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Nov 9, 2012 9:12pm
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ST. Andrew Luck Jersey . LOUIS —The bullpen has
been a major weakness for the St. Louis Cardinals. This time the relievers
slammed the door. Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte both got big outs Sunday to
protect a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had been trying to sweep
a series of at least three games in St. Louis for the first time since 1997. It
was a nice confidence boost for a unit that entered the game 7-14 with a 4.62
ERA and 13 blown saves in 29 chances. “Its been a rough couple days before
today, playing a team youre behind in the standings thats playing really well,”
Boggs said. “For us to get this last one, and for our bullpen to get some pretty
big outs in a tight game, it doesnt hurt. “We feel like weve got guys that can
do the job and well show up tomorrow and expect to do the same thing.”
Allen Craig homered for the second time in three days and All-Star Yadier Molina
also connected for the Cardinals, who prevailed in 98-degree heat. Molina has 13
homers, one shy of last years season total, and Craig has 11 in just 39 games.
Craig is batting .378 (24 for 74) with five homers and 16 RBIs for his career
against Pittsburgh. “That home run was huge,” manager Mike Matheny said of
Craigs two-run shot in the third. “Hes dangerous every time he goes up there.”
Motte got the last four outs for his 17th save in 21 chances, and third of the
season of more than one inning, to end the Pirates four-game winning streak.
Motte was the last in a flurry of moves by Matheny that left three players
seeing time at two positions, and said he felt no extra pressure to finish
things off. “Thats ridiculous, Im not out there going, Oh man, dont screw this
up or well get swept,” Motte said. “Those are negative thoughts, you go out
there with those and you end up getting yourself hurt.” Matt Holliday and rookie
Shane Robinson had an RBI apiece in a two-run fifth that gave the Cardinals the
5-4 lead. Robinson had been 4 for 32 with runners in scoring position before his
first career go-ahead hit. Michael McKenrys three-run homer had capped a
four-run fourth that put the Pirates ahead for the first time and also gave them
a homer in nine straight games. Theyve totalled 15 homers in their longest
streak since another nine-gamer in June 2008. McKenry couldnt come through in
the eighth when he fouled out to first against Boggs with two men on. “Theyve
used a lot of different bullpen guys the last few days, but their three best
guys got in there today and theyre as tough as anybody in the league,” McKenry
said. “Theyre a special group.” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle also was inventive
with substitutions, using two players at two spots. Pedro Alvarez had two hits
and a walk for the Pirates before coming out with apparent leg cramps after
singling to start the eighth. “Thats all it is,” Hurdle said. “It was tightening
up, so we didnt want to push him.” Jake Westbrook (7-6) beat the Pirates for the
first time in six career decisions, allowing four runs in six innings. Westbrook
has won three straight decisions. Motte got the bullpens biggest out when
Josh Harrison popped out to shallow centre with two on to end the eighth. The
Pirates also had a chance to tie it in the seventh, when Robinson dropped
Garrett Jones fly ball to centre for a two-base error with two outs. Given
another chance during the next at-bat, Robinson secured the ball on pinch-hitter
Casey McGehees routine fly ball against Boggs. The Pirates ended a 4-3 trip
including a four-game split in Philadelphia that left them 1 1/2 games behind
the NL Central-leading Reds and 1 1/2 games ahead of the third-place Cardinals.
“We are pleased,” Hurdle said. “We lost the first two games in Philly, we
battled back there, and we came in here and battled.” The Pirates gave No. 3
hitter and All-Star Andrew McCutchen a day off after the centre fielder left
Saturdays game with a strained left wrist from making a diving catch. Cardinals
All-Star Carlos Beltran also got a day off as a concession to the persistent
heat wave. Erik Bedard (4-9) threw 100 pitches in 4 2-3 innings and gave up five
runs. The lefty has allowed 25 runs in 23 2-3 innings, a 9.51 ERA, in his last
five starts away from home since his last road victory May 3 in St. Louis. In
his last three starts in Pittsburgh, Bedard has given up just three runs in 19
innings. He hadnt been aware of the discrepancy. “Is it that big of a split?
Really?” Bedard said. “I didnt know, I havent even looked at it.” NOTES: Bedard
became the 13th active pitcher with 1,000 strikeouts when he caught Holliday
looking in the first. ... McGehee is 6 for 13 as a pinch hitter with three RBIs.
... McKenry is 11 for 25 with three homers and nine RBIs during a career-best
seven-game hitting streak. ... Holliday is batting .493 (26 for 53) with two
homers and 14 RBIs in his last 13 games. ... Westbrook has a 5.18 ERA against
the Pirates. Robert Mathis Jersey . —The Phoenix Coyotes
avoided a sweep with a gutty performance in Los Angeles. Pat Angerer Jersey . Young matched a career
high with four hits, Aaron Hill hit a three-run homer in a nine-run fifth inning
and the Arizona Diamondbacks routed the Houston Astros 12-4 on Saturday night.
. The Rays Jose Lobaton drove in three runs and Matt Moore tossed six strong
innings, as Tampa Bay dispatched Toronto, 7-1, to finish a sweep on Thursday.
Henderson Alvarez (7-9) was tagged in defeat for 11 hits and six runs—four
earned—over 4 2/3 frames for the Blue Jays, who stumbled to their ninth loss
in 11 outings overall. Robert Mathis Womens Jersey . A local talent
who made a name for himself in one of the top leagues in Europe, he was counted
on to be a catalyst for turning the young Major League Soccer club into a
playoff contender. Pat Angerer Womens Jersey .Y. —The Buffalo
Bills have signed receiver Derek Session, an undrafted rookie free agent out of
Maine.ATLANTA—San Diego manager Bud Black called Eric Stults performance
classic pitching. The Atlanta Braves called it frustrating. Stults combined with
two relievers on a five-hitter, Chase Headley homered and drove in two runs and
the Padres beat Atlanta 4-1 on Monday night. Stults (3-2) gave up five hits and
one run in 7 2-3 innings—his longest start in three years. While with the
Dodgers, Stults beat the Giants 8-0 on May 9, 2009, his last complete game.
Stults kept his pitch count low early in the game against Atlantas impatient
hitters. “They were swinging early in counts,” Stults said. “I was able to get
some quick outs, which allowed me to go deeper into the game.” Stults curveballs
were clocked in the mid-60s, making his high-80s fastball look faster. That
range helped keep Atlantas batters off-balance. “He frustrated us,” Braves
manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He got us out of our normal game plan of seeing
pitches and working the count a little bit. “He really, really was frustrating.
We just werent our normal selves.” The Padres, who had a six-game winning streak
snapped on Sunday, have won eight of 10 for the first time this season. Stults
pitched for Los Angeles from 2006-09 and appeared in six games with Colorado in
2011. Any memories of Stults were too few and too faint to be of help to the
Braves. “Its the first time weve faced him,” said Martin Prado, who actually was
2 for 4 in his career against the left-hander before Monday. “For me, I was
trying to recognize what he had. “He looked pretty good. He was mixing all his
pitches in a real good way. We were trying to figure it out. The next time weve
got to be patient, because hes one of those guys who can spot the ball.” Black
said Stults change of speeds made it difficult for the Braves. “When you have a
range like he did as far as velocity, 90 at the high end and 66 at the low,
thats awful tough,” Black said. Stults did not walk a batter. “He was spotting
the ball well, in and out, up and down,” Black said. “It really was classic
pitching.” The weather conditions made Turner Field a pitchers park. Rain
delayed the start of the game for 25 minutes and left the air unusually cool.
The first-pitch temperature was 71 degrees and the wind was blowing in.
Yonder Alonso had three hits and Chris Denorfia had two hits and scored two runs
for the Padres. Vick Ballard Jersey. . Stults lost his bid
for a shutout in the eighth when Michael Bourn singled and scored on Prados
triple into the right-field corner. Luke Gregerson struck out Jason Heyward to
end the inning. Dale Thayer pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save. Atlanta
starter Mike Minor (6-9) gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings. Stults
has worked in relief and as a starter since he was claimed off waivers from the
White Sox on May 17. He has won two straight starts, including 5 1-3 innings in
a 2-0 win over the Cubs on Aug. 6. Stults was dominant early, allowing only one
hit in the first five innings. That was nothing new; in his first six starts
with the White Sox and Padres, he had a 0.75 ERA in the first four innings.
Stults problems had come after the fourth, when he had a 6.94 ERA. This time,
Stults retained his edge longer into the game. The Braves first threat came in
the fourth, when Heyward reached on first baseman Alonsos fielding error with
two outs and moved to third on Chipper Jones single to left. Freddie Freemans
groundout ended the inning. Prado and Heyward had consecutive singles with two
outs in the sixth before Jones ended the inning with a fly ball to centre.
Denorfia led off the second with a double and later scored on Cameron Maybins
sacrifice fly. Denorfia led off the sixth with a triple and scored on Alonsos
single. Stults singled in the sixth and scored on a single by Headley, who was
thrown out as he tried to advance to second. Headley hit his 19th homer off
Chad Durbin in the seventh. NOTES: When RHP Tommy Hanson (strained lower back)
comes off the 15-day DL to start Friday against the Dodgers, the Braves will
move to a six-man rotation for about two weeks. Gonzalez said he will pick the
five best—or healthiest—for September. ... Braves SS Jack Wilson, who has
been on the 15-day DL with a dislocated right little finger, aggravated the
injury in a rehab game with Triple-A Gwinnett and was back in Atlanta to have
the finger examined. ... Headley was named NL player of the week after hitting
.333 with three homers and 11 RBIs for the period ending Sunday. ... Padres LHP
Clayton Richard, coming off a shutout of the Cubs, will start against Braves RHP
Tim Hudson on Tuesday night. ’ ’ ’ 

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