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Cardinals defeat Rockies to take series

Aug 15, 2011 - 6:05 AM St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Albert Pujols hit a monstrous homer during a four-run first inning, helping the Cardinals to a 6-2 victory over the Rockies in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Yadier Molina finished with three hits and two RBI for St. Louis, which got a strong effort from several relievers to close its homestand with a victory and a 3-3 mark.

Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson (2-1) was pulled with one out in the sixth inning because of cramping in his right hamstring. He allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks, and departed the game with two runners on base.

However, Jason Motte got St. Louis out of the inning, and Octavio Dotel struck out two to strand the bases loaded in the seventh. Dotel faced five total batters and struck out four of them.

Colorado certainly had opportunities, but went just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine on base. Mark Ellis homered and Troy Tulowitzki hit an RBI single in the first inning, but the Rockies didn't score again and lost their 17th consecutive Sunday game.

Judging by the top half of the first inning, it seemed like Colorado would snap that streak.

Ellis was the second batter up and jumped on a first-pitch fastball, hitting it over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead. Carlos Gonzalez followed with a ground-rule double to left and scored on Tulowitzki's base hit, and Todd Helton kept the rally going with a walk.

After Seth Smith popped out, Ty Wigginton walked to end a nine-pitch plate appearance, load the bases and prompt a coaching visit to the mound.

However, Jackson got out of the jam by striking out Chris Iannetta. Despite throwing 37 pitches and facing eight batters, he had allowed only two runs -- a deficit Pujols erased in the bottom half.

With Rafael Furcal on base and one out, Pujols got a 1-0 fastball near the knees and toward the inside half of the zone, and crushed it to left field. The ball sailed over the seats and bounced around in the concourse.

"That's an Albert home run," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "He hit that ball on the line with the underspin, it wasn't one of those fly balls. That ball was really struck perfectly.

Matt Holliday walked before consecutive two-out doubles by David Freese and Molina made it a 4-2 game.

Those were the only runs given up by Rockies starter Esmil Rogers (6-2) in five innings, but they were enough.

Jackson kept his team in the lead thanks to double-play grounders in the second, third and fourth innings. But he gave up one-out singles to Todd Helton and Smith in the sixth, and left the game after throwing three balls to Wigginton.

However, Motte saved the inning for St. Louis, getting Wigginton to fly out and Iannetta to ground out.

The Rockies had another chance to score in the seventh, putting two on base with one out against Kyle McClellan. Veteran Arthur Rhodes was then summoned from the bullpen for his first appearance since the Cardinals signed him last Thursday, and walked Gonzalez.

The walk loaded the bases for the heart of the Rockies' lineup. However, Dotel fanned Tulowitzki before freezing Helton on a third-strike breaking ball to end the threat.

"It's kind of how it's been," Tulowitzki said. "We haven't gotten the big hit when we need it. But I'd love to be up in that big situation. Sometimes you come through, sometimes you don't."

It was a back-breaking failure for Colorado. Molina and Skip Schumaker singled in runs in the bottom half to push the Cardinals' lead to four, and Dotel and Fernando Salas closed the game over the final two innings.

Game Notes

Rockies third base coach Rich Dauer suffered a broken nose during batting practice, when he was hit by a throw from infielder Chris Nelson, according to He was taken to a hospital for tests and returned to the clubhouse during the game...Rogers walked seven, gave up six hits and struck out five...The Cardinals went 3-for-7 with RISP and stranded 10...Pujols' homer was his 29th of the season...Colorado won its first two Sunday games of the season.

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    Rockies 2, Cardinals 6  FinalAug 15 11:16 AM

    ST. LOUIS: 6

    Aug 14 11:40 PM

  • Skip Schumaker singled to left center scored David Freese. On the play, Yadier Molina advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Octavio Dotel due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 6  Bot 7, 2 OutsAug 14 11:13 PM

  • Yadier Molina singled to right scored Lance Berkman. On the play, David Freese advances to third. Runners on first and third with two outs and Skip Schumaker due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 5  Bot 7, 2 OutsAug 14 11:12 PM
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    Steven Added 5 roots

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 4  Top 7, 1 OutAug 14 10:54 PM

  • Yadier Molina doubled to left scored David Freese. Runner on second with two outs and Skip Schumaker due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 4  Bot 1, 2 OutsAug 14 8:47 PM

  • David Freese doubled to right center scored Matt Holliday. Runner on second with two outs and Yadier Molina due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 3  Bot 1, 2 OutsAug 14 8:44 PM
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    Rockies 2, Cardinals 3  Bot 1, 2 OutsAug 14 8:44 PM

  • Albert Pujols one-out, two-run Home Run (29) to left center scored Rafael Furcal. Matt Holliday due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 2  Bot 1, 1 OutAug 14 8:39 PM
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    Rockies 2, Cardinals 2  Bot 1, 1 OutAug 14 8:39 PM

  • Troy Tulowitzki singled to center scored Carlos Gonzalez. Runner on first with one out and Todd Helton due up.

    Rockies 2, Cardinals 0  Top 1, 1 OutAug 14 8:19 PM

  • Carlos Gonzalez ground-rule double to left. Runner on second with one out and Troy Tulowitzki due up.

    Rockies 1, Cardinals 0  Top 1, 1 OutAug 14 8:16 PM

    ST. LOUIS: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Aug 14 8:12 PM
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    Rockies vs. CardinalsAug 14 9:17 AM