July 13, 2008

Glaus, Ludwick, Miles go long in Cards win

Home runs contributed by Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Miles, and Troy Glaus accounted for five of the Cardinals' 11 runs in a first half finale versus the Pittsburgh Pirates today.

The bullpen was able to cool the recently hot Bucs' bats at the same time, the Cardinals avoiding a repeat of last night's extra inning loss after a huge Pirates' comeback. Russ Springer came on for Joel Pineiro in the sixth when the Pirates' Chris Gomez doubled home Sean Burnett and Nate McClouth to take the lead at 6-5. After Pineiro walked the next hitter, manager Tony La Russ called on Springer, who needed only one pitch to get Jason Bay to pop out and squash the rally.

The Cards had plenty of offense again, Aaron Miles driving a three-run homer into the right field seats in the fourth inning, his blast giving the Cards a 4-1 lead. In the seventh, with the Cards down one run, Glaus doubled home Ludwick to tie the game at six-all. Chris Duncan had an RBI single in the seventh inning, and a few batters later, Aaron Miles hit a two-RBI triple, giving him five RBIs on the day. The Cards had a 9-6 lead.

With bad memories form last night's game undoubtedly lingering, Ryan Ludwick cracked a home run to left field, tacking on what La Russa could only hope was in insurance run.

Troy Glaus dittoed in the ninth, launching one into the Cardinals bullpen in dead center field, extending the lead to 11-6.

With the offense maintaining good production and Pineiro keeping them close for almost six full innings, the nerves had begun to rattle when La Russa started plucking relievers from the bullpen and planting them on the mound.

Springer held his own, providing a specialist's display with his one-pitch de-jamming of Pineiro's rough sixth inning.

Kyle McClellan came on to start the seventh, and worked through the eighth, giving up only one hit. The rookie had a tough outing last night, but held it together well today, paving the way for closer Ryan Franklin.

Franklin worked a scoreless ninth, allowing only Ryan Doumit to get on base with a single.

Rick Ankiel, who had slightly injured his leg while batting last night, made a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh, flying out to right field.

The 11-6 win takes the Cardinals into the All-Star break with a 53-43 record. The next game will take place on July 17, Thursday, when the Cards start a home stand versus the San Diego Padres.
photo by David Watson