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St. Louis hits All-Star break with 11-6 win
PITTSBURGH — The St. Louis Cardinals rediscovered their offense, and a worked-over Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff will have trouble forgetting this weekend.
Aaron Miles drove in five runs with a home run and a triple and the Cardinals held off a Pittsburgh comeback this time, beating the Pirates 11-6 Sunday.
Miles got three hits and is batting .335 (64-for-191) in 46 games as a starter. His three-run homer off Ian Snell in the fourth inning — only his second of the season — came on an inside pitch that was nearly shoulder-high and put St. Louis up 4-1.
After Pittsburgh rallied for the second day in a row and took a 6-5 lead on Chris Gomez's two-run double in the sixth, Miles finished St. Louis' four-run, go-ahead seventh with a two-run triple.
Ryan Ludwick added his 21st homer, a solo shot in the eighth that was his third in as many games. Troy Glaus completed a 10-for-13 weekend with a home run, one of St. Louis' 15 hits.
"It's called hot," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We knew he could get hot, but that was scalding."
Franquelis Osoria (3-3), brought in to protect the Pirates' one-run lead in the seventh, allowed five of the six batters he faced to reach base. Osoria hit Albert Pujols with a pitch after Ludwick singled. Glaus doubled in a run and Chris Duncan had an RBI single that put St. Louis up 7-6.
"It was a good weekend for us. We put a lot of hits together and scored a lot of runs," Glaus said. "From the offense's perspective, it was a pretty good series."
From the Pirates' pitching perspective, it was terrible.
The Cardinals scored 28 runs and had 50 hits while winning two of three in the series — after being held to two runs or fewer in six of their previous seven. They could have swept their final series before the All-Star break, but couldn't hold leads of 9-3 and 10-4 while losing 12-11 in 10 innings Saturday night despite getting a season-high 22 hits.
The Cardinals bullpen didn't let that happen again, even after starter Joel Pineiro — previously 4-0 against the Pirates — gave up 10 hits and six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Jason Bay had a tying two-run single in the fifth, giving him seven RBIs in two games, but Russ Springer (2-0), Kyle McClellan and Ryan Franklin combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Springer retired the only batter he faced for the victory, and McClellan pitched two shutout innings.
The night before, Cardinals relievers gave up eight runs over the final four innings.
"It was important we put that game last night behind us," La Russa said. "We came out and showed everybody, look, you beat us last night and we're going to try to beat you today."
St. Louis is 53-43 at the break, the NL's second-best record. The Cardinals trail Chicago by 4 1/2 games in the NL Central.
"It's good to go into the break with a lot of guys swinging the bat well and feeling good," Miles said.
The Pirates, six games under at the break, unexpectedly have one of the NL's best offenses, but the pitching staff has been much worse than expected with a 5.13 ERA — more than a run per game higher than St. Louis' 4.08. Pittsburgh's bullpen gave up 12 runs in the series.
"We've kind of been limping for about 10 days now," Pirates manager John Russell said. "The bullpen has been overused. Guys are giving what they have, but they don't have a lot left in the tank — and they've been used a lot."
Snell had another rough outing against the Cardinals, giving up five hits and four runs in five innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a sore elbow. He has a 9.00 ERA in four starts against them this season.
"They came out really aggressive from the start," said Snell, who has won only once since April 12. "That one pitch [to Miles] really got me. I didn't realize he had that much power."
* Glaus, Duncan and Miles all had three hits.
* According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Cardinals hadn't had as many hits as they did Saturday and lost since they had 23 in a 19-15, 10-inning defeat to the Reds on July 1, 1956.
* Cardinals rookie pitcher Jaime Garcia, who made his major league debut as a reliever Friday, is scheduled to start Sunday vs. San Diego.
* Miles' five RBIs were the most by a Cardinals player this season. His career high is six RBIs, in 2004 against Arizona.
* After the game, the Pirates optioned pitcher Romulo Sanchez to Class AAA Indianapolis.