Cards get 2 hits, 1 win

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

MIAMI -- Two hits were all the St. Louis Cardinals needed to beat the Florida Marlins.

Albert Pujols ended Josh Beckett's no-hit bid with a home run in the sixth inning Tuesday night, and Jim Edmonds homered on the first pitch in the 10th inning to help St. Louis earn its sixth consecutive victory, 2-1.

The homers were the only hits for the Cardinals, who won for the 19th time in 24 games since the All-Star break. They improved to 37-17 on the road, best in the major leagues.

The Marlins had seven hits but were shut out after Alex Gonzalez doubled home a run in the second. The defending World Series champions have struggled offensively for much of the season, and they've scored two runs in the past 24 innings.

St. Louis relievers retired the last 13 Florida batters. Julian Tavarez (5-3) pitched 2 2-3 hitless innings, and Jason Isringhausen followed with a perfect 10th for his 30th save in 35 chances.

Guillermo Mota (8-5) gave up Edmonds' 31st home run, which traveled an estimated 421 feet and cleared the center-field wall.

Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter pitched just 2 1-3 innings -- his shortest outing this season -- before departing because of tightness in his lower back. The often-injured Carpenter threw 55 pitches and left trailing 1-0.

Beckett allowed no hits through 5 2-3 innings before Pujols hit his 32nd home run to make the score 1-all. The hit came on the 92nd pitch from Beckett, who left for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth.

It was the longest outing since May 25 for Beckett, who has battled finger blisters and spent three stints on the disabled list this year. He walked three and struck out five.

Rudy Seanez followed with three perfect innings for Florida.

With Beckett on deck and two out in the second inning, Gonzalez pulled the 10th pitch to him for a double to score Jeff Conine from second base. Conine had reached on an infield single and advanced on a groundout.

Florida loaded the bases in the sixth against Ray King, but Juan Pierre tapped out to end the threat.

Notes: Edmonds, the Cardinals' Gold Glove center fielder, casually fielded a two-out hit in the first by hustling Paul Lo Duca, who took advantage and kept running for a double. Lo Duca was ejected in the 10th by plate umpire Chris Guccione for arguing a called third strike. ... St. Louis' Scott Rolen fielded a grounder barehanded behind third base and threw out Miguel Cabrera. ... How muggy was it? On an 86-degree evening, a pitch by the Cardinals' Cal Eldred in the fifth inning slipped from his hand and rolled toward third base. Guccione ruled the pitch didn't count.

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