CINCINNATI (AP) — Even when things go horribly wrong on the road, the St. Louis Cardinals can always count on one soothing stop. No matter how deep their slump, it'll end in Cincinnati.
Matt Carpenter broke his 0-for-23 slump with a bases-loaded double during the decisive rally, and the Cardinals ended a tough trip on the upswing by beating the Reds 15-2 on Sunday.
The Cardinals went 3-8 on a trip that included seven straight losses — four of them in Pittsburgh, allowing the Pirates to overtake them for the NL Central lead. On their final stop, an offense that couldn't do much of anything found a little bit of everything.
"Offensively, we did a terrific job," manager Mike Matheny said. "We had a little bit of everything — some power, some good situational hitting, made the (defensive) plays."
It's been like that against the Reds lately.
St. Louis took two of three at Great American Ball Park and has won its last six series against Cincinnati, its best such stretch against the Reds since 2003-04. The Cardinals lead the season series 8-4.
"Some teams you play better than others, but they've got our number for sure," said Reds starter Mike Leake (10-5), who gave up a season-high seven runs. "They play us tough. It's on us to try to figure them out because they've got us figured out for the most part."
The Cardinals scored their most runs against Cincinnati since 1993. They've scored at least 10 runs against the Reds in four games this season, the first time they've done that since 1980.
Carpenter's two-run double off the wall completed a five-run rally in the sixth against Leake and two relievers, setting up another blowout.
"It's a great feeling," Carpenter said. "It's even better that we come back and win the series in a convincing fashion. It was fun to join in on the action."
Matt Adams, David Freese and Tony Cruz homered for the Cardinals, who have scored 13, 13, 3 and 15 runs in their last four games.
St. Louis finished with 19 hits and a season high in runs. Every starter except Lance Lynn drove in at least one run.
Lynn (13-5) allowed four hits in eight innings, including Zack Cozart's two-run homer. Lynn struck out a season-high 11 and joined Adam Wainwright as 13-game winners in a rotation that has the NL's third-best ERA.
"I had pretty good command of all four pitches, and I was able to use all of them on both sides of the plate," Lynn said. "That makes it a lot easier to pitch. Between my last three starts, I've had the best stuff I've had all year. "
The Reds have dropped seven of nine, leaving the defending NL Central champions marooned in third place.
The Cardinals scored in the first inning of all three games of the series. They scored four off Bronson Arroyo on Friday night, one on Saturday and four more on Sunday off Leake, who had allowed a total of four runs in his last three starts combined.
Matt Holliday and Freese had RBI doubles, and Adams hit a two-run homer — his first since July 6 — for the 4-0 lead only 19 pitches into the game. Holliday improved to 9 for 20 career off Leake.
The Cardinals sent 10 batters to the plate for five runs in the sixth, aided by a pair of errors. They opened the inning with five consecutive hits, and Carpenter's two-run double off Logan Ondrusek made it 9-2 and gave the second baseman relief from his personal slump.
"At that point, I was so relieved to just put the barrel of the bat on the ball that I didn't care what happened," Carpenter said.
The Cardinals hit only nine homers in July, including one after the All-Star break. They had six in three days at Great American Ball Park.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier went without a hit for his ninth straight game, leaving him in an 0-for-28 slump. It's the longest by a Reds player since Drew Stubbs went 0 for 32 midway through last season.
Notes: The Cardinals play 17 of their next 24 games at Busch Stadium. They open a 10-game homestand on Monday against the Dodgers, with Wainwright trying for his 14th victory. ... The Reds are off on Monday before resuming their homestand with a pair of games against the Athletics. ... Cardinals OF Carlos Beltran got a day of rest. ... Reds LH reliever Sean Marshall and RH starter Johnny Cueto still haven't resumed throwing. Marshall, on the DL since May 24 with a sore left shoulder, had a setback before the All-Star break. Cueto has been sidelined since June 5 with a strained muscle in the back of his shoulder.
(ST. LOUIS) – St. Louis Blues Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed defenseman Jay Bouwmeester to a five-year contract extension.
Bouwmeester, 29, dressed in 14 games for the Blues last season tying for third on the club in points (7) and plus/minus (+5) while he tied for first in assists (6) and ranked second in time on ice per game (23:24) during the month of April. In addition, during the 2013 regular season Bouwmeester extended his iron man streak to 635 games.
During the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 6’4, 212-pound defenseman appeared in all six games for the Blues including his postseason debut. Overall, Bouwmeester ranked second on the team in ice time per game (25:08) while he tallied his first career playoff point (assist) in Game Four on May 6.
A former first round draft pick (3rd overall) of Florida in 2002, Bouwmeester has appeared in 11 seasons during his NHL career including stints with Florida, Calgary and St. Louis. In 764 career games, he has recorded 307 points (72 goals, 235 assists) to go along with 469 penalty minutes. In addition, Bouwmeester has been selected to two All-Star Games (2007, 2009) and earned first team All-Rookie Team honors in 2002-03. Internationally, the Edmonton, Alberta native has represented Canada on nine occasions including three World Junior Championships, four World Championships and the 2006 Winter Olympics. Bouwmeester has also been invited to Team Canada’s 2014 Olympic Orientation Camp in preparation for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Joe Kelly and the St. Louis Cardinals averted a five-game sweep at Pittsburgh, ending a season-worst seven-game losing streak by routing the Pirates 13-0 Thursday night in a matchup between the NL's top two teams.
St. Louis began the series with a 2½-game lead in the NL Central but left with the Pirates ahead by 1½ games. The Cardinals avoided their first sweep in a set of at least five games since 1916, when the New York Giants took all six games.
Pittsburgh had won the previous four games at PNC Park by a combined score of 36-10.
Kelly (2-3) pitched six scoreless innings and had two hits. Tony Cruz added three hits, including a two-run double during an eight-run seventh inning.
Kelly allowed three hits while walking four and striking out four. Seth Maness, Michael Blazek and Edward Mujica pitched one inning each to complete the five-hitter.
After the Cardinals failed to acquire a replacement for injured All-Star catcher Yadier Molina prior to Wednesday's non-waiver trading deadline, Cruz figures to get the majority of starts behind the plate. He had started just 11 games this season until Molina went on the disabled list Wednesday with a sprained right knee.
Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday and David Freese also had two of St. Louis' 17 hits. Craig came into the game in a 1-for-27 slump, and he had a two-run double in the seventh.
Charlie Morton (3-3) struggled against the Cardinals again, giving up five runs and 10 hits in six innings. He is 2-8 in his career against St. Louis.
Morton threw a wild pitch that made it 1-0 in the second. St. Louis scored three times in the third as Jon Jay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Cruz grounded into a double play and Pete Kozma had an RBI single.
Beltran doubled in a run in the sixth before the Cardinals broke the game open an inning later.
NOTES: Starling Marte had two of Pittsburgh's five hits. He has a hit in all 12 career games against the Cardinals. ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin sat out the game with a sore left knee. ... St. Louis opens a three-game series Friday night at Cincinnati with RHP Shelby Miller (10-7, 2.79) facing RHP Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 3.26). ... RHP Gerrit Cole (5-4, 3.56) will pitch for Pittsburgh on Friday night in the first game of the three-game series against Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin (9-5, 3.54).
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington spent the hours leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline searching for a way to upgrade the team with the best record in baseball.
The typically buttoned down Huntington even considered taking leave of his senses to do it.
"We talk a lot about, we don't want to do something stupid," Huntington said Wednesday after the deadline passed. "We were willing to do something stupid. We just didn't want to do anything insane."
At the moment, insanity might be defined as breaking up the chemistry the Pirates have spent the last four months cultivating.
Russell Martin drove home Neal Walker with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Pirates rallied past the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4 to extend their lead in the NL Central to 2½ games.
Martin's sharp grounder off Trevor Rosenthal (1-2) rolled into left field, giving Walker time to score from second and propel Pittsburgh to its 25th comeback win in an increasingly special season. Pittsburgh is 23 games over .500 for the first time since 1992.
"We can win just about every way possible," manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Cardinals appeared in firm control of the division race two weeks ago but now find themselves staring up at the Pirates, who have taken the first four games of a five-game series.
St. Louis broke out of a slump to put together 13 hits, but the Cardinals left 11 runners on base and dropped their seventh straight. The Cardinals led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 but couldn't hold on.
"You always at some point during the season, every year, no matter what, go through a rough patch," St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright said after failing to earn his 14th victory. "The good teams find a way to get out of that rough patch and find a way to get back to playing good quality baseball, and that's what we're going to do."
Tony Watson (3-1) worked two shutout innings in relief of starter Jeff Locke. Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save. Melancon is 3 for 3 in save opportunities since All-Star closer Jason Grilli went down with a right forearm injury last week.
Matt Holliday had three hits and drove in two runs but St. Louis failed to score over the final five innings against Pittsburgh's bullpen.
"There's something we're not doing, and we know we're not doing it and fixing it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Walker hit his seventh homer of the season off Wainwright in the first inning, starting a pattern that repeated itself throughout the night. The Cardinals found ways to score off starter Jeff Locke, but Pittsburgh kept chipping away.
"It's things we've done throughout the course of the season," Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. "If we're down early, we just keep working."
The teams with the two best records in the National League were mostly spectators before Wednesday's non-waiver trade deadline, though the Pirates acquired minor leaguer Robert Andino from Seattle.
The past two seasons, the Pirates made somewhat aggressive moves meant to bolster their playoff chances, but instead contributed in part to a second-half swoon.
This time, Huntington is keeping the group he called "one of the tightest" he's been around intact. When the 4 p.m. deadline passed, the Pirates were huddled around a TV in the clubhouse. They weren't anxiously waiting for news. Instead, they were watching Martin and first baseman Garrett Jones play video games.
"The trade deadline is like a gossip magazine," Watson said. "You take it for what it's worth but it's in one ear and out the other."
Pittsburgh needed to find a way after a rare off-night by Locke, whose rapid ascension from fifth starter to All-Star has fueled Pittsburgh's relentless pursuit of the Cardinals. But St. Louis spent four innings pecking away at the left-hander's usually deft mix of breaking balls.
The Cardinals came in hitting just .155 (30-194) during their late-July swoon but peppered Locke for 10 hits, the most he has given up in 31 career starts.
They came in various ways, from a hard-hit double by Beltran in the fourth to a swinging bunt by David Descalso that traveled 20 feet. Locke tied a season high by giving up four runs. He struck out six and walked one as his ERA rose from 2.15 to 2.36.
"He was fighting uphill all night," Hurdle said.
Wainwright, however, couldn't take advantage of the first signs of life by the St. Louis offense in a week. Every time the Cardinals would push in front, the Pirates would respond, eventually tying it on a sacrifice fly by McCutchen in the fifth. Wainwright left after seven innings, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out six and walking one.
"(They) gave me the lead three times and I blew the save three times," Wainwright said. "I can be better than that, I will be better than that."
NOTES: The Pirates placed reserve C Mike McKenry on the 15-day disabled after he underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. Rookie Tony Sanchez, Pittsburgh's top pick in the 2009 draft, will serve as the primary backup to Martin for the rest of the season ... The series concludes Thursday with Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton (3-2, 3.59 ERA) facing Joe Kelly (1-3 3.44). The Pirates are 5-1 in Morton's last six starts.
NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Baseball is threatening to kick Alex Rodriguez out of the game for life unless the New York Yankees star agrees not to fight a lengthy suspension for his role in the sport's latest drug scandal, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Whether Commissioner Bud Selig would actually issue a lifetime suspension was unclear and a permanent ban could be shortened by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to about 200 games, the person said.
The number of players likely to be disciplined stood at 14 Wednesday.
Front and center is Rodriguez, baseball's highest-paid player and the most prominent one linked in media reports over the past seven months to Biogenesis of America, a closed Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly distributed banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The Yankees expected Rodriguez to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past. Baseball has considered suspending him for violations of its labor contract and drug agreement.
Even if he is banned from baseball, there is precedent for a shortened penalty: When pitcher Steve Howe was given a lifetime ban in 1992 in his seventh suspension for drug or alcohol use, an arbitrator reduced the penalty to 119 days.
A three-time MVP, Rodriguez acknowledged four years ago that he used performance-enhancing substances while with Texas from 2001-03 but repeatedly has denied using them since.
He's been sidelined all season since hip surgery in January and then a quadriceps strain during a minor league rehabilitation assignment in July. The Yankees say he'll start another rehab Friday - Double-A Trenton appeared to be the likely destination.
"Hopefully Alex will be back shortly thereafter," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
Rodriguez didn't stop to talk with reporters after his workout Wednesday at the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Fla.
At first, MLB and the union thought talks on the Biogenesis probe could be completed by Friday, but negotiations to avoid grievances are likely to push back announcements until at least Saturday or Sunday.
Others accused in media reports of receiving performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis include a trio of 2013 All-Stars: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera and Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Most of the players face 50-game bans as first offenders. Both sides felt urgency to complete the process because by the middle of next week, teams will have fewer than 50 games left. And that would force players to complete suspensions during the playoffs or at the start of next season.
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski protected against a possible suspension of Peralta by acquiring slick-fielding infielder Jose Iglesias from Boston in a three-team trade Tuesday night.
"If it were a 15-day thing, like a typical injury, I think we could have comfortably dealt with it with the players we already have," Dombrowski said Wednesday. "But when you start to talk about 50 days and a possible playoff run, we feel better going ahead with Jose."
While MLB told the union which players it intends to suspend, it hasn't issued formal notices of discipline. Because of that, the countdown hasn't started under baseball's Joint Drug Agreement, which says the suspensions are effective on the third business day after the notice is issued.
The sides also haven't decided whether suspensions for first-time offenders who challenge the penalty can be announced before an arbitration decision.
If some stars knew their seasons were about to be cut short, they weren't letting on Wednesday, at least publicly.
"I can't talk about nothing right now. Just wait for the news," Cabrera said Wednesday before playing against Cincinnati.
Peralta thinks he shouldn't be on the list of players linked to Biogenesis.
"It's wrong," he said. "But whatever happens, I need to fight and try to move on."
Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal were all suspended for 50 games last year for positive tests for elevated testosterone. MLB informed the union they won't receive additional discipline for that violation, two people familiar with the probe said. They also spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
"Nothing's been told to me," Melky Cabrera said. "I served my suspension last year, but MLB has never told me that it's OK now. I'm seeing it in the press, but I don't know."
Texas was unable to find a replacement bat to fill a void a suspension of Cruz would create.
"I don't think anybody's comfortable losing a significant part of your club, but it's out of our control," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We explored some deal like that. They just didn't come to a head. It wasn't for lack of interest or lack of effort. It was more lack of supply and lack of fit, really."
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Andrew McCutchen clubbed his 15th homer of the season and the Pittsburgh Pirates completed a doubleheader sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with 6-0 victory on Tuesday night.
Brandon Cumpton (1-1) allowed three hits over seven innings to pick up his first major league win. The sweep propelled the Pirates into first place in the NL Central. Pittsburgh is a season-high 22 games over .500 (64-42).
Tyler Lyons (2-4) gave up four runs, three earned, in six innings. The rookie struck out five and walked one but received no help from a reeling offense. The Cardinals have dropped six straight and have scored five runs in their last 56 innings.
St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina left in the fourth inning with a right knee strain.
The Pirates took the opener 2-1 in 11 innings when Alex Presley's sharp grounder deflected off the glove of pitcher Kevin Siegrist and rolled into shallow left field, allowing Pittsburgh's Russell Martin to score from second.
The fortuitous bounces kept coming a couple hours later. The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second when a rare passed ball by Molina let Jose Tabata sprint across the plate. Molina was done for the night in the top of the fourth when the right knee pain he's been battling for the better part of a month flared up again. He was replaced by Rob Johnson.
The absence of their leader further weakened the Cardinals, and things quickly fell apart.
While Cumpton kept the NL's top offense in check, Pittsburgh poured it on with a little help from St. Louis left fielder Matt Holliday. The Pirates took a 2-0 lead on Jordy Mercer's RBI single before McCutchen stepped in. He drilled Lyons' pitch deep to left but Holliday appeared ready to track it down at the wall. Instead, the ball caromed into the stands.
Lyons placed both hands on his head in shock while the packed bleachers let Holliday have it. Holliday's night didn't get any better an inning later when he overran Josh Harrison's flyball to the wall, allowing Harrison to make it all the way to third.
Harrison never made it home, but by then Cumpton had all the backing he would require.
The rookie, who made a couple of spot starts earlier this season, needed just 87 pitches to get 21 outs. He received a loud ovation as he headed to the dugout, the latest in a series of unheralded Pirates pitchers to rise from obscurity and help propel the franchise into the midst of a pennant race.
The staff takes its cue from ace A.J. Burnett, who worked seven emotional innings in the opener. Burnett struck out nine and walked three while allowing one run on three hits. He was long gone, however, by the time Presley stepped in with Martin on in the 11th.
"It's a battle, it's fun," Burnett said. "Let's roll from here. Let's keep going."
NOTES: The series continues on Thursday. Adam Wainright (13-6, 2.51 ERA) starts for the Cardinals against Jeff Locke (9-3, 2.15) ... St. Louis sent struggling reliever Marc Rzepczynski to Cleveland on Tuesday in exchange for minor league infielder Juan Herrera. Rzepczynski had a 7.84 ERA in 10 1-3 innings this season with the Cardinals ... Pirates 2009 first-round pick Tony Sanchez went 0 for 3 with an RBI in his first major league start at catcher.