Doumit mauls Cardinals

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes with two men on base during the seventh inning Monday in Pittsburgh. (KEITH SRAKOCIC ~ Associated Press)

PITTSBURGH -- Jake Westbrook has won 82 games in the major leagues on the strength of one of the best sinkers in baseball.

Yet the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander went away from the sinker in a pivotal moment and it wound up costing him in a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.

Ryan Doumit drove a curveball into the right-field stands for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie and sending Westbrook (9-7) to his first loss in four starts. Doumit went 4 for 4, matching a career high with his sixth four-hit game.

St. Louis, which had won three of its last four, fell six games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Brewers blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0 on Monday night.

The Cardinals' Ryan Theriot had three hits and Matt Holliday doubled twice, including the 200th of his career.

Pirates outfielder Xavier Paul trots home after hitting a solo home run off Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook during the first inning Monday in Pittsburgh. (KEITH SRAKOCIC ~ Associated Press)

Westbrook (9-7) gave up five runs, four earned, and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings while walking one and striking out three.

"I wasn't really controlling the counts and on top of that they were fouling a lot of pitches off and running up my pitch count," Westbrook said. "The last couple of times I've been that way I've been able to settle in and have a couple of quick innings, but it just kind of caught up with me. That was a big mistake to Doumit, though, and it really cost us."

St. Louis went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base.

"The name of the game is execution," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "We had a double twice and didn't score a run. A lot of that is their pitching but some of it was we could have done a better job."

Xavier Paul, who homered, and Neil Walker both had two hits for the Pirates, and James McDonald (8-6) pitched 5 2/3 uneven innings to end his three-start winless streak. McDonald allowed two runs and six hits while walking two and striking out four.

Pittsburgh Pirates' Ryan Doumit, bottom, runs into St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Ryan Theriot after being forced out with a fielders choice on a ground ball by Pirates' Ronny Cedeno in the eighth inning of the baseball game on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011 in Pittsburgh. The Pirates won 6-2. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Jose Veras got what likely was the biggest out of the game for Pittsburgh when he relieved Daniel McCutchen in the seventh. With two outs and runners on first and second with a 5-2 lead, Veras got Albert Pujols to look at a called third strike on a curveball on the inside corner.

"It mano-a-mano right there," said Doumit, the Pirates' catcher. "You know Albert is coming up ready to do some damage, but Jose has great stuff with his fastball and curveball. We decided to go with the curve to keep him off balance and get him out, and it worked."

Pujols went 1 for 4 with a single one night after taking over the NL home run lead with 29. He is looking to hit 30 homers for the 11th consecutive season.

Paul opened the scoring when he led off the bottom of the first inning with his second home run of the season and third of his career.

The Cardinals tied it in the third when Rafael Furcal's two-out double drove in Theriot, who led off with a single and advanced to second on Westbrook's sacrifice bunt.

Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook delivers during the first inning Monday.

Doumit homered in the fourth to put the Pirates ahead. Walker and Garrett Jones led off the inning with singles, and Doumit followed with a drive to right field.

David Freese's RBI single chased McDonald in the top of the sixth, but Pittsburgh got the run back in the bottom of the inning on a throwing error by shortstop Furcal.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: