Finley shows his strength, pushes Cards up by five

Thursday, August 22, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Chuck Finley may be 39 years old, but he still has plenty of life left in his arm.

Finley struck out 10 in eight innings and Scott Rolen hit a two-run triple as the Cardinals beat the Pirates 4-1 Wednesday night for their 10th win in 12 games. He has 2,575 career strikeouts and needs six to tie Bob Feller for 20th place on the career strikeout list.

The Cardinals' win puts them five games ahead in theNLCentral standings.

"Oh geez, that just tells me I'm getting old and I need to get out of here," Finley said. "I just keep chugging along, I stay off the operating table and I take my turn every fifth day.

"It's nice to start moving up the ladder with some of the Hall of Famers that kind of established the backbone of this game."

The Pirates weren't buying any of that "old guy" stuff.

"He hasn't been one of the best left-handers in the game for this long because he doesn't know how to pitch," Brian Giles said. "He's going to help them out in the postseason."

La Russa moving up

The victory was the 1,887th in 24 seasons for manager Tony La Russa, moving him into the top 10 ahead of Hall of Famer Bill McKechnie. La Russa said he was more excited that the NL Central leaders matched their season best of 16 games above .500 (70-54).

The Cardinals scored all their runs off Josh Fogg (11-9) with two outs. Jim Edmonds walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded for the game's first run in the third and Albert Pujols hit an RBI single before Rolen's fourth triple in 20 games gave the Cardinals in a three-run fifth.

Jason Isringhausen worked the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances. He's 9-for-9 since the All-Star break and hasn't allowed a hit or a walk in seven games in August.

Isringhausen, working for the first time in seven days, needed only five pitches to retire the Pirates' 2-3-4 hitters in order.

"Where's the rust?" La Russa said. "He was as sharp as he could be, and he retired the middle of their lineup, too. That's hard work."

The Pirates' run came on a pinch-hit homer by Keith Osik with one out in the sixth. The Pirates, who have lost 11 of 15, hit a season-high five homers in an 8-0 victory on Tuesday.

Brian Giles, who was 0-for-3, said he short-circuited another scoring opportunity when he lined out to first baseman Tino Martinez with runners on the corners and nobody out in the fourth.

"It's dumb hitting," Giles said. "The guy's been playing there for a hundred-some years."

Finley, acquired in July from the Cleveland Indians, was 1-3 in four August starts and the Cardinals were shut out in two of the games. He allowed three hits and walked two to beat Fogg for the second time this year.

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