for this game

Cardinals get back on track with pounding of Braves

Jul 29, 2008 - 4:39 AM By Phil Foley PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The struggling St. Louis Cardinals took advantage of the injury-depleted Atlanta Braves on Monday.

Joe Mather homered, had three hits and drove in two runs and Albert Pujols drove in three runs to lead the Cardinals to a 12-3 rout of the decimated Braves.

Yadier Molina plated two in a four-run third and Braden Looper hurled seven solid frames to lead St. Louis to just their second victory in their last eight games.

"It was a big first game," St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick said. "We have to roll with it. It was a boost. ... We know that (Atlanta is) missing guys. Chipper Jones leads the league in hitting, Brian McCann is an All-Star guy. Tim Hudson, he's doing it year in and year out.

"Anytime you have three key guys like that (out), you can look at it as an advantage, but you have to look it like any other game. You have to win."

The Cardinals jumped all over Atlanta starter Charlie Morton (2-4), who was recalled from Class AAA Richmond earlier Monday, plating two in the second on a two-run blast by Mather before putting the game away with a four-run third.

Skip Schumaker drew a leadoff walk to ignite the rally before advancing to second on a ground out before Morton issued an intentional walk to Pujols and Ludwick loaded the bases with a single.

After the Cards extended the lead to 3-0 on a fielder's choice by Troy Glaus, Molina doubled to deep center field, plating Pujols and Glaus. The St. Louis catcher scored when shortstop Yunel Escobar's throw sailed over rookie catcher Clint Sammons and took a wide-angled bounce towards the Atlanta dugout.

St. Louis added two runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Pujols and single by Ludwick to extend the lead to 8-0. Cesar Izturis added an RBI single in the fifth to give the Cardinals a nine-run cushion. The Cardinals capped their scoring with a three-run eighth on a two-run double by Pujols and an RBI single by Ludwick.

"Everybody was swinging (the bats) well today," Mather said. "Everybody was going up with good at-bats. We had a lot of good swings."

St. Louis starter Braden Looper (10-8) was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst. The righthander allowed two runs and seven hits while striking out four without a walk over seven sold frames en route to notching his first win since June 24.

"We gave our pitchers some breathing room," Ludwick said. "We just have to keep it rolling."

Things could not get much worse for Atlanta, who had a forgettable two days in Philadelphia, in which the club surrendered leads of five and six runs. Atlanta was just plain awful one day later, allowing 10-plus runs in three consecutive losses for the first time in more than 22 years.

"(Morton) is a better starter than that," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, whose team has surrendered a staggering 34 runs over its past three games. "Reyes was not good yesterday. Morton was not good today. He missed his location way too many times and paid for it."

The club, which is already missing future Hall of Fame hurlers John Smoltz and Tom Glavine from its starting rotation, learned that staff ace Tim Hudson might be sidelined for a while with ligament damage in his right elbow.

"I was a little surprised by the news I got," said Hudson, who will see renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews sometime later this week. "I feel good. I was really floored by the whole thing when they told me."

The Braves, who were also without All-Stars Chipper Jones and Brian McCann on Monday, saw another one of their young starting pitchers get lit up.

Morton allowed eight runs and seven hits, walked four and struck out one over 3 2/3 frames to drop his second consecutive decision.

"This isn't the way (it's supposed) to go," a dejected Morton said afterwards. "You take these outings and you try to learn from it. I know pretty much every great pitcher in this game has had outings like this, but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with it and (for it to happen) at the time when the team needed somebody to do a good job."

One of the few bright spots on an otherwise forgetful night for Atlanta was the bat of Mark Teixeira, who continues to excel while he auditions for a job somewhere other than Atlanta down the stretch.

The 28-year old switch-hitting first baseman, who is a free agent after the season and will likely be dealt before the trade deadline on Thursday, doubled twice and drove in Atlanta's third run in the eighth. He is batting .412 with three homers and nine RBIs since the All-Star break.

"The reality of the way things have gone and the number of injuries, I think it paints a very clear picture of what we should do and what we need to do," Braves general manager Frank Wren said of Teixeira's likely future in Atlanta. "I think we're in a position of great strength. We have the players and one of the best players (on the market) that teams want."

Escobar and Mark Kotsay also drove in a run apiece for the Braves, who have dropped three straight and nine of their last 13 games at home.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 2 4 2 1 0 0 3 0 12 13 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 3 10 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - BRADEN LOOPER, RON VILLONE (8TH), RUSS SPRINGER (8TH), RANDY
    FLORES (9TH) AND YADIER MOLINA
    ATL - CHARLIE MORTON, JEFF BENNETT (4TH), BUDDY CARLYLE
    (7TH), RO

    Jul 28 10:02 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEIXEIRA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 12
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: R RING (.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI)

    Cardinals 12, Braves 3  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 28 9:39 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN LUDWICK SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R LUDWICK ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 12
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: T GLAUS (.276, 0-FOR-4, RBI)

    Cardinals 12, Braves 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJul 28 9:27 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED CESAR IZTURIS AND AARON
    MILES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, A PUJOLS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 11
    ATLANTA 2 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.290, 2-FOR-4, RBI)

    Cardinals 11, Braves 2  Top 8, 0 OutsJul 28 9:25 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK KOTSAY SCORED YUNEL ESCOBAR.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M KOTSAY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9
    ATLANTA 2 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.265, 0-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 9, Braves 2  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 28 8:59 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED GREGOR BLANCO.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y ESCOBAR ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9
    ATLANTA 1 BOTTOM, 6TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: M TEIXEIRA (.282, 1-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 9, Braves 1  Bot 6, 0 OutsJul 28 8:55 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CESAR IZTURIS SCORED JOE MATHER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C IZTURIS ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: S SCHUMAKER (.304, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Cardinals 9, Braves 0  Top 5, 0 OutsJul 28 8:33 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN LUDWICK SCORED AARON MILES.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, R LUDWICK ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 8
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: T GLAUS (.278, 0-FOR-2, RBI)

    Cardinals 8, Braves 0  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 28 8:14 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ALBERT PUJOLS SCORED CESAR IZTURIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A MILES ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 7
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.289, 1-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 7, Braves 0  Top 4, 0 OutsJul 28 8:12 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY YADIER MOLINA SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS AND TROY
    GLAUS. ERROR BY YUNEL ESCOBAR ALLOWED YADIER MOLINA TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 6
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J MATHER (.232, 1-FOR-1, HR, 2 RBI)

    Cardinals 6, Braves 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 28 7:52 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY TROY GLAUS SCORED SKIP SCHUMAKER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T GLAUS ON FIRST, A PUJOLS ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    ATLANTA 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: Y MOLINA (.304, 1-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 3, Braves 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 28 7:51 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JOE MATHER (3) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF CHARLIE MORTON SCORED YADIER MOLINA.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: B LOOPER (.316, 0 HR, 3 RBI)

    Cardinals 2, Braves 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJul 28 7:32 PM