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Cardinals edge Pirates in McClellan's first start

Apr 6, 2011 - 5:55 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Albert Pujols drove in two runs to help the St. Louis Cardinals edge the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-2, in the middle test of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.

Allen Craig knocked in a run for the Cardinals, who bounced back from a 4-3 defeat in the series opener on Monday.

"It feels good, definitely," Pujols said. "I helped the team today to win. At the end, that's what you play for."

Kyle McClellan went six innings in his first big-league start, allowing two runs on six hits. The right-hander also had seven strikeouts and one walk.

The 26-year-old was plucked from the bullpen just recently to have a go in the rotation and replace ace Adam Wainwright, who was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring. McClellan appeared in his 203rd MLB game on Tuesday.

Miguel Batista (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless frames to pick up his first win in a St. Louis uniform.

Lyle Overbay hit a two-run homer for the Pirates, who got 4 2/3 innings from starter James McDonald. The right-hander gave up two runs on four hits. McDonald went 4-5 in 11 starts for Pittsburgh down the stretch last year after coming over from the Dodgers in July.

"To almost get through five and give up two runs, it was a good step forward for him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of McDonald. "He got up in the higher 80s with his pitches from 69 last time. He needs to get in front of hitters a little bit more. He was behind a lot of hitters today."

McClellan's first big-league start did not get off to a good start, as Jose Tabata began the game with a double. Following two outs, Overbay cleared the wall in right for an early 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals got on the board in the fourth. Lance Berkman led off with a double to left and scored on Craig's single to center. David Freese then walked to put men on first and second. But Skip Schumaker grounded into a double play and Gerald Laird struck out swinging to end the inning.

St. Louis tied the game in the fifth. Ryan Theriot and Colby Rasmus hit back- to-back singles to put men on the corners with one out. Pujols' sacrifice fly to center made it a 2-2 contest.

The Cardinals went on to take the lead in the seventh. Garrett Olson (0-1) started the inning on the mound. Theriot walked and Rasmus singled to put men on first and second with one out. Chris Resop came in from the bullpen and gave up an RBI single to Pujols.

The Pirates put men on first and second with two outs in the eighth. Pedro Alvarez stepped up to the plate, but went down looking.

Ryan Franklin pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.

Game Notes

St. Louis won nine of the 15 games against Pittsburgh last season...The Pirates had eight hits...Rasmus and Craig each had two hits.

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  • Albert Pujols singled to left scoring Ryan Theriot. Runners on first and second with one out and Lance Berkman due up.

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  • Albert Pujols sacrifice fly out to center scoring Ryan Theriot. Runner on first with two outs and Lance Berkman due up.

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  • Allen Craig singled to center scoring Lance Berkman. Runner on second with none out and David Freese due up.

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  • Lyle Overbay two-out, two-run Home Run (1) to right scored Jose Tabata. Pedro Alvarez due up.

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  • Jose Tabata doubled to center. Runner on second with none out and Neil Walker due up.

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