Pujols supports Wainwright as Cardinals down MarlinsSep 8, 2008 - 1:14 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Adam Wainwright is doing all he can to keep slim playoff hopes alive for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Wainwright hurled eight strong innings as the Cardinals posted a 3-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Sunday afternoon.
Albert Pujols belted a two-run homer and pinch hitter Josh Phelps also drove in a run for St. Louis (77-66), which is five games behind the Milwaukee Brewers (82-61) in the National League wild-card race with 19 games remaining. The Brewers suffered a 10-1 loss to San Diego Padres earlier Sunday.
"I think the best thing that happened is that we came out with a win," Pujols said. "My job is to try to help my team out to win. I'm glad that Wainwright is back healthy and 100 percent. He's just an unbelievable pitcher. We missed him for almost two months. Hopefully, we can keep going and have the opportunity to get to the post season."
But despite fading postseason chances for the Cardinals, Wainwright has been a bright spot since returning from a severely sprained middle finger, an injury which put him on the disabled list for nearly three months. He entered the contest with a 2-0 mark and a 2.07 ERA in three starts since returning from the DL on August 22.
"That was what we needed, we needed a big win today," Wainwright said. "And a loss on the other side to keep us in this thing. We're going to continue to battle until the season is over. The staff did awesome when I wasn't here. I would have loved to have been here the whole time to see what could have turned out.
"This thing is not over yet so we have another month to prove that we belong here and can sneak into these playoffs. I think, if we can get into the playoffs, we're going to be a dangerous team."
It was more of the same Sunday for Wainwright (9-3), who allowed one run and six hits while striking out six and walking one. He followed up a terrific performance from teammate Todd Wellemeyer, who tossed eight solid innings in a 5-3 victory for St. Louis on Saturday.
"Truth is truth," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He (Wainwright) is going about it like he wants to be as good as he can be. He has a number of pitches, he's competitive. He gave up the home run and, you saw him, he was upset. And that's the only run he gave up.
"(The Marlins) have a very dangerous line-up. He does have the ability to make a pitch. He demonstrated that as a reliever and he has done that now as a starter for two years. And a lot of these situations, you can't help but get guys on base. You have to make a pitch and he makes pitches."
Lefthander Randy Flores, who was brought in to face fellow southpaw Mike Jacobs, retired pinch hitter Wes Helms to start the ninth inning, and Chris Perez recorded the final two outs to notch his seventh save of the season.
"That's one of the good things about the game is that you get more chances," Perez. "I was happy that he put me out there again and kind of erases those last two outings."
A legitimate candidate for National League MVP, Pujols provided early offense for St. Louis, slamming his 32nd homer of the campaign - his second blast in the opening frame in as many games.
Josh Johnson (4-1) yielded three runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 frames. He struck out five and walked two for the Marlins, who also have dismal playoff hopes.
"When you have a guy like that (Pujols) scoring two runs in the first inning, and a team like that, it's tough the way they're throwing the ball," Johnson said. "Every night they had somebody just dealing. It's tough. We just have to keep playing hard.
"We played a good team game today. We're diving all over the field making plays and then a little blooper falls in against us. That's just kind of how it's been going the last couple of weeks. We haven't been getting the breaks."
Mike Jacobs hit his 30th home run of the season, the second Marlin to do so. Dan Uggla also has 30 and Hanley Ramirez has 29.
"I think anytime you hit 30 home runs in a year it's pretty big," Jacobs said. "Guys aren't hitting 60 or 70 anymore. I think when you can do that it's huge. They have a great pitching staff over there, those guys are good. J.J.(Johnson) matched them pretty much the whole game.
"It just feels like another spoiled game where we had great pitching, and we couldn't get it done swinging the bats. That's kind of been the story the last two months."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
FLORIDA 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0
ST LOUIS 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 3 9 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: FLA - JOSH JOHNSON, ARTHUR RHODES (7TH), DOUG WAECHTER (7TH),
EULOGIO DE LA CRUZ (8TH) AND MATT TREANOR, JOHN BAKER (2ND)
STL - ADAM WAINWRIGHT, RANDY FLORES (9TH),
Sep 7 4:47 PM
AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY JOSH PHELPS SCORED AARON MILES.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J PHELPS ON FIRST, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 1
ST LOUIS 3 BOTTOM, 7TH
DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: F LOPEZ (.260, 1-FOR-2, BB)
Marlins 1, Cardinals 3 Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 7 4:15 PM
AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY MIKE JACOBS (30) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
OUT IN THE 2ND OFF ADAM WAINWRIGHT.
CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 1, ST LOUIS 2
DUE UP FOR FLORIDA: D UGGLA (.258, 30 HR, 80 RBI)
Marlins 1, Cardinals 2 Top 2, 0 OutsSep 7 2:33 PM
AT ST LOUIS - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ALBERT PUJOLS (32) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
1 OUT IN THE 1ST OFF JOSH JOHNSON SCORED FELIPE LOPEZ.
CURRENT SCORE: FLORIDA 0, ST LOUIS 2
DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.299, 32 HR, 99 RBI)
Marlins 0, Cardinals 2 Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 7 2:28 PM
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