Wells Can't Hold Early 4-0 Lead

Right-hander Kip Wells, who entered the game having lost 10 of 12 starts with a 6.40 earned run average, was inching closer to that elusive third victory Friday night but then blew most of a 4-0, homer-generated cushion by allowing three runs in the fifth inning to the Los Angeles Angels.

A staggering Wells was lifted in the next inning, and then Cardinals left-hander Tyler Johnson and right-hander Ryan Franklin endured rare letdowns as the Angels erased what was left of the Cardinals' lead in a six-run seventh inning.

The Cardinals, who are playing outside of the National League Central Division for three weeks, suffered their fourth straight interleague loss this season.

The Angels tagged Johnson (1.66 ERA) for four straight hits and then roughed up Franklin (1.38 ERA) for three more in the seventh. Johnson, in fact, allowed as many earned runs, four, in 10 minutes as he had in the last 10 weeks.

"I just let it get out of control," Johnson (1-1) said. "My slider was flat."

Manager Tony La Russa, however, pointed not to the seventh inning but said, "We let the game start to get away in the fifth. We lost a game we had a chance to win. In this game, you either do or you don't, and we didn't. Wells walked a couple of guys with a four-run lead, and that's not what he was trying to do."

ANGELS 10, CARDINALS 6: LF Chris Duncan, who had been 1 for 22, 1B Albert Pujols and C Kelly Stinnett all homered for the Cardinals, and Stinnett also drove in a run with a single. But RHP Kip Wells squandered most of a four-run lead. and the Cardinals' bullpen, normally effective, was tagged for seven runs. The Cardinals, after getting to four games under .500, have dropped back to six under.


--RHP Troy Percival, a hero for the 2002 world champion Angels, signed a minor league contract with the Cardinals and will pitch at Class AAA Memphis for a couple of weeks before probably being brought up as a setup man to RHP Jason Isringhausen.

--2B Adam Kennedy is hitting .223, but Mike Scioscia, his former manager with the Angels, said that would change.

"Crossing leagues is tougher than probably some people give it credit for," said Scioscia. "Just getting used to different hitting backgrounds, different pitchers. I look for Adam to have a good second half for them because he's a much better hitter than what his numbers are showing."

--RF Juan Encarnacion extended his hitting string to nine games with a fourth-inning single.

--1B Albert Pujols fanned three times for the first time this season and first time since June 2 of last year, when he had three whiffs in a 14-inning game. He hadn't fanned that many times in a nine-inning game since 2005, and he hadn't been called out on strikes twice in a game in two years.

--This was the first time this season the Cardinals hit three homers in a game and lost.

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