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Disciplined Cardinals avoid sweep
ST. LOUIS -- Discipline in the middle of the lineup helped the St. Louis Cardinals snap a three-game losing streak.
Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen drew consecutive two-out walks to set up Edgar Renteria's tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh inning of a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
"As a pitching staff, walks hurt you," Rolen said. "That's a perfect example right there. We loaded the bases and didn't get a hit, and ended up winning the game."
J.D. Drew homered for the second straight game for the Cardinals, who avoided a three-game sweep. St. Louis is just 3-4 during a 13-game homestand, the longest of the season, but avoided dropping below .500 on June 1 for the first time since 1997.
"We needed that game," Renteria said.
Jack Wilson hit a three-run homer for the Pirates, who lost for only the second time in seven games. Wilson also robbed pinch-hitter Eduardo Perez of the go-ahead RBI in the sixth, making a leaping grab of his liner to shortstop and turning it into an inning-ending double play.
"I got the box score covered," Wilson said. "I reached on an error, hit a home run, hit a sacrifice bunt and started a double play. You know, it was a fun game for me."
Pujols and Edmonds walked with two outs against Joe Beimel (1-1) in the seventh. Salomon Torres walked Rolen on four pitches to load the bases, and Renteria bounced a single on an 0-2 pitch.
"I just had a bad feeling there in the eighth inning when we walked three guys in a row," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "They always seem to come back and haunt you."
Steve Kline (2-4) allowed a hit in 1 2-3 innings for the victory. Esteban Yan gave up a solo homer to Craig Wilson in the ninth before Jeff Fassero got two outs for his third save.
Rolen ended it with a leaping catch of pinch-hitter Reggie Sanders' drive down the third-base line.
"If I played it over, the ball might have actually gone foul," Rolen said. "But I was happy to get that thing and get a win."
Two Pirates errors in the second helped the Cardinals score a pair of unearned runs to take the lead. Rolen reached on second baseman Abraham Nunez's one-out fielding error, and right fielder Craig Wilson threw wildly to third on Tino Martinez's RBI single, allowing a second run to score as the ball rolled into the Pittsburgh dugout.
Jack Wilson's three-run homer off a hanging breaking ball from Brett Tomko put the Pirates ahead. The Cardinals tied it in the bottom of the third on Drew's sixth homer off Josh Fogg.
Fogg worked six innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained oblique, allowing three runs on six hits. Only one of the runs was earned.
"He didn't have his command like he wanted early," McClendon said. "But he settled down, gave us six quality innings and kept us in the game."
Tomko is 0-2 in six starts since April 25. He pitched six innings and gave up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
"Personally, yeah, it's frustrating," Tomko said. "It's tough, but when you look at the big picture you're there to keep the team in games."Noteworthy
***Drew is 7-for-17 with two homers in the last four games.
***Pujols is 8-for-14 in his last four games.
***A Rolen bobblehead doll giveaway drew a sellout crowd of 46,103 with fans clogging the entrance ramps almost three hours before gametime. "That was a great honor," Rolen said. "It's a pretty cool little thing."
***Cardinals reliever Cal Eldred, who has four saves in six chances, was unavailable because he was not feeling well, the team said.