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Archive for Thursday, June 3, 2004

Pujols, Cards keep rolling in Central

June 3, 2004

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— After a slow start, the St. Louis Cardinals are beating teams in the NL Central.

Albert Pujols hit his major-league-leading 17th home run, Tony Womack had four hits and Chris Carpenter struck out a season-high nine as St. Louis won its third straight, 5-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.

St. Louis has won seven of its last 11 games against division rivals, leaving its record against the NL Central at 14-14.

"In this division, no matter who you play, you have to go out and perform every night," Pujols said. "You have to play your best against your own division, and that's what we're doing."

St. Louis (29-23) has won six of seven overall and climbed to a season-high six games over .500. The Cardinals are in the midst of 19 consecutive games against the NL Central.

The last of Womack's four consecutive singles came off reliever Mike Johnston (0-2) in the sixth inning and drove in John Mabry, who doubled home Edgar Renteria to break a 3-3 tie.

Womack went 4-for-5, his 14th career four-hit game and second this season. He also had four hits April 9 at Arizona.

"We got some runs when we needed them, made some great plays when we needed them and I made some pitches when I had to make pitches," said Carpenter (6-1), who allowed three runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. "It was an all-around good game."

Jason Isringhausen got three straight outs for his 10th save in 13 chances.

Jason Kendall extended his hitting streak to 19 games for Pittsburgh, which lost its fourth straight game.

Mets 5, Phillies 3, 10 inn.

Philadelphia -- Todd Zeile hit a tying, three-run homer in the eighth inning and a two-run drive in the 10th, leading the New York Mets to a three-game sweep. A night after Zeile hit tying homer in the eighth and a go-ahead single in the 10th in New York's 4-1 win, he did in the Phillies again. Zeile drove a 2-1 pitch from Roberto Hernandez (1-2) through a heavy rain and over the right-field wall.

Expos 8, Braves 4

Atlanta -- Backup catcher Einar Diaz drove in his first three runs of the season, and Montreal beat Atlanta to avoid a three-game sweep. It was only the third win in 13 games for the Expos, who have the worst record in the majors (17-35). Orlando Cabrera, Tony Batista and Juan Rivera each had three of Montreal's season-high 17 hits. Expos starter Claudio Vargas (4-3) pitched six innings. Mike Hampton (1-6) was the losing pitcher.

Astros 5, Cubs 1

Chicago -- Roger Clemens won for the first time at Wrigley Field, keeping his perfect season intact as Houston won.

Clemens (8-0) allowed one run -- on Todd Hollandsworth's broken-bat single -- and five hits in seven innings. The 41-year-old Rocket, making his second start at Wrigley, earned his 318th career victory, tying Phil Niekro for the 14th place on the all-time list. Clemens has won 12 straight regular-season decisions since Aug. 9.

Adam Everett and Brad Ausmus had three hits each against Matt Clement (6-4), who allowed 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Chicago has lost seven of nine.

Reds 3, Marlins 1

Miami -- Sean Casey singled in the seventh to break up Dontrelle Willis' perfect-game bid, then hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth off Matt Perisho as Cincinnati completed a three-game sweep.

Brian Reith (2-1), who worked a scoreless eighth, got his second win in as many days. Danny Graves worked a perfect ninth for his major-league-leading 26th save.

Felipe Lopez singled off Ben Howard (0-1) before the homer by Casey, who is hitting .391.

Padres 2, Rockies 1

San Diego -- Jay Payton hit an RBI single past the glove of diving second baseman Aaron Miles with two outs in the 10th inning. Padres closer Trevor Hoffman (1-0) came on with the score tied at 1 and pitched a perfect 10th, with two strikeouts. San Diego started its winning rally when Brian Fuentes (1-2) grazed leadoff batter Sean Burroughs with a 2-2 pitch. Colorado was trying to win three straight road games for the first time this year.

D'backs 8, Giants 6

Phoenix -- Randy Johnson won his fourth start in a row and Shea Hillenbrand homered and drove in three runs for Arizona. Robby Hammock also knocked in three runs with a pair of doubles for the Diamondbacks, who snapped the Giants' 10-game winning streak Tuesday night. Johnson (7-4), whose winning streak began with his perfect game May 18 in Atlanta, allowed one hit in four scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the fifth -- three on Marquis Grissom's seventh homer of the season.

Dodgers 5, Brewers 2

Los Angeles -- Paul Lo Duca homered and drove in three runs, and Edwin Jackson pitched five strong innings in an emergency start for Los Angeles. Jackson allowed one run, three hits and three walks with three strikeouts. The right-hander, 5-2 with a 5.13 ERA in 10 starts for Triple-A Las Vegas, shrugged off Scott Podsednik's second leadoff homer in two nights to improve his record as a big league starter to 3-1.

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