Edmonds powers Redbirds from off the bench

Monday, August 1, 2005

St. Louis defeated Los Angeles 7-5 in 11 innings.

LOS ANGELES -- Jim Edmonds was supposed to get a day off. He knew better and kept himself prepared for anything.

Edmonds drove in three runs with a pinch RBI double in the seventh inning and a two-run homer in the 11th, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 7-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.

"You never have a day off. You just get the beginning of the day," said the four-time All-Star, who is 2-for-5 as a pinch-hitter. "In the National League, you've got to be ready after about the sixth or seventh inning, especially if the game's close. So you just get used to it."

When asked if he was going to give Edmonds a day off on Tuesday to make up for this aborted one, manager Tony La Russa joked, "I'm just going to put him on the bench. If he's going to be that good a bench player and come out there and get three RBIs, I'm not starting him anymore."

Mark Grudzielanek hit a three-run homer against his former team, and Cal Eldred (1-0) pitched two innings of one-hit relief for the victory. Jason Isringhausen got three outs for his 29th save in 32 attempts and his 130th with the Cardinals, moving past Todd Worrell for second place on the team list behind Lee Smith's 160.

Wilson Alvarez (1-4) walked Abraham Nunez with one out in the 11th and Edmonds connected on a 3-2 fastball for his 20th homer and third in four games. On deck was slugger Albert Pujols, who usually bats ahead of Edmonds in the third spot.

"Honestly, I was just trying to give Albert a chance to hit and try to stay out of the double play," Edmonds said. "I've faced Wilson for 12 years now and he pitches me different every time I go up there, so I never know what he's going to do. Usually he gets the best of me, but I finally got a ball that I could hit. I'm sure he didn't want to walk me right there with Albert on deck."

Ricky Ledee, who struck out with the bases loaded as a pinch-hitter in the sixth against Al Reyes, tied the score in the eighth against Ray King with his second three-run homer of the series. It was only the second homer King has allowed in 174 at-bats by left-handed hitters during two seasons with the Cardinals -- the other was by Arizona's Luis Gonzalez on July 7.

"I tried to throw a sinker that cut on me and went back to the middle of the bat," King said. "But even though we had that three-run lead and I gave up the home run, we didn't quit. Jimmy goes 2-for-3 with three RBIs -- and was supposed to have a day off."

Olmedo Saenz had a chance to win it in the ninth against Eldred, but grounded to shortstop and the Cardinals turned their major league-leading 132nd double play.

Grudzielanek hit his sixth homer in the fourth against Odalis Perez and scored on a squeeze bunt by Hector Luna in the eighth to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead.

"A loss is a loss. They all stink, and they all are defeating," Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent said. "As the season goes on, you have a tendency to think that they really aren't. You just hope you don't add up a whole lot of losses near the end of the year. I still believe that we have a team that's good enough to be in the playoffs."

Los Angeles activated third-baseman Jose Valentin from the 60-day disabled list after he missed 78 games with torn ligaments in his right knee and a sore elbow. Valentin started in left field and was 2-for-5.

Cardinals starter Mark Mulder allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings and tied a season high with five walks. Perez pitched 6 2-3 innings and was charged with four runs on only four hits. He faced a starting lineup that included just two players who started for the defending NL champions on opening day -- Grudzielanek and Pujols.

Notes: Worrell also held the Dodgers' record for career saves with 127 until that mark was eclipsed by Jeff Shaw on Oct. 5, 2001. Eric Gagne overtook Shaw last July 10. ... Dodgers OF Jayson Werth was placed on the 15-day DL, retroactive to July 27, with bursitis in his left knee. ... Cardinals RHP Matt Morris, who takes a two-game losing streak into Wednesday's outing against Florida, has never lost three consecutive starts in his nine-year career. ... The Cardinals finished July 17-9, giving them 10 consecutive winning months for the first time since 1944, when they recorded their 16th straight winning month. ... Dodgers manager Jim Tracy ran out of position players in the 11th, so RHP Jeff Weaver pinch hit for reliever Giovanni Carrara and struck out.

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