Cardinals climb over Rockies in ninth

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

By PAT GRAHAM

The Associated Press

DENVER -- A hustling Albert Pujols scored from second base on a groundout in the ninth inning, lifting the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

After a one-out double to right, Pujols took off on contact as Rick Ankiel grounded out to second baseman Jonathan Herrera, who never glanced at Pujols before lofting a throw to Todd Helton at first.

Pujols turned on the speed after rounding third and slid just out of the reach of Yorvit Torrealba, who lunged forward in an effort to tag him.

Randy Flores (1-0) earned the win after working out of a jam in the eighth, and Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 14 chances. He enticed Garrett Atkins into a 5-4-3 double play after Helton drew a one-out walk.

Brian Fuentes (0-2) took the loss.

Ryan Ludwick's pinch-hit RBI double in the eighth gave St. Louis a 5-4 lead. The Cardinals thought they had another run when Yadier Molina raced home on a chopper to second, but he was called out by home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Molina and manager Tony La Russa briefly argued the call to no avail.

The Rockies tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs' check-swing single in front of Flores scored pinch-runner Willy Taveras. Flores then struck out Torrealba and Omar Quintanilla to end the rally.

Pujols reached base for the 33rd straight game on an intentional walk in the seventh, tying his personal mark to start a season. Pujols finished 1-for-4 with an RBI groundout.

Joel Pineiro, batting eighth in the Cardinals' lineup, laced a two-run double to left with two outs in the fourth for his first hit of the season. It also doubled Pineiro's lifetime RBI total.

On the mound, Pineiro didn't fare as well, lasting just three innings, his shortest stint of the season. He allowed three earned runs and eight hits.

Ubaldo Jimenez went five innings, giving up three earned runs and scattering seven hits in his fourth straight no-decision.

Brad Hawpe's bat made up for an adventurous evening in the field. He finished with two hits, including a solo homer, his third of the season, and an RBI single.

The right fielder played a single into a triple when he slid past Adam Kennedy's sinking liner in the first, only to have Jimenez bail him out when he struck out Pujols and Ankiel to end the threat.

Hawpe also booted a ball by Aaron Miles that led to a run in the third.

However, Hawpe thwarted a potential big inning in the fifth by fielding Kennedy's hit cleanly off the wall and throwing him out at second base.

Chris Duncan had a night in left field he would just as soon forget as well. He committed consecutive errors in the fourth, one on a single by Chris Iannetta that slipped through his legs, allowing a run to score.

Noteworthy

* Rockies RHP Kip Wells will have surgery today in St. Louis for a blood clot in his right hand. The 31-year-old had a blocked artery in his right arm in 2006, which had to be replaced by a vein taken from his leg.

* Cardinals right-handed pitcher Mike Parisi made his major league debut Monday, pitching two scoreless innings.

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