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Paulino keys offensive explosion as Pirates blast Cardinals

Aug 2, 2007 - 4:08 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- If the Pittsburgh Pirates were trying to make a statement, Ronny Paulino put an exclamation point on it.

Paulino keyed an offensive eruption with his first career grand slam and Tony Armas Jr. tossed six-plus solid innings as the Pirates clubbed the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, 15-1, on Wednesday.

The Pirates, just 3-14 since the All-Star break, set season highs in runs and hits (20) on their way to ending the Cardinals' hopes of winning their season-high fifth straight game.

"It's nice, but it's just one game though," said Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez, who tied a career high with four hits. "We haven't been playing very well since the second half started, so it's just nice to come out and get a win. No matter how many runs we score, we need to get wins, and that's what we're aiming for."

Paulino, whose defensive miscues in Tuesday's contest kept alive the Cardinals' pivotal sixth inning, entered the contest batting just .184 against righthanders. He wasted little time vindicating himself by launching a pitch from St. Louis starter Braden Looper (8-9) into the left field stands for the Pirates' first grand slam of the season.

"Last night made me see how many people believe in me," Paulino said. "There's a lot of people that tell me I can play, so that got me a little more motivated to show the next day that I can come with my confidence back and play hard.

"I hit it pretty good, but it was a line drive, so I was not sure. I think (scoring five runs in the first) helped everybody to get confident because everybody was hitting the ball pretty good tonight."

The homer capped a five-run first and was Paulino's first in 112 at-bats for Pittsburgh, which improved to 37-36 in games in which the catcher has started.

Armas (1-3), who was making his first start since May 17, lasted a season-best 6 1/3 innings, yielding only a solo homer by Aaron Miles and three singles while striking out five. Prior to this outing, the righthander had been 0-3 with an 8.46 ERA in seven starts before being demoted to the bullpen.

"It's been a tough time I've been having (this season), but I'm just happy I got into a groove (tonight)," Armas said. "It's a good feeling. I'm just happy to be back (in the win column) and I'm having fun. What can I say, I'm just happy right now."

Adam LaRoche and Jack Wilson each hit solo shots for Pittsburgh, which improved to 15-5 in contests in which it hits two or more homers and scored the most runs in a game since tallying 18 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on June 11, 2005.

Of the first eight hitters in the Pirates' starting lineup, only Nate McLouth did not have at least two hits. Ryan Doumit was the only starting position player without an RBI.

"We swung the bats (well), and the biggest key to that is having good at-bats at the plate and not just going up there and swinging at everything," Wilson said. "We made him get the ball over the plate; we took advantage of 2-0, 2-1, 3-1 counts and squared a lot of balls up today, and that's what good-hitting teams do. Hopefully, that's a sign of things to come."

Looper allowed seven runs and eight hits in just four innings, but his line paled in comparison to that of Mike Maroth. Demoted to the bullpen after six unimpressive starts, the lefthander surrendered seven runs and nine hits in 1 2/3 frames of relief.

"You feel for the guy; it's a tough game," Miles said of Maroth. "Sometimes when you get in a rut, it's hard to get out, and I think that he was trying his best out there. We were trying behind him, but the ball seemed to find the holes."








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 0
    PITTSBURGH 5 0 2 0 0 1 0 7 x 15 20 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - BRADEN LOOPER, BRAD THOMPSON (5TH), MIKE MAROTH (7TH), TROY
    PERCIVAL (8TH) AND YADIER MOLINA, GARY BENNETT (5TH)
    PIT - TONY ARMAS, JOHN GRABOW (7TH), DAMASO M

    Aug 1 9:41 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY JASON BAY SCORED FREDDY SANCHEZ.
    SITUATION: 7 RUNS IN, J BAY ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 15 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R DOUMIT (.278, 2-FOR-3, BB)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:28 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ADAM LAROCHE SCORED JOSE BAUTISTA.
    SITUATION: 6 RUNS IN, F SANCHEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 14 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAY (.262, 2-FOR-3, BB, RBI)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:26 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND RULE DOUBLE BY FREDDY SANCHEZ SCORED NATE MCLOUTH.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, F SANCHEZ ON SECOND, J BAUTISTA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 13 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: A LAROCHE (.247, 2-FOR-4, HR, RBI)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:24 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOSE BAUTISTA SCORED JACK WILSON AND JOSE
    CASTILLO.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, J BAUTISTA ON FIRST, N MCLOUTH ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 12 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: F SANCHEZ (.295, 3-FOR-4)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:23 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY NATE MCLOUTH SCORED RONNY PAULINO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, N MCLOUTH ON FIRST, J CASTILLO ON SECOND, J
    WILSON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 10 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAUTISTA (.258, 1-FOR-4)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:20 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    JOSE CASTILLO HIT BY MIKE MAROTH PITCH WITH BASES LOADED
    SCORED JASON BAY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J CASTILLO ON FIRST, J WILSON ON SECOND, R
    PAULINO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1
    PITTSBURGH 9 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: N MCLOUTH (.226, 0-FOR-4)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 9:18 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JACK WILSON (5) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF BRAD THOMPSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1, PITTSBURGH 8
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: T ARMAS (.200, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 8:39 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY AARON MILES (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF TONY ARMAS.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 1, PITTSBURGH 7
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J EDMONDS (.224, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 8:29 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACK WILSON SCORED JASON BAY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, 1 LEFT ON, 3 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 0
    PITTSBURGH 7 END BOTTOM, 3RD

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 8:02 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY ADAM LAROCHE (15) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 1
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF BRADEN LOOPER.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 0, PITTSBURGH 6
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J BAY (.260, 1-FOR-1, RBI)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 7:54 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY RONNY PAULINO (6) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    1ST OFF BRADEN LOOPER SCORED ADAM LAROCHE, JASON BAY AND RYAN
    DOUMIT.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 0, PITTSBURGH 5
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: J WILSON (.252, 4 HR, 28 RBI)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 7:28 PM


  • NL
    AT PITTSBURGH - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BAY SCORED FREDDY SANCHEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BAY ON FIRST, A LAROCHE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 0
    PITTSBURGH 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: R DOUMIT (.273, 8 HR, 28 RBI)

    Cardinals vs. PiratesAug 1 7:22 PM