The Redbird Report 07/23

St. Louis Cardinals Scott Rolen, center, celebrates with Cardinals Albert Pujols (5) and Juan Encarnacion (43) after hitting a three run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the tenth inning of a Major League Baseball game, Sunday.

The Cardinals finished their longest trip of the season, 10 games, at 5-5 by rallying for five runs in the 10th inning at Atlanta.

The difference between the Cardinals and the Braves, who generally are better than the Cardinals, is that the Cardinals' bullpen is far superior. Relievers Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen (4-0) both worked two scoreless innings for St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Cardinals hit home runs off three different Atlanta relievers.

With two out in the eighth, Albert Pujols tied the game at 2-2 with a solo homer off Rafael Soriano.

Second baseman Aaron Miles, a good late-inning player for the Cardinals in both years he has been with them, singled to open the 10th against Tyler Yates. After shortstop David Eckstein had a rare strikeout (only his 11th), center fielder Skip Schumaker, another late-game replacement, cracked a two-run homer. Schumaker, who has been up and down a couple of times between St. Louis and Memphis, is making a strong bid to stay this time after going 15 for his last 30.

Third baseman Scott Rolen, who didn't seem sharp in his first three at-bats after sitting out four games because of a shoulder issue, then yanked a three-run homer off Oscar Villereal just inside the left-field foul pole. That was Rolen's first homer since June 18 and only his fifth of the season.

CARDINALS 7, BRAVES 2 (10 innings): The Cardinals hit three homers in the final three innings to overcome an Atlanta lead and gain a split in a four-game series. Brad Thompson gave the Cardinals six strong innings, but they trailed 2-1 while he was in the game. Albert Pujols hit his sixth homer in 10 games on this trip to tie the game in the eighth.


--C Yadier Molina, who has caught 14 of 24 base-stealers, got LF Willie Harris twice Sunday, and RHP Brad Thompson picked off Braves CF Andruw Jones at first.

--1B Albert Pujols, who had his 22nd homer, also doubled and walked twice as he reached base four times in five plate appearances.

--The Cardinals came to terms Saturday with SS Pete Kozma, their first-round draft pick in June. Kozma probably will be assigned to short-season Johnson City.

--3B Scott Rolen, out for four games after receiving a cortisone shot in his left shoulder, returned to the lineup on Sunday night at Atlanta.

--LHP Troy Cate was optioned to Class AAA Memphis after allowing seven of eight hitters to reach base against him on Saturday. RHP Kelvin Jimenez was recalled from Memphis.

BY THE NUMBERS: 21 -- Number of games out of the last 67 that the Cardinals had left with Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I expect to pitch like I've been pitching, not like I was pitching before." -- RHP Adam Wainwright, who gave up only three earned runs over 21 innings in a three-game winning streak after struggling in the first half of the season.

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