The Redbird Report 04/11

The Cardinals' 3-2 win in 12 innings over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night was another example of the toss-up game that the good team wins and the lesser team loses.

The Pirates should have put the game away in regulation, but left fielder Jason Bay allowed an extra runner to move up in the ninth inning after catching a flyball, and then Scott Spiezio singled home two runs to tie the game at 2-2. Pittsburgh messed up a sacrifice attempt in the bottom of the 10th, and then Pirates catcher Ronnie Paulino could not apply a tag on Gary Bennett in the 12th as the slow-running Bennett was attempting to score on an extremely short flyball to Bay.

Not only did the Cardinals start five extra men Tuesday, but they had a reserve starting pitcher, too. Randy Keisler, a 31-year-old left-hander who is with his eighth organization, held the Pirates to two runs in six innings in a strong performance in place of injured ace Chris Carpenter.

"I'll take it. I'll take that any day," said Keisler, who admitted he was jittery early on. "I was a little lucky.

"It's my first start, and I've got to make an impression. I'm filling in for one of the best starting pitchers in the game."

All of the extra men contributed, but none more than Aaron Miles and Bennett, who had seven hits between them. Bennett, who had three singles, broke his bat on a leadoff single in the 12th and then Miles, who earlier had three singles, flared a double to left.

Then, Skip Schumacher, another extra man, delivered the game-winning sacrifice fly.

The Cardinals sat Scott Rolen, who came up with back spasms before the game, and rested Jim Edmonds, Yadier Molina and Adam Kennedy, although all three appeared as pinch hitters.

CARDINALS 3, PIRATES 2 (12 innings): Scott Spiezio, who has been battling a bad back besides contracting food poisoning the day before, was a late substitution for ailing third baseman Scott Rolen, and he singled home two runs in the ninth to stave off what appeared a 2-0 loss.

Skip Schumaker's sacrifice fly broke the tie in the 12th, and Jason Isringhausen gained his third save in three tries, with help from shortstop David Eckstein, who leaped to take a high throw at second from Isringhausen on a game-ending double play.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Chris Carpenter had his ailing right elbow drained by Dr. George Paletta on Tuesday, and the swelling in his elbow has gone down. The next evaluation for the disabled Carpenter will be in 10 days.

--3B Scott Rolen missed Tuesday's game and isn't likely to play Wednesday either after coming up with back spasms Tuesday afternoon.

--RHP Brad Thompson pitched out of jams in both the 10th and 11th innings Tuesday and gained credit for the victory.

--1B Albert Pujols went 0-for-5 Tuesday, including three hitless at-bats against Pirates LHP Tom Gorzelanny. For the season, Pujols is 0-for-8 against left-handed pitching and 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Pujols normally hits near .400 in both areas.

--Other than Carpenter, who gave up five runs in six innings in his only start, Cardinals starters have an ERA of 2.25 for the season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of games in which the Cardinals had a lead in their first five.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You're looking for the best way to get the game to Izzy (Jason Isringhausen). But unless we start scoring runs, it's a problem we're not going to have very often." -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, discussing his closer and his team's lack of offense in the first five games.


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