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Cardinals relievers deliver again in starting role against Rockies

Friday, June 1, 2007

DENVER -- Juan Encarnacion hit a two-out, three-run double in the sixth and Brad Thompson allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 7-3 on Thursday night.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa gave star slugger Albert Pujols his first day off of the season because he was "wearing down," and St. Louis responded well offensively.

Gary Bennett had three hits, including an RBI double in the eighth and a run-scoring single in the sixth. Scott Rolen was 2-for-3 with an RBI double.

Thompson (4-1) gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out two. He has given up three runs in 12 1/3 innings over two starts against the Rockies this season.

Randy Flores got the last two outs of the eighth, and Russ Springer allowed Chris Iannetta's sacrifice fly in the ninth before striking out Jeff Baker to end the game.

Thompson had been victimized by the home run this season, surrendering eight in 40 innings. But Thompson was able to keep the ball down against Colorado. The only long drive was Brad Hawpe's flyout to deep center in the second.

Aaron Cook (4-2) went seven innings, giving up six hits and five runs. He was coming off a complete game five-hitter against San Francisco in his last start, and had won four consecutive decisions in May.

After giving up an RBI single to Adam Kennedy with two outs in the second, Cook retired 11 straight St. Louis hitters.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the sixth inning on a walk to So Taguchi and singles by Jim Edmonds and Rolen. Encarnacion then doubled into the right-center field gap to put the Cardinals in front 4-2.

Bennett followed with an RBI single up the middle. Bennett became the Cardinals' everyday catcher when Yadier Molina went down with a fractured left wrist on Tuesday.

With the split in the four-game series, Colorado still hasn't won a series at home since the season opener against Arizona.

Troy Tulowitzki had an RBI groundout in the second and Matt Holliday added an RBI single in the first for the Rockies.

Scott Spiezio, who left Tuesday's game after complaining of dizziness, took Pujols' place at first. He had a single and scored a run.

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