Looper dominant as Cardinals beat Young, PadresMay 13, 2007 - 6:33 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- The light-hitting St. Louis Cardinals put an emphatic end to Chris Young's success at Petco Park.
Braden Looper started a third-inning uprising and pitched seven outstanding innings as the Cardinals downed the San Diego Padres, 5-0, on Saturday.
After being blanked by Jake Peavy and the San Diego bullpen on Friday, St. Louis appeared to draw another tough assignment against Young, who had tossed 15 scoreless innings in two starts here this season. But the majors' lowest scoring team (105 runs in 33 games) mustered a five-spot against Young with help from left fielder Terrmel Sledge.
"Obviously, we're struggling (to score) runs, and we scored five and that was enough for us to win today," St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols said. "Looper just did an outstanding job. It was unbelievable. He kept the ball down and made good pitches when he needed to."
Looper started the frame with a one-out double to right - his fifth career hit in 24 at-bats - and Adam Kennedy followed with a single to center field. After Chris Duncan drew a walk to load the bases, Pujols lofted a deep fly ball to the left field fence that bounced out of the glove of Sledge, allowing one run to score.
"I got lucky with a base hit down the line," Looper said. "I'm not going to tell you it was skill. Lucky for me, it started a rally, because we didn't score after that. The guys came up with some big hits after that, even Albert's. I thought that ball was gone. It worked out all right in the end."
"Obviously, that's what I wanted was to hit that ball in the air, but that's a ball that should be caught," Pujols said. "It's a break. The last thing I wanted to do was hit a ground-ball double play and end that rally right there. I kept that rally going and we end up scoring five runs."
Jim Edmonds followed with a sacrifice fly to center field for a 2-0 edge and Scott Rolen walked to reload the bases before So Taguchi lined a bases-clearing double just over the glove of a diving Sledge, who appeared to take a bad route to the ball.
"It looked as though (Sledge) didn't quite have his bearings on where he was," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I'm not concerned. I still think that our outfield play overall has been very good.
The inning continued a curious trend for the Cardinals. In their last nine games, they have scored all of their runs for a game in one inning five times and have been shut out three times.
"It wasn't my best outing, but it wasn't my worst," Young said. "I fell behind too many hitters. They are a good-hitting team, you have to make good pitches to them, and a couple of times tonight I made some mistakes and they got me."
While Looper (5-2) jump-started the offense, he stopped the Padres cold in their tracks. The converted reliever yielded just three hits and a walk while striking out a career-high seven batters in his eighth career start - all this season - after making 572 consecutive relief appearances. He lowered his ERA to 2.29.
"They've got some tough lefties in the lineup," Looper said. "If you make a mistake to those guys, they're going to make you pay. I was able to keep the ball down, throw fastballs away early in the count and get them with the (split-finger). Just pitching. I've said that all along that I really need to become a pitcher and not a thrower."
Looper yielded a two-out single to Mike Cameron in the first, a one-out double by Geoff Blum in the third, a two-out walk to Josh Bard in the fifth and a leadoff single in the sixth by Oscar Robles. Blum was the only baserunner to reach second base.
"It was just another really good (start)," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He had a good attack, he made a bunch of good pitches. The two biggest hits of the night were his and So's. That really turned the game around for us. He did it all."
The 32-year-old has been one of the few bright spots in a dismal season for the defending world champions, who are just 15-19. The righthander has lasted at least six innings in seven of his eight starts and has yielded two runs or less six times.
"As far as the survival thing, you better believe it, he's been the most clutch guy we have," La Russa said. "He's a complete pitcher. There are times when you try to prevent the ball from being put in play, and he's got strikeout pitches, and if he can go after them and have those short innings, he can go deep like he did today."
Russ Springer worked a scoreless eighth and Tyler Johnson completed the four-hitter.
Young departed with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, but Justin Hampson entered and retired Adam Kennedy and Duncan to keep the Padres just five runs down.
Young (4-3), who entered 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his previous six starts at Petco, was charged with just one earned run, six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
"I think (Young's) overall command was probably not where it has been the last couple of starts," Black said. "The four walks are uncharacteristic of (him). That's probably the only thing I noticed in this outing was that the command was maybe not there as it has been."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
ST LOUIS 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 7 0
SAN DIEGO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: STL - BRADEN LOOPER, RUSS SPRINGER (8TH), TYLER JOHNSON (9TH) AND
SDG - CHRIS YOUNG, JUSTIN HAMPSON (6TH), DOUG BROCAIL
(9TH) AND JOSH BARD
May 13 12:46 AM
AT SAN DIEGO - SCORING UPDATE
DOUBLE BY SO TAGUCHI SCORED CHRIS DUNCAN, ALBERT PUJOLS AND
SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, S TAGUCHI ON SECOND, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
SAN DIEGO 0 TOP, 3RD
DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: Y MOLINA (.262, 0-FOR-1)
Cardinals vs. PadresMay 12 11:00 PM
AT SAN DIEGO - SCORING UPDATE
SACRIFICE FLY BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED BRADEN LOOPER.
SACRIFICE FLY BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED ADAM KENNEDY.
SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A PUJOLS ON FIRST, C DUNCAN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2
SAN DIEGO 0 TOP, 3RD
DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J EDMONDS (.210, 1-FOR-1)
Cardinals vs. PadresMay 12 10:52 PM
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