for this game

LaRue drives in four as Cardinals top Royals

Jun 30, 2008 - 12:12 AM By Marc Bowman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer*

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- Jason LaRue had a big day at the plate, and he protected it as well.

The St. Louis Cardinals' catcher drove in four runs with a homer and triple to lead his team to a 9-6 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

The Cardinals drew first blood on LaRue's third home run of the season, a two-out, two-run shot in the second that sparked his most productive day since driving in four runs at Atlanta on September 4, 2005.

LaRue extended the lead to 7-3 with a two-out, two-run triple in the fifth inning, chasing Kansas City starter Brian Bannister (7-7) from the game. LaRue has a season-high, five-game hitting streak and has driven in eight runs over his last seven starts.

LaRue also held onto the ball after being run over by David DeJesus at home plate in the first inning. DeJesus got the worst of it, leaving with a bruised rib cage two innings later.

"My goodness," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "What more can he do? He had two big hits and took a big collision at the plate. That really shook him up and got him going. We may need to have somebody run into him before every game."

"I enjoy contact at home plate," LaRue said. "It's part of the game. It's my job to block the plate. Today was one of my most exciting games. The collision at the plate fired me up. I couldn't hit the ball any better. I'd have to say it's one of my best days ever."

Albert Pujols' 17th homer of the year - a two-run blast to left - capped the Cardinals' scoring and gave St. Louis a 9-4 lead in the sixth. Pujols also doubled and scored twice.

"Every year I come back here and it's always special," said Pujols, a Kansas City native. "Sometimes you calm yourself down in front of friends and family, and it helped. I got a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. This is a tough place to hit because it's such a big yard. I thought I hit it pretty good."

"He's such a tough out," La Russa said. "I know of nobody in baseball right now who's a tougher out."

A high sky contributed to the Cardinals' offense, as two catchable fly balls were lost in the sun and fell untouched in left field for hits during a three-run third inning. Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan each collected RBI singles as St. Louis built a 5-0 lead.

"The wind and sun got involved," Bannister said. "I don't make excuses for it but the ball really didn't fall my way. It was a tough day for me."

The Royals sent eight batters to the plate in the fourth and chased Cardinals starter Braden Looper on one-out RBI singles by Joey Gathright and Esteban German. Looper allowed three runs on six hits with four walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.

"It was tough pitching today for a lot of different reasons," Looper said. "That's still not an excuse. I've got to be able to pitch five, six, seven innings. I was just frustrated."

Chris Perez (2-0) ended the rally, leaving the bases loaded to preserve a 5-3 lead. Three Cardinals relievers followed Perez before Ryan Franklin came in to shut down an eighth-inning rally and followed with a scoreless ninth to earn his 11th save in 15 opportunities.

Mark Grudzielanek matched his season high with four hits, including a pair of doubles, while scoring three times for Kansas City.

Bannister was plagued by control problems throughout his 4 2/3 innings The 27-year-old righthander allowed seven runs on nine hits, walking four and striking out one in losing for the first time since May 22.

Despite the loss, the Royals culminated a successful homestand. Kansas City has won six of nine and have won 11 of their last 14 contests to escape the American League Central Division cellar for the first time in nearly a month.

The Royals finished interleague play with a sparkling 13-5 mark.

"From a confidence standpoint, we put through a pretty good run in interleague," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "I was pleased overall with what we were able to do. Hopefully, we can continue to close a little more ground before the All-Star break."








  • ML
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ST LOUIS 0 2 3 0 2 2 0 0 0 9 14 0
    KANSAS CITY 0 0 1 2 1 0 1 1 0 6 13 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: STL - BRADEN LOOPER, CHRIS PEREZ (4TH), RUSS SPRINGER (5TH), JASON
    ISRINGHAUSEN (6TH), KYLE MCCLELLAN (7TH), RYAN FRANKLIN (8TH)
    AND JASON LARUE
    KAN - BRIAN BANNIS

    Jun 29 5:45 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK GRUDZIELANEK SCORED ESTEBAN GERMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M GRUDZIELANEK ON FIRST, M AVILES ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9
    KANSAS CITY 6 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M TEAHEN (.258, 2-FOR-4, RBI)

    Cardinals 9, Royals 6  Bot 8, 0 OutsJun 29 5:29 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARK TEAHEN SCORED MARK GRUDZIELANEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEAHEN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9
    KANSAS CITY 5 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: R GLOAD (.266, 1-FOR-2, SF, RBI)

    Cardinals 9, Royals 5  Bot 7, 0 OutsJun 29 4:57 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ALBERT PUJOLS (17) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 6TH OFF JOEL PERALTA SCORED AARON MILES.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 9, KANSAS CITY 4
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R ANKIEL (.256, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Cardinals 9, Royals 4  Top 6, 0 OutsJun 29 4:25 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ROSS GLOAD SCORED MARK GRUDZIELANEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEAHEN ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 7
    KANSAS CITY 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J BUCK (.247, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Cardinals 7, Royals 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsJun 29 4:08 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY JASON LARUE SCORED RYAN LUDWICK AND ADAM KENNEDY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J LARUE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 7
    KANSAS CITY 3 TOP, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: B RYAN (.289, 1-FOR-2)

    Cardinals 7, Royals 3  Top 5, 0 OutsJun 29 3:53 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY ESTEBAN GERMAN SCORED ROSS GLOAD.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, E GERMAN ON FIRST, J GATHRIGHT ON SECOND, J
    BUCK ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    KANSAS CITY 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: M AVILES (.318, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Cardinals 5, Royals 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 29 3:36 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JOEY GATHRIGHT SCORED MARK GRUDZIELANEK.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J GATHRIGHT ON FIRST, J BUCK ON SECOND, R
    GLOAD ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    KANSAS CITY 2 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: E GERMAN (.149, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 5, Royals 2  Bot 4, 0 OutsJun 29 3:34 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    PASSED BALL BY JASON LARUE ALLOWED JOEY GATHRIGHT TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, A GORDON ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    KANSAS CITY 1 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR KANSAS CITY: J GUILLEN (.283, 1-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 5, Royals 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 29 3:13 PM
  • 5
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Cardinals 5, Royals 0  Bot 3, 0 OutsJun 29 3:12 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY ADAM KENNEDY SCORED RICK ANKIEL.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C DUNCAN ON SECOND, R LUDWICK ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 5
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: J LARUE (.238, 1-FOR-1, HR, 2 RBI)

    Cardinals 5, Royals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 29 3:01 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHRIS DUNCAN SCORED ALBERT PUJOLS.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C DUNCAN ON FIRST, R LUDWICK ON SECOND, R
    ANKIEL ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 4
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: A KENNEDY (.267, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Cardinals 4, Royals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 29 2:59 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RICK ANKIEL SCORED SKIP SCHUMAKER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R ANKIEL ON FIRST, A PUJOLS ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 3
    KANSAS CITY 0 TOP, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: R LUDWICK (.285, 0-FOR-1)

    Cardinals 3, Royals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJun 29 2:52 PM


  • ML
    AT KANSAS CITY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON LARUE (3) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 2ND OFF BRIAN BANNISTER SCORED ADAM KENNEDY.
    CURRENT SCORE: ST LOUIS 2, KANSAS CITY 0
    DUE UP FOR ST LOUIS: B RYAN (.286, 0 HR, 7 RBI)

    Cardinals 2, Royals 0  Top 2, 0 OutsJun 29 2:36 PM