Redbird Report - Cards Take Series from A's

Ryan Ludwick, who had been hitting .545 as a pinch hitter, had been hitting .174 when he had been in the lineup, but that all changed Sunday when Ludwick dad a career day, driving in five runs, including a three-run homer that broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh inning.

"I was informed I was 0-for-10 coming into the game," said Ludwick, "but I hadn't been striking out."

Ludwick had been left out of the fun the night before, when the Cardinals had 16 hits and scored 15 runs. But manager Tony La Russa gave the right-handed hitter another start Sunday against Oakland lefty Joe Kennedy.

Ludwick was 1-for-3 until the seventh inning, when the A's had right-hander Colby Lewis, a good friend of Ludwick's, on the mound. La Russa had a bench full of left-handed batters, including Chris Duncan, who had hit a grand slam when batting for Ludwick the night before. But La Russa, knowing the A's had a left-handed reliever available, let Ludwick stay in the game, and was rewarded with a 400-foot-plus homer.

The victory was one of the Cardinals' best efforts of the season, given that pitcher Anthony Reyes, just recalled from Class AAA Memphis, put them in a 5-1 hole in the first inning. But Reyes didn't allow another run in the next four innings.

La Russa said, "The simple way to explain it is Anthony kept pitching. And our team kept playing."

The Cardinals still are six games under .500 and La Russa said, "We're not in great position. We've got more problems than plusses. But I wouldn't count us out."

CARDINALS 10, A'S 6: The Cardinals won the rubber game of the three-game series by overcoming a four-run lead the Athletics built in the first inning. Their six-game trip ended at 3-3 and the Cardinals have won four of their last 10 games despite allowing 84 runs in those games. All nine Cardinals starters, with the exception of exception Gary Bennett, hit safely Sunday.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--RHP Brad Thompson, who pitched two innings of relief on Saturday in Oakland after being pulled in from the rotation, is expected to start again Tuesday against Kansas City.

--RHP Kip Wells (2-11), who was in the bullpen Sunday, may get RHP Braden Looper's start if the latter's shoulder still is bothering him.

--The Cardinals' victory was the first time in 10 starts made by RHP Anthony Reyes that the club had won the game.

--RF Juan Encarnacion's seventh-inning single extended his hitting streak to 17 games, two short of his career high.

--DH Scott Spiezio homered from the right side for the first time in his two seasons with the Cardinals. The homer was his third of the season, to go with 13 from last year.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Number of times a Cardinals starter has pitched eight innings. Right-hander Adam Wainwright allowed one hit in eight innings at Kansas City on June 13.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was told I could only throw a fastball. That took a little of the fun away. But I did throw one split." -- INF-OF Scott Spiezio, on his scoreless inning of relief in a blowout game at Oakland on June 15.


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