for this game

Ankiel, Looper help Cardinals edge Nationals

Apr 5, 2008 - 5:07 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- With the way Braden Looper was pitching, it would have been a crusher to see the win get away. Rick Ankiel ensured it wouldn't happen.

Braden Looper pitched six strong innings and Ankiel homered to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Cesar Izturis, Brian Barton and Albert Pujols each doubled for the Cardinals, who nearly squandered a 5-1 lead in the seventh inning before righthander Kyle McClellan came on and escaped a bases-loaded jam.

"He pitched so well," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said of Looper. "The Nationals are playing so well and they mounted a heck of a comeback. I thought even if we win this thing, it would be a shame for this decision to get away from him. Loop is really good."

Ankiel's two-run blast - his second homer of the season - set the tone for St. Louis in the first inning. With Brian Barton on second base following a leadoff double, Ankiel pounded the first pitch he saw from Nationals starter Odalis Perez (0-1) over the right field wall for a quick 2-0 lead.

"With the runner on second I was just trying to get the guy over to third and he gave me a pitch on the inner half," Ankiel said. "I think when when you go up there you just try to take the at-bat for what the situation calls and go from there."

The 28-year-old pitcher-turned-outfielder also showed off in the field, making a pair of catches at the wall to help the Cardinals maintain the lead.

Looper (1-0) yielded one run and five hits in six frames while striking out three and issuing a pair of walks to earn his first win of the season.

"I'm happy we won," Looper said. "I felt like for the most part I accomplished what I was trying to do. I felt like I was able to make some pitches and get some ground balls. I haven't felt as good mechanically lately and I've just been able to adjust within the game. You can't be too disappointed with the outcome."

The lone blemish on Looper's line came in the fourth inning when Ronnie Belliard halved the deficit with a fielder's choice, scoring Austin Kearns from third base to make it 2-1.

Looper helped his own cause with an RBI groundout in the fifth, and Aaron Miles and Yadier Molina each provided RBI singles to push the Cardinals lead to 5-1.

Perez was charged with all five runs and eight hits in four innings, walking four and striking out two.

The journeyman lefthander could not match the success of his Opening Night debut from Sunday, when he pitched five strong innings against the Atlanta Braves.

"I've been having problems facing the Cardinals," Perez said. "They might have my pitches, especially Pujols. It wasn't my best game of all. We battled but we couldn't finish it. But you know, we'll get them next time.

Russ Springer relieved Looper in the seventh and immediately surrendered a homer to Cristian Guzman and two more singles to Lastings Milledge and Ryan Zimmerman. Ron Villone came on and walked Nick Johnson to load the bases before yielding to McClellan.

The righthander allowed a pair of inherited runners to score, but struck out Kearns and Felipe Lopez and forced Willie Harris to ground out, holding the lead at 5-4.

"We left 13 guys on bases but I thought we played a good ballgame," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "These guys are not going to come through on every opportunity they have with runners in scoring position. But they battled. We just have to give credit to Looper."

Jason Isringhausen pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second save of the season.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 4 10 0
    ST LOUIS 2 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 x 5 9 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - ODALIS PEREZ, CHRIS SCHRODER (5TH), JOEL HANRAHAN (6TH), SAUL
    RIVERA (7TH) AND PAUL LO DUCA
    STL - BRADEN LOOPER, RUSS SPRINGER (7TH), RON VILLONE
    (7TH), KYLE

    Apr 4 11:28 PM
  • 40
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 4, Cardinals 5  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 4 11:12 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RONNIE BELLIARD SCORED RYAN ZIMMERMAN.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R BELLIARD ON FIRST, P LO DUCA ON SECOND, N
    JOHNSON ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4
    ST LOUIS 5 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: F LOPEZ (.250, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Nationals 4, Cardinals 5  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 4 10:45 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO PAUL LO DUCA SCORED LASTINGS MILLEDGE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, P LO DUCA ON FIRST, N JOHNSON ON SECOND, R
    ZIMMERMAN ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    ST LOUIS 5 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.167, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Nationals 3, Cardinals 5  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 4 10:42 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CRISTIAN GUZMAN (1) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF RUSS SPRINGER.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2, ST LOUIS 5
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: L MILLEDGE (.250, 0-FOR-3)

    Nationals 2, Cardinals 5  Top 7, 0 OutsApr 4 10:24 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YADIER MOLINA SCORED RYAN LUDWICK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y MOLINA ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    ST LOUIS 5 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: C IZTURIS (.111, 1-FOR-1, HBP)

    Nationals 1, Cardinals 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsApr 4 9:56 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY AARON MILES SCORED CESAR IZTURIS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A MILES ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    ST LOUIS 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: B BARTON (.500, 1-FOR-2)

    Nationals 1, Cardinals 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsApr 4 9:31 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY BRADEN LOOPER SCORED YADIER MOLINA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C IZTURIS ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    ST LOUIS 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A MILES (.333, 0-FOR-1)

    Nationals 1, Cardinals 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsApr 4 9:30 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY RONNIE BELLIARD SCORED AUSTIN KEARNS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R BELLIARD ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 1
    ST LOUIS 2 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: F LOPEZ (.167, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Nationals 1, Cardinals 2  Top 4, 0 OutsApr 4 9:20 PM


  • NL
    AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY RICK ANKIEL (2) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 1ST OFF ODALIS PEREZ SCORED BRIAN BARTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0, ST LOUIS 2
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A PUJOLS (.500, 0 HR, 1 RBI)

    Nationals 0, Cardinals 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsApr 4 8:24 PM
  • 5
    roots
    Againigan Added 5 roots

    Nationals vs. CardinalsApr 4 3:25 PM