ST. LOUIS (AP) — Lance Berkman lined a bases-loaded single over a drawn-in outfield with one out in the ninth inning, giving the St. Louis Cardinals a 2-1 victory over the run-starved Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
Jaime Garcia allowed five hits and an unearned run in eight innings for the Cardinals, but gave up a 1-0 lead in the eighth – enabled when second baseman Tyler Greene dropped Jimmy Rollins’ routine pop fly with one out. Rollins eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Placido Polanco.
Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA, tying for the National League lead, and has permitted only one earned run on 15 hits in 31 innings at home. Fernando Salas (2-0) had a strikeout in a perfect ninth.
The Phillies’ Roy Oswalt worked five efficient innings in his first start off the 15-day disabled list for lower back inflammation, allowing one run on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Berkman faced his former longtime Astros teammate for the first time and had a single and a walk in two trips.
The Phillies became the last team in the majors to lose three in a row Monday and have totaled seven runs on 17 hits during their first four-game losing streak since last Aug. 23-26. Ryan Howard was 0 for 4 and struck out his last three at-bats against Garcia, failing to reach base safely for the first time in 23 career games in his hometown.
Berkman walked with one out in the fourth and scored on a close play at the plate on Yadier Molina’s single. Third base coach Jose Oquendo was aggressive and sent him home on Molina’s single to shallow left, and Berkman’s hook slide barely eluded catcher Dane Sardinha’s tag after an off-line throw from John Mayberry Jr.
Ryan Theriot, Jon Jay and Albert Pujols opened the ninth with three straight singles off Danys Baez (1-2) – Jay on a broken bat and Pujols on a flare that plopped into right field barely out of the reach of second baseman Pete Orr. Matt Holliday, in an 0-for-13 slump, grounded into a forceout at the plate with the infield in before Berkman lined J.C. Romero’s first pitch over the head of center fielder Mike Martinez.
Phillies rookie reliever Michael Stutes threw three pitches to open the sixth before leaving with a strained muscle in his right side. Stutes fell behind 3-0 to Berkman before looking to the dugout for help and pointing at his right shoulder.
Notes: Garcia has 26 strikeouts and six walks at home. … Cardinals CF Colby Rasmus was not in the lineup for the third straight game with a minor abdominal injury, but said he was ready to play and got a favorable report from the team’s medical staff Monday night. Rasmus said he originally was injured lifting weights more than a week ago. … The Phillies were the last team in the majors to lose three in a row. … Phillies C Carlos Ruiz, in a 1-for-32 slump, got a day off. … CF Shane Victorino (right hamstring) missed his second straight start. … Cardinals 2B Skip Schumaker (triceps) begins a rehab assignment at extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday. … Mayberry is 2 for 2 on steals against Cardinals C Molina, with one in each game.
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