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Angels hold off late rally, avoid Cards' sweep
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals just missed winning for Jack Buck one last time.
After an estimated 10,000 mourners filed past Buck's casket near home plate and the longtime broadcaster was honored in a memorial service, the Cardinals threatened in the ninth inning before failing to sweep the Anaheim Angels in a 3-2 loss Thursday.
"The organization made it such a well-done day," said catcher Mike Matheny, one of the speakers at the memorial service. "Everybody in here was kind of choked up by the whole thing. Right up to the end of the ninth."
Scott Schoeneweis allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings and David Eckstein had three hits and scored twice for Anaheim. St. Louis won 7-2 on Wednesday, a day after the 77-year-old Buck died.
"He was like the 10th man," Schoeneweis said. "It gives them a boost and a little something extra."
The Angels avoided a three-game sweep and ended a four-game losing streak. They also put a halt to the Cardinals' five-game winning streak as Troy Percival stranded two runners in the ninth for his 15th save in 17 chances. Percival worked around a one-out triple to Edgar Renteria.
"I first thought, it's miserably hot out here and if I let them tie it up, my players are going to have a mutiny," Percival said.
The Cardinals held a 4 1/2-hour viewing for Buck beginning more than seven hours before game time, with fans filing past the broadcaster's cherrywood casket just behind home plate. Buck's son, Joe, led the memorial service that also featured speeches by Stan Musial, Lou Brock, manager Tony La Russa, broadcaster Mike Shannon and former announcing cohort Dan Dierdorf.
"I like Dierdorf's comment the best: What he did from that booth was just the smallest portion of what he was," La Russa said. "He was such an incredible man in so many ways."
Buck's initials, JFB, again were etched in the grass beyond the center-field wall and in the dirt behind second base. There was a moment of silence in honor of Buck and highlights from his 48-year career as broadcaster with the Cardinals were played between innings.
Eli Marrero produced both of the Cardinals' runs with an RBI single in the second and his sixth home run in the seventh. The homer off Alan Levine cut the gap to 3-2, but the Cardinals went quietly after that.
Marrero struck out for the second out in the ninth, taking big cuts on the first two strikes.
"I wished he'd waited for a low strike," La Russa said.
Schoeneweis (6-5) gave up six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in his first career appearance against the Cardinals. He's won three of his last four starts.
Cardinals starter Bud Smith (0-5) struggled with his control and lasted 4 2-3 innings, giving up two runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk.
Smith, who had a no hitter against the Padres last September, has lost a career-high six straight decisions dating to Oct. 3, 2001, at Milwaukee -- his last start of last season.
Eckstein led off the game with a double on a ball bobbled at the wall by left fielder Miguel Cairo, Smith hit Darin Erstad with a pitch and Troy Glaus singled to load the bases with nobody out. Tim Salmon hit an RBI single with one out and Scott Spiezio added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
"I have to catch that ball," Cairo said. "I messed it up."
Cairo also had a tough day on the basepaths, getting doubled off second in the second on Mike Matheny's flyout to shallow center.
Marrero's RBI single in the second cut the gap to a run and Erstad's RBI single restored the Angels' two-run lead in the seventh.
Notes: The Angels were outscored 28-13 during the losing streak. ... Despite the loss, the Cardinals have won 15 of 19 at home and entered the game a major league-best 23-11 at home. ... Glaus, in a 12-for-86 slump, including his last 11 at-bats without a hit, was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. ... Cardinals P Woody Williams struck out as a pinch-hitter. ... Placido Polanco singled in the sixth to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, best on the team this season.