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Berkman's ninth-inning hit gets Cards past Phils

May 18, 2011 - 7:51 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Lance Berkman's bases-loaded hit in the bottom of the ninth lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to a 2-1 victory and two- game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cardinals put their first three batters on base against Danys Baez (1-2) to start the inning, though Baez got one out when Matt Holliday grounded to short and Jimmy Rollins threw home for the force play.

The Phillies then brought in J.C. Romero, but Berkman slugged his first pitch over Michael Martinez's head in center field, giving St. Louis the victory.

"I just wanted to see the ball and try to, even if you get beat a little bit, still hit a fly ball and try to get that guy in," Berkman said.

The hit made a winner of Fernando Salas (2-0), who threw a perfect top of the ninth in relief of Jaime Garcia. The Cardinals starter tossed eight dominant innings, giving up an unearned run on five hits and a walk. Garcia also struck out five.

Placido Polanco's sacrifice fly provided the only run for the offensively starved Phillies, who have dropped four in a row and scored just seven runs in that span.

What's more is Philadelphia has given up only 13 runs in those four games and wasted quality -- if not top-notch -- outings from its starters.

Roy Oswalt turned in five effective innings in his return to the mound Tuesday. He had not pitched since April 26 because lower back inflammation forced him to the disabled list.

The right-hander was activated Monday and limited St. Louis to one run on seven hits and one walk, while striking out three.

"I actually felt pretty decent coming out of the bullpen with some of my pitches," Oswalt said. "I was able to throw two or three different pitches for strikes."

Oswalt gave up the run in the fourth, when Berkman walked with one out and moved to second on Allen Craig's base hit. Yadier Molina then singled to left, and although John Mayberry Jr.'s throw to the plate was strong, Berkman slid around the tag attempt by Dane Sardinha.

The Phillies rallied in the fifth, when Wilson Valdez hit a one-out double and Sardinha followed with a walk. But after Oswalt's sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, Rollins flied out.

Philadelphia didn't have a better scoring chance than that over the first seven innings, and its only run was the byproduct of luck.

St. Louis infielder Tyler Greene, who had been inserted at second base as a defensive replacement for Craig in the seventh, failed to catch a Rollins pop- up in shallow right field with one down in the eighth.

Rollins then advanced to third on a Martinez single and scored on Polanco's fly out to center.

Antonio Bastardo got into trouble in the home eighth, but struck out pinch- hitter Nick Punto to strand runners on first and second. He took over for Kyle Kendrick, who tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Oswalt.

Rookie Michael Stutes initially began the sixth inning. However, he threw three balls to Berkman before leaving with a strain in his right side.

Game Notes

Albert Pujols was back at first base for St. Louis after starting at third (for the first time since 2002) in Monday's contest. He finished 3-for-5...The Phillies fell to 11-8 in games decided by two runs or fewer this season, and 6-5 in one-run games...Philadelphia batted just .205 on its eight-game road trip, and went 3-5.