (AP) — An hour-long rain delay was just what Jaime Garcia needed to refocus.
The St. Louis Cardinals knocked out Bronson Arroyo in the fifth inning and their rookie left-hander overcame a shaky start in a 12-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, forging a first-place tie in the National League Central.
“I think in the first inning, sometimes it’s kind of like a shaky one for me because I’m learning,” Garcia said. “After the delay I was able to stay focused, stay in the game mentally and physically.”
Pujols extended his streak of reaching base to nine straight plate appearances with two intentional walks and a single his first three at-bats. He finally made an out in the fifth inning, hitting into a double play. Pujols added an RBI single in a five-run sixth, one day after hitting three homers at Chicago.
Matt Holliday’s two-run double in the fourth was the go-ahead hit. He’s 9-for-18 the last five games.
“You put together at-bats where even if you get behind you’re still able to put the ball on the barrel, you start to feel like you can handle most of the pitches, it’s a good feeling,” Holliday said. “When Albert’s hot, he’s the best player ever.”
Arroyo (5-3) had been 5-0 with a 2.66 earned run average in his previous six outings.
Jonny Gomes’ two-run single in the first ended a run of 19 scoreless innings at home to start the season by Garcia, a 23-year-old left-hander who began the year as the lone rookie in the rotation but now is one of three due to injuries. Garcia (5-2) benefited from an offense that mustered only six runs in his previous four starts. The Cardinals had a season-high for runs and hits (16) while improving to 16-8 at home.
“Well, let me see, we’ve got Johnny Cueto tomorrow (today) and he’s really good, so I’d be a fool to say that we’re really hot because good pitching shuts you down,” manager Tony La Russa said. “I’ll tell you, Cincinnati is a legitimate club.”
Arroyo coughed up a 3-1 lead and failed to last six innings for only the second time. He threw a complete game to beat the Cardinals on May 16 in Cincinnati, but didn’t blame the delay after giving up season highs for walks (five) and hits (10).
“I felt good coming back,” Arroyo said. “It didn’t affect me. I didn’t have the greatest command the whole day.”
Arroyo retired the first two hitters in the fourth before walking Garcia, and the next four Cardinals reached base in a three-run rally for a 4-3 lead. Felipe Lopez’ two-run double in the fifth made it 7-3 and chased Arroyo.
Braves 9, Phillies 3
ATLANTA (AP) — Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus homered to back a strong start by Tommy Hanson and help the Atlanta Braves move into first place in the National League East with a 9-3 victory Monday over the slumping Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves, winners of six straight, are one-half game ahead of Philadelphia, which has dropped two straight and nine of 13.
Improving to 16-4 since May 10, the Braves have made up 71⁄2 games in the NL East since May 17, when they were in last place.
Philadelphia, which was shut out in five of its previous eight games, had just three hits off Hanson (5-3) before the right-hander left with two outs in the seventh.
Pirates 2, Cubs 1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Garrett Jones homered and the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a five-game losing streak.
The Pirates were coming off a 1-6 road trip and had lost nine of 11, only to beat the Cubs for the eighth time in nine meetings dating to the final week of last season.
Jones’ ninth homer of the season tied it at 1 in the sixth, and he doubled leading off the eighth against Cubs’ reliever Sean Marshall (5-2).
After Lastings Milledge grounded out and Ryan Doumit was intentionally walked, Crosby lined a 3-2 pitch by Marshall into center field to score Jones.
Evan Meek (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory and Octavio Dotel finished up for his 11th save in 13 opportunities.