Cardinals lose to Pirates

Thursday, May 27, 2004

AP Sports Writer

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Daryle Ward started the season in the minors. Now, nobody can get him out.

Ward became the 20th player in Pittsburgh Pirates history to hit for the cycle and tied his career best with six RBIs in an 11-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday night. He's batting .380 with six homers and 16 RBIs in only 50 at-bats since being recalled from Triple-A Nashville on May 11.

"He's really showing up to play," Pirates starter Kris Benson said. "He's got something to prove and I'm glad he's performing well and taking advantage of the situation."

Ward joined his father, Gary, to become the first father-son combination in major league history to hit for the cycle. Gary Ward accomplished the feat on Sept. 18, 1980, for Minnesota.

On Wednesday, Ward had the difficult part of the cycle wrapped up with four innings to go: a two-run double in the first, an RBI triple in the fourth and a three-run homer off Kiko Calero in the fifth. He popped out to third to end the seventh, but got another chance in the ninth and bounced a single off Steve Kline over the head of first baseman Albert Pujols.

"We were all just trying to get on base to give him another shot," said No. 2 hitter Jack Wilson, who batted in front of Ward. "It's very special and it's just been fun being in the same lineup with him, and even better, hitting in front of him."

Ward was demoted to Triple-A Nashville on March 24 and his contract was purchased May 11 when the Pirates placed outfielder Raul Mondesi on the restricted list. He also got his third career two-homer game last week against the Padres and the Pirates are 8-3 in his 11 starts.

"I was playing the same way in Triple-A," Ward said. "When I got a chance to get called up I told myself there's no reason to change anything."

Ward is the first Pirates player to hit for the cycle since Jason Kendall did May 19, 2000, also against the Cardinals. It's been done 23 times in franchise history by 20 players.

"I don't think you can expect anybody to be as productive as he's been in the short amount of time he's been here," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Certainly, we were hoping to catch lightning in a bottle."

Jack Wilson was 4-for-6, drove in a run and scored three times while raising his average to .363 for the Pirates, who have won six of their last seven on the road. The top three in the order were 11-for-16 with seven RBIs and nine runs scored.

The Pirates were 8-for-21 with runners in scoring position, ending an 0-for-27 slump in their previous four games. Pittsburgh also improved to 14-8 on the road, and 6-13 at home.

Benson (4-3) tired in the seventh, finishing with 119 pitches, but benefited from the support to win for the first time in four starts since April 30. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits in 6 1-3 innings.

Jim Edmonds hit his 11th homer and Jason Marquis (3-4) got his second hit and second RBI for the Cardinals, who have lost three in a row.

The Cardinals trailed 10-2 in the fifth before making it close with a run in the sixth and four in the seventh that cut the gap to 10-7.

The start of the game was delayed 1 hour and 21 minutes by rain, and it might have thrown off Marquis. He threw 99 pitches in four innings, his shortest outing of the season.

"We got seven runs so I don't think it's a question of not being ready to play," manager Tony La Russa said. "We just didn't play good enough."

Notes: Ward also had six RBIs against the Brewers on April 3, 2001. ... Benson has beaten the Cardinals more than any other team, going 7-3 with a 4.38 ERA. ... The Pirates have scored in double figures four times, the last in an 11-2 victory May 13 at Colorado. ... The Cardinals lead the NL with 39 steals and were 2-for-2 against Kendall, who had thrown out nine of 19 runners. ... Kendall was 3-for-5 and is 20-for-54 (.370) during a 12-game hitting streak, the Pirates' longest of the season. ... La Russa used his 32nd different lineup in the first 45 games, but he left the starting eight unchanged from Tuesday night's rain-postponed game.

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