Pujols' 2-run blast all support Carp needs

Sunday, August 7, 2011
Cardinals closer Fernando Salas is congratulated by catcher Tony Cruz after the Cardinals beat the Marlins 2-1 on Saturday in Miami. (LYNNE SLADKY ~ Associated Press)

MIAMI -- A disputed play involving the first batter of the game left Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon suggesting Major League Baseball add more instant replay.

Rafael Furcal led off with a single -- although replays seemed to show the ball was caught -- and Albert Pujols homered later in the inning, sending the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 win over the Marlins on Saturday night.

McKeon came out to argue after right fielder Mike Stanton appeared to catch the ball. First base umpire Vic Carapazza and the other umps huddled then ruled the ball hit the ground.

"There's no question about it, we all thought he caught it," McKeon said. "Like I told the umpires, 'You got four guys out here and four guys can't see it.' Maybe that's another reason why we ought to have instant replay."

MLB is leaning toward adding replay on trapped balls next season.

Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso doubles during the second inning Saturday in Miami. (LYNNE SLADKY ~ Associated Press)

"No question it's the difference in the ballgame," McKeon said. "You're not going to criticize the umpires or rip them because it's a tough job, but on the other hand we've got to get these plays right. We can't have it consistently three or four times a week and it's questionable stuff. Let's go to instant replay. To us in the dugout, it was very obvious it was a clean catch. It's tough when it comes down to that's the deciding run of the ballgame.

"But you don't get any prizes. We get kicked out of a game or the players perform poorly or don't do their job, they're sent out. But there's no consequences if we continue to make bad calls. That's a tough job. I'm not going to single out that guy. He had a bad night. We all make mistakes, but when it comes down to losing ballgames when you got three or four guys out there and all of them can't see it, then we better go to instant replay."

Chris Carpenter (7-8) gave up five hits over 6 2/3 innings to help the Cardinals win for the fourth time in five games.

Fernando Salas, the fifth Cardinals pitcher, worked a scoreless ninth for his 21st save in 24 chances.

Ricky Nolasco (8-8) gave up 10 hits over seven innings.

Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter delivers during the second inning Saturday.

Daniel Descalso had three hits for the Cardinals. Sluggers Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Pujols each had an extra-base hit, giving the trio 10 in the first three games of the series.

"Best lineup in the league by far," Nolasco said. "Not to knock anyone else's lineup, but when you have to face those three guys back-to-back-to back and possibly with runners on, there's no doubt that's the best three, four, five in the league."

The Cardinals held on for the win despite leaving 12 men on base. They were 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.

"That's part of the game," Pujols said.

Carpenter struck out seven and walked two. He's won six of his last seven decisions and defeated the Marlins for the first time since Aug. 29, 2005.

"You want to make pitches, that's what you're supposed to do as a starter," Carpenter said. "You're trying to execute the whole game until your job is over and the manager comes out to take the ball from you. I was able to make pitches when I had to."

The Marlins made it 2-1 in the fourth when Dewayne Wise was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Nolasco grounded into a double play to end the Marlins' threat.

"That was a big part of the game," Carpenter said. "From that point on, I executed and made pitches."

Noteworthy

* Marlins INF Alfredo Amezaga went 1 for 4 in his first game back with the team after it acquired him in a trade with the Rockies before the game. Amezaga said it was "like a dream come true again" to return to the club that he played with for four seasons (2006 to 2009).

* Mired in a 1-for-17 slump, Cardinals OF Jon Jay singled in the eighth.

* LHP Jaime Garcia will start today's game as the Cardinals look to complete the sweep. Garcia is 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 11 starts against NL East teams. The Marlins will counter with RHP Javier Vazquez.

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