Cardinals defeat Reds 5-2, reclaim share of first place

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The Cardinals' Albert Pujols follows through on an RBI double against the Reds during the fifth inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium. (JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)

Stavinoha continued his clutch hitting with two more RBIs.

ST. LOUIS -- Pitching on 15 days' rest, Brad Thompson quickly rediscovered his groove.

The stand-in starter worked five effective innings and rookie Nick Stavinoha gave St. Louis another key hit with a two-run, go-ahead double in the sixth inning in the Cardinals' 5-2 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

"I felt great when I was out there," Thompson said. "But I'm sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow."

Stavinoha has 12 RBIs in only 45 at-bats since a mid-May callup from Class AAA Memphis for the Cardinals. Albert Pujols had two RBIs and Ryan Franklin got his 13th save in 14 chances.

The Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he scores on a two-run double by Nick Stavinoha as Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo looks on during the sixth inning Tuesday at Busch Stadium. (JEFF ROBERSON ~ Associated Press)

"Memphis is a nice place and all," Stavinoha said. "But I like it a little better here."

Bronson Arroyo (7-4) needed 98 pitches to get through five innings with the score tied, and then recorded only one more out in the Cardinals' three-run sixth. Skip Schumaker helped elevate the pitch count, fouling off nine in a 14-pitch at-bat in the third before finally striking out on a full count.

"That took a lot out of him even though he struck him out," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's what you urge your guys to do, have tough at-bats even if you're out.

"That's a whole inning in one at-bat."

Reds pitchers allowed a first-inning run for the sixth straight game. The Cardinals took the lead on Schumaker's leadoff walk, a double by Colby Rasmus and Pujols' run-scoring groundout.

Thompson (1-1) subbed for Joel Pineiro, whose turn was skipped due to back spasms, and allowed two runs in five innings in his first appearance since throwing three innings of relief May 17.

The Reds bunched three of their five hits off Thompson while scoring two runs in the fourth, with Laynce Nix and Adam Rosales each getting an RBI. Thompson escaped when he snared Arroyo's smash up the middle with the bases loaded to start an inning-ending double play.

Pujols' two-out RBI double tied it in the fifth. Stavinoha, who had entered in a double switch in the top of the sixth, put the Cardinals ahead in the bottom half to chase Arroyo and then scored when Carlos Fisher threw two wild pitches for a 5-2 lead.

Arroyo said he made the pitch where he wanted, down and in.

"That was basically the game," Arroyo said. "I couldn't believe he hit it that far. I've never seen him before."

Stavinoha's drive sailed over the head of center fielder Willy Taveras, slowed by a tight right hamstring that forced him out of the lineup the three previous games. Baker said a healthy Taveras would have made the catch and said he'd start Chris Dickerson in center today.

"I thought [Taveras] was in a little better shape leg-wise than that," Baker said.

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