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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).
Attention shoppers: One of Chesterfield's new outlet malls officially opens their doors today. Taubman Prestige Outlets will be open to the public starting at 10:00 this morning. The mall is located off Highway 40 near the Boone's Crossing exit. The first 1000 customers in line by 9:30 a.m. get a free $20 gift card. Taubman Prestige Outlets has room for about 70 retailers. So far they've about 75% filled. Chesterfield's other new outlet mall, St. Louis Premium Outlets, opens August 22.
CLEVELAND (AP) - She says she spent "11 years in hell" when she was held captive by Ariel Castro. But today, Michelle Knight smiled as Castro was led away to start serving a life sentence plus 1,000 years, for holding Knight and two other women in his home for years and raping them repeatedly.
Knight earlier delivered a statement in which she said she now has her life back -- but that Castro's life is over.
Castro also spoke at his sentencing hearing, apologizing to his victims in a rambling, defiant statement. He blamed a sex addiction, his former wife and even the FBI for not thoroughly investigating the abductions. And he claimed that most of the sex was consensual, and that the women were never tortured. Castro said, "I'm not a monster. I'm sick."
The judge dismissed Castro's claim that the women had lived a happy life with him. The judge said, "I'm not sure there's anyone in America that would agree with you." He also told Castro that there's no place in the world for people who enslave others.
Today's hearing gave prosecutors a chance to detail some of Castro's assaults. And authorities described the makeshift prison he built in his home -- even creating an alarm system, as he chained the women inside bolted bedrooms.
MOSCOW (AP) - For the first time since June 23rd, Edward Snowden is somewhere other than the Moscow airport. He was able to leave today and enter Russia after authorities granted him temporary asylum. There's no word on where he went. His lawyer says that will be kept secret, for security reasons.
The man who leaked details of secret National Security Agency surveillance programs took refuge at the airport as he tried to evade espionage charges back home.
Snowden now has asylum in Russia for a year -- but that can be extended indefinitely. And Snowden also has the right to seek Russian citizenship.
In a statement released by WikiLeaks, Snowden is quoted as saying that the Obama administration has shown "no respect for international or domestic law" over the past eight weeks. But he said, "in the end, the law is winning."
The White House -- which had demanded that Snowden be sent home to face prosecution -- is denouncing Russia's decision to grant him asylum. And Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham calls it "a game-changer in our relationship with Russia."