for this game

Cardinals down Phils, Lee has rare off night

May 17, 2011 - 3:42 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Jake Westbrook threw seven strong innings in outpitching Cliff Lee, as the Cardinals edged the Phillies, 3-1, in the opener of a two-game set.

Westbrook (3-3) gave up one run on four hits and three walks, and picked up his first win since April 24. The performance helped St. Louis recover from this past weekend, when it was swept in three games by Cincinnati.

"It's always big to end a losing streak," Westbrook said. "You always want to be out there, the guy who shuts it down and gets a win."

The performance also helped the Cardinals beat Lee (2-4), who allowed all three St. Louis runs in 6 1/3 innings and issued a career-high six walks. The left-hander had walked just seven batters in his first eight starts this season, and only 18 in 2010, when he pitched 212 1/3 innings.

Lee also allowed six hits and struck out four as the Phillies lost their season-high third straight game.

"I felt like I threw a lot of strikes that were called balls, but whatever, it is what it is," Lee said. "I'm the pitcher and he's the umpire, and it's his job to call balls and strikes, and he felt like they were balls, I guess."

Lee's outing was hardly the only aberration in Monday's game, which featured Albert Pujols starting at third base.

Manager Tony La Russa was back in the dugout after missing the Cardinals' recent six-game road trip because of an eye problem, and initially had Pujols playing at his usual first base position, according to But the report said La Russa made the switch after Pujols offered to play third, and he started there for the first time since 2002.

The shift put Lance Berkman at first base, Nick Punto at second and Ryan Theriot at shortstop. With Westbrook, a sinker ball pitcher, on the mound, the infield handled the 12 groundouts he induced without an error.

Westbrook didn't allow the Phillies many opportunities. They had only three chances with runners in scoring position and took advantage once. That was in the second inning, when John Mayberry Jr. grounded into a fielder's choice, stole second and scored on Ben Francisco's single.

But otherwise Philadelphia came up empty. After Jimmy Rollins hit a ground- rule double in the third, Wilson Valdez grounded out to end the inning. He also grounded into a fielder's choice with two on and two away in the fifth.

Lee, on the other hand, battled through a rare lack of control.

He had escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first and faced the minimum in the second and third, but couldn't avoid trouble after walking Matt Holliday and Berkman to begin the fourth.

Yadier Molina reached on an infield single to load the bases with one out, and Punto delivered by lining a single to right field. After Westbrook struck out, Theriot plated Berkman with a single to right, though Molina was thrown out at home on the play.

St. Louis scored its third run in the seventh, which Punto began with a single. After he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, Lee walked Theriot and Jon Jay hit an RBI single to center.

The Cardinals' bullpen made the lead stand. Eduardo Sanchez worked a scoreless eighth and Fernando Salas pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.

Game Notes

Ryan Howard walked three times for the Phillies...Lee threw 122 pitches, 72 for strikes...The teams split eight meetings last season.