for this game

Ankiel homers twice, continues remarkable comeback in Cardinals win

Aug 12, 2007 - 3:32 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- The amazing story of Rick Ankiel's return to the major leagues just keeps getting better.

Ankiel recorded his first career multi-homer game and Braden Looper carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the St. Louis Cardinals posted a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

It has been a remarkable journey from top pitching prospect to power-hitting outfielder for the 28-year-old Ankiel, who homered in his first game Thursday after being called up from Class AAA Memphis.

"He's had enough hard knocks that he's definitely not going to get too excited and celebrate too much," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He's got a lot of paying back to this game to do. There's no danger that he's going to start getting ahead of himself."

Ankiel started his major league career as one of the game's young pitchers and won 11 games as a 20-year-old rookie in 2000. He then fell apart in the postseason, throwing nine wild pitches, and after years of injuries, he announced a switch to the outfield in 2005.

Ankiel hit 21 homers that season for Class A Quad Cities and Class AA Springfield, then spent 2006 on the disabled list with a knee injury before making a miraculous comeback this campaign.

The lefthanded hitter added another page to the story with a two-run homer off Dodgers starter Derek Lowe (8-11) in the first inning and a solo blast in the seventh off Roberto Hernandez, helping the Cardinals to their third win in four games.

"I'm just excited," Ankiel said of his multi-homer game. "(But) don't hold me to days like this."

After hitting 32 homers in the minors, Ankiel had his contract purchased Thursday and hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning off Doug Brocail of the San Diego Padres.

Aaron Miles singled to lead off the first and Ankiel blasted a first-pitch fastball from Lowe over the right field wall for a 2-0 lead. He took a curtain call upon his return to the dugout.

"It wouldn't matter if he started off 0-for-16," Lowe said. "To be a pitcher, and then all of a sudden say, 'I'm going to become a hitter and make it to the major leagues.' St. Louis is in a pennant race, they're not just calling this guy up for a feel-good story. I'm amazed at what he can do. I know I couldn't stop pitching and become a major league hitter."

"That two-run home run in the first inning was pretty nice," Looper said. "As a starting pitcher, to get two runs on the board like that is pretty nice."

Ankiel then added a two-out solo shot to right in the seventh for a 6-1 lead.

Meanwhile, Looper (10-9) issued only a walk until Nomar Garciaparra's leadoff single in the fifth inning.

Looper had little trouble with the Dodgers, who have been shut out in four of the last eight games - scoring just 15 runs in that span. The righthander held Los Angeles' futile offense to one run and four hits in six innings.

"We hit some balls good out there today," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "We're just still in kind of a rut. We just have to keep swinging, battling and get out of it."

Tyler Johnson started the seventh in relief of Looper and allowed a leadoff double by Andre Ethier. Russ Springer came on and retired the next three batters, and Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson followed with a scoreless inning apiece to secure the victory.

The Cardinals expanded their lead to 5-0 in the third, when Albert Pujols hit an RBI groundout and Jim Edmonds delivered a two-run single. Two errors by shortstop Rafael Furcal made the three-run rally possible.

Adam Kennedy lead off the inning with a grounder that Furcal booted. Miles and Ankiel singled and Furcal bobbled Pujols' grounder, allowing a run to score.

Luis Gonzalez drove in the lone run with a double in the sixth for the Dodgers (60-56), who have lost nine of 11 and fell six games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks (67-51) in the National League West Division.

Meanwhile, Lowe continued to struggle, allowing five runs - three earned - and seven hits in six innings. He remained winless since June 27, a span of eight starts.

"Sometimes you get in these bad rolls where it seems like wins are so hard to come by," Lowe said. "There's really no magic potion you can take. You can't feel sorry for yourself and put your head in the sand. You have to go out there and expect to win."








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

    BATTERIES: LOS - DEREK LOWE, ROBERTO HERNANDEZ (7TH), RUDY SEANEZ (8TH) AND
    RUSSELL MARTIN
    STL - BRADEN LOOPER, TYLER JOHNSON (7TH), RUSS SPRINGER
    (7TH), RYAN FRANKLIN (8TH),

    Aug 11 6:24 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RICK ANKIEL (3) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    7TH OFF ROBERTO HERNANDEZ.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 1, ST LOUIS 6
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.311, 0-FOR-3, RBI)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 5:58 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY LUIS GONZALEZ SCORED JAMES LONEY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, L GONZALEZ ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 1
    ST LOUIS 5 TOP, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR LA DODGERS: N GARCIAPARRA (.282, 1-FOR-2)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 5:32 PM
  • 0
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 43 roots

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 5:11 PM
  • 43
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 43 roots (No-hitter)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 5:01 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JIM EDMONDS SCORED AARON MILES AND RICK ANKIEL.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, J EDMONDS ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    ST LOUIS 5 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: C DUNCAN (.280, 0-FOR-1)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 4:43 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED ADAM KENNEDY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A PUJOLS ON FIRST, R ANKIEL ON SECOND, A
    MILES ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0
    ST LOUIS 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J EDMONDS (.239, 0-FOR-1)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 4:42 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY RICK ANKIEL (2) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 1ST OFF DEREK LOWE SCORED AARON MILES.
    CURRENT SCORE: LA DODGERS 0, ST LOUIS 2
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.314, 24 HR, 74 RBI)

    Dodgers vs. CardinalsAug 11 4:08 PM