The Redbird Report 07/02

St. Louis Cardinals' Ryan Ludwick hits a three-run home run off Cincinnati Reds pitcher Ricky Stone in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 1, 2007, in Cincinnati. It was the second home run of the game for Ludwick.

Outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who had gone 1 for 13 on the road trip, cracked two homers and drove in four runs as a late replacement for right fielder Juan Encarnacion on Sunday.

Ludwick has six homers in just 203 at-bats and has cemented himself as at least a platoon option in either left or right field, if not more.

Both of Ludwick's homers came off right-handed pitchers. Oddly, the right-handed hitter is just 6 for 45 against left-handed pitching this season.

The difference in the game, as it was in the opening game of the three-game series in Cincinnati, was the bullpen work. Four Cardinals relievers allowed only two runs in the last six innings. Reds relievers gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings, including Ludwick's second homer, off RHP Ricky Stone, which broke a 5-5 tie in the fourth.

"I'd been chasing the ball away off the plate," said Ludwick, explaining his recent slide.

Left-hander Mike Maroth, mightily impressive in his first start for the Cardinals in New York on Monday, was not sharp, giving up five runs and failing to negotiate the fourth inning.

CARDINALS 11, REDS 7: The Cardinals wrapped up a 3-3 trip by taking two games out of three in Cincinnati. Three Cardinals had three hits apiece -- CF So Taguchi, LF Chris Duncan and 3B Scott Rolen -- and every starter but SS Aaron Miles scored a run.


--RHP Troy Pervical wriggled out of a two-on jam in the fourth inning and was credited with his second National League win in just his second National League game.

--OF Ryan Ludwick's four RBIs Sunday represented a career high. His two home runs tied his personal best, achieved in 2003 with Cleveland.

--SS David Eckstein and RHP Braden Looper are expected to come off the disabled list for Monday night's home game with Arizona. Looper is slated to start.

--INF/OF Scott Spiezio, who has a staph infection in his left index finger, has been released from a New York hospital and sent back to St. Louis.

--OF So Taguchi got three singles after a day off. Earlier, he had had an 18-game hitting streak before going hitless in his next two games.

--C Yadier Molina was activated from 15-day disabled list. C Kelly Stinnett was designated for assignment.

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