Pirates trim Redbirds 3-2

Friday, August 20, 2004

St. Louis lost in 10 innings after tying the game with a two-out home run in the ninth.

By R.B. Fallstrom ~ The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Scott Rolen's second error of the game allowed the go-ahead run to score in the 10th inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Thursday night.

Reggie Sanders tied it at 2 in the ninth with a two-out homer off Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa.

Oliver Perez had 10 strikeouts and allowed only an unearned run in seven innings for the Pirates, who have won nine of 12 and have a four-game winning streak against the NL Central leaders.

Mesa (5-1) has 33 saves in 38 chances but has struggled recently, giving up three homers and eight runs in his last six innings spanning four appearances.

Rolen has seven errors this season. The five-time Gold Glove third baseman also dropped a foul popup by Rob Mackowiak in the ninth, but Mackowiak ended up striking out.

The Pirates have beaten the Cardinals four straight times for the first time since 1997, when they won five straight from June 5 to July 6.

The game was delayed by rain for 72 minutes before the bottom of the eighth.

Tike Redman drew a walk from Steve Kline (2-2) with one out in the 10th, Jason Kendall singled to put runners at the corners and the left-handed hitting Daryle Ward was walked intentionally by the left-handed Kline to load the bases.

Rolen muffed pinch-hitter Jose Bautista's sharp grounder to third, allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Josh Grabow worked the 10th for his first save.

Tony Womack had four hits to match his career best and Albert Pujols extended his hitting streak to 10 games for the Cardinals, who have the best record in the major leagues at 78-42 and are 32-10 since they were swept in a three-game series at Pittsburgh June 28-30. St. Louis has lost consecutive games for the first time since July 23-24 against the Giants.

Sanders' homer kept alive Jason Marquis' nine-game winning streak over 14 starts since his last loss on May 26 to the Pirates in St. Louis. Marquis gave up two runs on five hits in eight innings and recovered after a slow start, retiring 17 of his last 18 batters.

Perez struck out Larry Walker all three times. He reached double figures in strikeouts for the eighth time this season and 13th time in his career, and walked only two.

Jason Bay had a sacrifice fly off Marquis in the second and Ward doubled and scored on Craig Wilson's RBI single in the third for the Pirates. The Cardinals scored in the third when Womack, after his second straight infield hit, scored from second when second baseman Jose Castillo's double-play relay was in the dirt.

The Pirates played the game under protest after Perez was cited for an illegal pitch in the second. Plate umpire Joe West said Perez altered his motion on a 3-2 pitch to Sanders that appeared to be over the middle of the plate.

Pujols had a single in three at-bats and is batting .372 (16-for-42) during his hitting streak.

Notes: Cardinals LHP Rick Ankiel, rehabbing from elbow surgery that forced him to miss all of last season, struck out five and allowed two hits and an unearned run in four innings for Double-A Tennessee. Ankiel, who was plagued by wildness in the majors in 2000 and '01, walked one. ... Womack also singled in the eighth and is 8-for-13 in his last four games. ... The Cardinals are expected to recall RHP Al Reyes from Triple-A Memphis on Friday to take the roster spot of Dan Haren, who will start the first game of a day-night doubleheader and then be optioned back to the minors.

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