The Redbird Report - 04/19

Albert Pujols cracked his fourth homer and drove in two runs Wednesday night but was out trying to steal home in the top of the 12th inning, and then the Giants seized on that last momentum switch as they won the game in the bottom of the 12th.

Pujols had three hits and finally raised his average to the .200 level. But he received little offensive support from a Cardinals lineup that didn't have Scott Rolen, who was out with food poisoning. David Eckstein had two hits, but the club had only four other singles in the lengthy game.

The bullpen was the best part of the Cardinals' game. Five relievers allowed only one run from the sixth through the 11th, although that run was a homer served up by Ryan Franklin to Giants slugger Barry Bonds, who tied the game in the eighth.

Pujols was out at home after the Cardinals had tried to pull a trick play with the count 0-2 on Yadier Molina. Scott Spiezio had broken from first, but Pujols apparently broke too soon from third when the Giants did not bite on Spiezio.

Before that aborted play, Adam Kennedy had made the key out. Kennedy had failed to make contact, fanning with runners at first and third and one out. Kennedy had another bad offensive game at 1-for-6.

A terse manager Tony La Russa said, "I view this is as a game where we played our butts off but we lost in extra innings."

GIANTS 6, CARDINALS 5 (12 innings): Right-hander Josh Hancock, the seventh Cardinals pitcher who was working his first inning, didn't get a fastball inside enough and low enough to the Giants' Rich Aurilia, who dropped a run-scoring single into left center field with two out in the 12th to break a 5-5 tie. Albert Pujols drove in two of the five Cardinals' runs with a third-inning homer off Matt Morris.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--3B Scott Rolen was absent from Wednesday night's game after contracting food poisoning. He isn't likely to play Thursday either in the series finale before the Cardinals go to Chicago.

--RHP Chris Carpenter, out since the first game of the season with elbow problems, will begin an exercise program anew Thursday and do some light tossing. "The goal is to get back on the mound as soon as possible," Carpenter said.

--LF Chris Duncan, who had been the Cardinals' best hitter so far, had his worst game Wednesday, fanning four times.

--LHP Randy Keisler made his second start for the Cardinals on Wednesday in the place of RHP Chris Carpenter. Keisler was staked to a 4-1 lead, but he left after five innings with the game tied 4-4.

--LHP Randy Flores fanned all three hitters he faced in the seventh inning Wednesday.

--C Yadier Molina, who almost never has walked in his previous two-plus seasons in the majors, was passed three times Wednesday.

--1B Albert Pujols, after going 0-for-13, finally got his first hit against left-handed pitching Wednesday.


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