Cards sweep Pirates to get back on track

Saturday, August 21, 2004

St. Louis' two-game skid ended with 5-4 and 5-3 wins over Pittsburgh.

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Scott Rolen became the third St. Louis player to hit 30 homers this season and Chris Carpenter set a career best with his 13th win, leading the Cardinals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night to complete a day-night doubleheader sweep.

In the opener, Dan Haren allowed three hits over 6 2-3 innings as the Cardinals won 5-4.

St. Louis swept a doubleheader for the first time since Aug. 31, 2002, at Chicago and has won 13 of 17 games overall.

Pittsburgh, which had won nine of 12 coming in, played the sixth of at least seven doubleheaders this year -- the most for the team since the Pirates had eight in 1984. The Pirates, who also lost twice at Texas on June 10, had won their previous four games against the Cardinals.

Rolen homered in the second inning of the night game, a drive off Nelson Figueroa, who made his first major league start since a 6-2 loss at St. Louis on Aug. 21 last year

Rolen combined with Albert Pujols (37) and Jim Edmonds (31) to give the Cardinals three 30-homer players in one season for the first time. Rolen is one shy of his career high, set with Philadelphia in 1998.

Carpenter (13-5), who won 12 games with Toronto in 1998, matched his season high with nine strikeouts, allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He had missed his previous scheduled start due to tightness in his lower back,

Jason Isringhausen saved both games of the doubleheader, giving him 35 saves, one more than his previous career high.

Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez was ejected from the opener after umpires conducted a lengthy inspection of his dirty, smudged cap before the eighth inning.

Tavarez flipped his hat to a fan in the stands behind the dugout on his way off the field. It's the third time this season that Tavarez' cap has come under scrutiny, with the Braves and Phillies also complaining, but it was the first time he was ejected.

He pitched one-third of an inning in the second game, getting the final out of the eighth inning.

Figueroa, brought up from the minors between games, allowed two runs and five hits in six innings and left with a 3-2 lead.

St. Louis rallied in the seventh. Jim Edmonds led off with a double off Mike Gonzalez (3-1), pinch-hitter Reggie Sanders had a two-out RBI infield single off Salomon Torres and Tony Womack had a go-ahead single.

Edgar Renteria added an RBI single in the eighth.

Rob Mackowiak hit a two-run homer in the second inning for the Pirates, giving him a career-best 64 RBIs.

In the opener, Haren retired 13 batters in a row before hitting Jason Bay in the sixth, then retired another three straight before Jose Castillo hit his sixth homer with two outs in the seventh.

"The only thing he lacks is experience," manager Tony La Russa said of the 23-year-old Haren, a second-round draft pick in 2001. "He's just a baby. He's learning, and he's getting better and better."

The Pirates rallied for three in the ninth against Ray King and Isringhausen on an RBI double by pinch-hitter Bobby Hill and Abraham Nunez's two-run, pinch-hit single.

Isringhausen struck out Jason Kendall for the second out with the potential tying run on first. Jack Wilson followed with a comebacker that hit off Isringhausen, and rolled toward first base. The Cardinals closer chased the ball down and flipped it to first for the final out.

"We made a little run," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "We had some good things going. Lady luck was on their side."

The Cardinals optioned Haren (2-2), who is 9-4 at Triple-A Memphis, back to the minors after the game and purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Al Reyes for bullpen depth. St. Louis is in the midst of playing 14 games in 13 days.

"I know the situation, I'm not stupid," Haren said. "I knew we needed extra protection in the bullpen. I think I did my job."

Larry Walker and Rolen, who both struggled in a 3-2 10-inning loss on Thursday, played prominent roles as the Cardinals recovered from losing consecutive games for the first time since July 23-24. Walker, who was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and two double play balls Thursday, singled in the first to help produce a run, and doubled and scored on Rolen's single in the third.

Rolen had his first two-error game in more than three seasons Thursday, bobbling a grounder to allow the go-ahead run to score. He also had a nice fielding play to rob Kendall in the second on Friday.

"Scott, he made a statement right away," La Russa said. "Those guys are stars, and that's what stars do."

Josh Fogg (7-9) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, dropping to 1-6 with a 9.59 ERA against the Cardinals, including 0-3 this year while allowing 18 earned runs in 16 innings.

"Their guy threw a great game," Fogg said. "I wasn't able to go out there and match him, so I got the short end of the stick."

John Mabry homered for St. Louis in the eighth off Ian Snell, who was optioned to the minors between games.

Notes: The Pirates sent RHP Willis Roberts outright to Triple-A Nashville after he cleared waivers. ... CF Tike Redman robbed Edmonds of a homer with a leaping catch in the seventh inning of the opener. ... There were more than 15,000 no-shows for the opener, which began in steady rain. ... Mackowiak's homer was his first in 30 games since July 20.

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